predictions for the music industry

Predictions for the music industry: Part 1

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No one can know what awaits the future, but these predictions for the music industry by leading professionals are insightful and interesting – and maybe even inspiring.

After witnessing how quickly new technology has changed the music business in just the past five years, it’s a safe bet that no one can know for sure what awaits the music industry in the near future. Still these predictions for the music industry by leading industry professionals are interesting, insightful, and inspiring. What can we expect in the year 2020? Let’s see what a group of attorneys, music publishers, managers, and music industry entrepreneurs had to say about this. Enjoy.

1. Artists are more like tech start-ups and less like wandering minstrels (Greg Victoroff, Esq.)

In the brave new world of pop music in 2020, writers, musicians, vocalists and producers will be more similar to engineers and inventors, creating new apps and software. For those who innovate and monetize, there is vast potential. For musicians who aspire to just be record label “employees,” income from artist’s royalties alone will be insufficient to support a full-time career. To succeed in the world of digital music now and in 2020, musical artists need to think of themselves more like tech start-ups, and less like wandering minstrels.

2. Success that’s earned on your own: DIY style (Don Gorder, Chair and Founder, Music Business/Management Department, Berklee College of Music)

In 2020, as it is today, the marketplace will be overcrowded with music. There will still be the select superstar whose songs reach the masses through the efforts of a support team, but the vast majority of musicians will need to continue taking on a DIY approach to their careers to get seen and heard.

The good news is that technology will continue to advance and make doing it yourself even more possible than it is today. Successful do-it-yourselfers will continue to leverage the latest social media platforms and analytic tools to connect with their fans and fund their projects, partner with product and service companies for branding and advertising campaigns, license their music for film, television, games, ads, etc., leverage relationships with electronic media as part of their marketing strategy, and book and promote their tours and concerts – all with an ultimate goal of getting their music to the ears of the curators of the outlets for consumption, which will exist in business models that are still emerging.

Cutting through the clutter will continue to be a challenge, but great music combined with an entrepreneurial spirit and a lot of hard work will be the winning formula.

3. Affordable DIY services that capture new revenue streams (Tony van Veen, CEO, Disc Makers & CD Baby)

Many music industry trends over the last years have not been favorable toward artists and songwriters: we’ve gone from selling CDs for $10 to downloads for 99¢ to streams for under half a penny. While royalties in general will improve, it has been more difficult than ever for musicians to monetize their music.

As a consequence, independent artists and songwriters will continue to become more and more conscious of how to leverage their intellectual property into alternate revenue streams. In addition to the companies that already exist, you will see many new businesses offering affordable services to DIY artists to capture performance royalties, Internet royalties, mechanical royalties, YouTube royalties, sync licensing for film, TV, games, and commercials. Each of these incremental revenue streams may be small, but in the aggregate they will become a needle-moving part of the artist’s revenue mix.

4. Success will be driven by touring and merch (John Hartmann, former manager of Peter, Paul & Mary;Crosby, Stills & Nash; America; Poco; the Eagles)

As the record business is further eroded by “free music,” it will reach its long decline and the postmodern record industry will finally, and completely, be cut to its knees. In 2020, instead of record sales determining the success of an artist, live performance will dictate the value of an act. Merchandising will also become a high art form. Only those with a great live act and a memorable and distinct brand will survive.

5. Fair compensation for creators (Steve Winogradsky, Attorney)

As consumer participation on streaming sites continues to grow as we move toward the year 2020 and beyond, so will revenue models that compensate creators for their work in ways that dwarf the small amounts being paid today. Artists will be more incentivized to create music and the industry will flourish.

6. Business skills are paramount in a fast-paced and high-tech world (Chaz Austin, Ed.D, Career Development Director Musicians Institute)

As we approach the year 2020, finding investors and a professional team of advisors will seem like a thing of the long lost past unless you know fully how to build awareness and make sales on your own first.

Thus, in 2020, it will become more critical than ever for right-brained creative musicians to understand the left-brained business skills necessary to survive and thrive. This includes understanding personal finances, developing communication skills like critical thinking, business writing, and oral presentation.

Make no mistake, in 2020, you’ll need to know how to hustle for work and be able to take care of business more than ever. Remember, this is the show business. If you want to play, you’re going to need to do a lot of work.

Read “Predictions for the music industry: Part 2.”

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music musiness basicsThe contents of this post are © 2015 by Bobby Borg All rights reserved. Not to be posted, printed, or used in any other way without proper attribution to Bobby Borg and Disc Makers.

Bobby Borg Is the author of The New Book Business Basics For Musicians: The Complete Handbook From Start To Success (Hal Leonard) available at Limited time special offer – get the book, CD, and DVD for only $21.99 (a $70 Value)!

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7 thoughts on “Predictions for the music industry: Part 1

  1. I appreciate this information. I am New to music world of 2020 but I am smart and learnable. In addition I have great Artist.

    Thank you for laying the groundwork and Plan.

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