predictions for the music industry

Predictions for the music industry: Part 2

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In Part 1 we looked at ways for artists to monetize and collect revenue. Part 2 includes predictions for the music industry related to artist branding, live performances, and new products that might evolve for musical artists.

Music isn’t going anywhere – we dance to it, graduate to it, and get married to it. But one thing is for sure, the music industry will continue to change and grow. As we head into the bold new musical landscape, indie musicians must keep their eyes on the future.

1. Shifting demographics mainstreamed (Dan Kimpel, Music Journalist)

In making predictions about the music industry in 2020, I envision that the topography of the music landscape will be much more inclusive of artists who are representative of the shifting population demographics.

I believe that Latin artists, communicating in English, Spanish, and “Spanglish,” will be mainstreamed, and that Asian-American singers, bands and producers will become major creative forces. Songwriters will continue to bond together into “writing camps” and will exert an ever-greater influence as shapers of talent and as arbiters and producers of content. Mixers and remixers will become more dominant, as Electronic Dance Music (EDM) continues to unite the globe through worldwide anthems.

What will never change is the power of motivated, forward-thinking creators to configure music to challenge, change, and inspire the lives of listeners.

2. A focus on exciting music – not the latest technical trends (Mike Gormley, LA Personal Management; former manager of the Bangles, Oingo Boingo, and Danny Elfman)

While the focus in the music business has been on the latest technological trends and delivery platforms, innovative, great music will always be the future and true savior of the industry, whether it be the year 2020 or 2025. When jazz arrived on the scene, it was controversial, exciting, and real – as was rock, rap, and EDM. It propelled the music industry forward and gave it life. But what’s next?

The year 2020 will be marked by a new direction in music that shakes up the world once again and puts the focus back on the art and the talented creators, and not just on technology. Those artists who create something unique will thrive.

3. Extended product lines and stronger brands (Fred Croshal, Croshal Entertainment Group, LLC)

In 2020, music will be consumed virtually everywhere – on platforms that are seen today and others that have not yet been envisioned.
To survive, musicians – more than ever – will have to embrace this technology, but they must also realize that music and the distribution and sales of it will only be a one part of the their revenue pie (and perhaps even the smallest piece).
Artists will have to extend far beyond just selling recordings (streams, downloads, CD, vinyl, or whatever new format is discovered), hitting the road, and selling merchandise. Artists will need to grow their product offerings into licensing, sponsorships, production, co-writing, acting, modeling, restaurant franchising, investing, directing, educating, and other new creative ventures unknown today in order to survive and thrive in the new music business.
Thus, in 2020, protecting the artist’s true vision, values, integrity, authenticity, and overall brand image is paramount. Those who understand marketing will grow brands stronger than ever – relating to target markets and engaging fans on a far more personal level than they are doing now.  

Long gone are the days of the “mass” broad stroke mentality and narrow mindedness in marketing artists. It’s a new world today and it will continue to evolve in 2020 and beyond. The marketing savvy artist who can grow with it all will thrive.

4. The concert business will be shaped, but never replaced (John Pantle, Agent at APA Talent and Literary Agency)

While technology is developing at rapid speeds and disrupting many music-related businesses, especially the record business and recorded music, technology is helping to grow the concert business in many ways. Key areas are discovering new artists, aggregating artists’ fanbases, and allowing cash-free purchases at events.

Humans are group-based, and people have always strived to congregate together, whether it be for religious ceremonies, theater productions, sporting events, or musical concerts. Technology facilitates this behavior. Social networks help fans engage new bands, digital cameras allow fans to shoot live clips and post them on websites in real-time, and websites and ticket vendors allow fans to view tour dates and purchase advanced tickets. We’ll see even more advancements in 2020 and beyond. 

Through advancements in technology and pure human need, the concert business is not going anywhere and will be stronger than ever. Sure, the way concerts are marketed or sold will be somewhat shaped, but the concert business will never be replaced. Develop a great live show and thrive!

5. More automated and sophisticated marketing everywhere (Ira S. Kalb; professor of marketing at the Marshall School of Business at University of Southern California; President, Kalb & Associates)

While my crystal ball broke last week, I predict that marketing music in 2020 will become more sophisticated and automated. People will have bots (or avatars) that are digital representations of them. These bot agents will know their music preferences and travel around the Internet buying songs, concert tickets, and related merchandise for their human bosses. It might even get to the point where musicians and record companies will have bots that market their services directly to customer bots (an updated take on “have your agent contact my agent’).

In addition to going to concerts, fans will have the option to download performances 24/7 and watch them on smart screens and mobile devices. If mobile devices have a small screen, they will have the capability of projecting a holographic image of the performance.

6. Unique and innovative products and services prevail (Bobby Borg, Musician, Author, Consultant)

In 2020, the musical marketplace will be more saturated than ever with artists from all walks of life taking advantage of new tools and technologies to create. But only those super talented artists who are able to push the lines of creativity will rise to the top and significantly get heard and seen. Whether it’s that new production technique, that new blend of musical style, or that new live performance presentation, musicians more than ever will have to think like entrepreneurs and how to strategize their careers rather then just throw it in the wind and hope that they’ll be successful. If you think it’s tough to get heard today, it will surely be more difficult in the future for the “me too/copycat artist.”

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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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Read More
Predictions for the music industry: Part 1
EDM: the fashionable end of the music spectrum
The 360 Deal – the music industry’s scary monster
Developing your artist brand
Five elements of your artist brand
Five strategies to help boost music merch sales

3 thoughts on “Predictions for the music industry: Part 2

  1. Wow – pretty lame. So many bad assumptions. The first one being that actually creating (writing/arranging, producing, recording) music is something other than very hard work. To say that success is going to take “a lot of hard work” (by which they mean hours of marketing that would require 2 or 3 full time employees) is just a way to sound like a life coach. And to hedge against their failed predictions (“well if you’re not successful you obviously didn’t market yourself well enough”). Marketing hamburgers is hard enough, but the herculean push required to market music by the artist themselves will always seem to make them come off like carnival barkers.

    It’s great that high level promoters think that touring and march are key to success. Most musicians I know would love to tour, but the expense of it makes it an impossibility. The industry is a mess, and none of these predictions will save it. Ending piracy (which Google could almost single handedly do by merely not monitizing pirate sites and not giving search results for them) , and mandating minimum payments for streaming services would be a great start. But only a start. Add to that some new way of filtering out the (sometimes very) subpar music that’s clogging the lanes – which used to be the job of record companies and music writers. Those 2 will probably never have the same influence as before (and maybe that’s a good thing), but something will almost have to develop that rewards quality, or the “long tail” will stay so long that revenues will essentially be zero for 99.9% of musicians.

  2. So Dan Kimpel thinks that the masses will unite by pretending to dance? Also, the last thing many people want are songwriting “camps” who believe they can influence taste trends for the sake of social influence while possibly destroying any sense of creative individuality. The massive wave of bored, basement re-mixers might further fog up any sense of personality within the struggling artist.

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