In the last few years, with the rise of streaming, the music industry has undergone a revolution of sorts. The changes shall continue to come. As artists, fans and record labels continue to adapt, so further innovations and trends will crop up. At Zimrii we’ve got our crystal ball out and are taking a punt with some music trend predictions for 2019 and beyond.
1. Music will become increasingly socially conscious and political
The global political climate being what it is, large swathes of the population are feeling visceral and intense feelings of anger and disillusionment. As human beings, we naturally find means of expressing our discontent through art. Admittedly, this is nothing new. So why is it on this list of music trend predictions? Let us explain.
Like all fashions and trends, musical trends come in cycles and waves. We are fast approaching a time when, more frequently, artists making considered, passionate and sincere political statements will be what truly connects with a mainstream audience. The roots of this socially conscious revival can be seen in albums such as Beyoncé’s Lemonade.
Youth engagement figures with political issues are on the rise. This will eventually be reflected in the charts. Increased multiculturalism and social diversity shall also give rise to popular music which is more culturally expansive. The rise of grime music is evidence of new artists finding commercial and cultural success, without sacrificing or pacifying their identities and backgrounds.
2. Artists will become more and more independent
Not so long ago, stating that one day the internet rather than HMV would rule the record-buying world, and that streaming would be our default listening method, would have been a perfectly legitimate music trend prediction to make. That time is well and truly upon us, as we are now seeing the beginnings of a reaction to this new status quo.
Whilst streaming platforms have made music more accessible to a much wider fanbase than ever before, they do so at the expense of the artist. In financial terms at least. This is hitting the labels too. When it comes to artists and their labels, there’ll only be one winner – the ones the public want to see. The current trend for artists to set up their own, or attach themselves to, smaller independent labels will continue to gather steam.
What’s more, as the big labels get more desperate, they’ll take even less risks. More and more cash will be pumped into the funds of their flagship artists. This makes it even harder for exciting, innovative new acts to find a way through. This is where the indie labels can pick up the slack, and not just merely survive (as is the indie tradition) but thrive.
In short, the indie will become the mainstream, and the whole cycle shall repeat itself, over and over. We’re not actually sure that this one should count as one of our music trend predictions, seeing as it is more a simple reminder that history can, and will, repeat itself.
3. The live scene will become exciting again
One revenue stream that musicians won’t have to sacrifice to the streaming gods is the live experience they offer. Therefore, with a newfound vitality to the live music and touring market, competition shall escalate. Huge acts who already fill huge arenas shall continue to be able to do so. This is a trend that’ll have the biggest impact a little way down the ladder.
Smaller acts will be prioritising building their reputations as great live performers. This fight to be the finest live act out there shall see the live music scene explode with exciting, unique and revolutionary experiences.
This is also great for venues. Lots of iconic and beloved live music venues have struggled in recent years. This potential revival of the live scene could help save these historic artefacts of music history. New history shall also be made in those hallowed halls. In twenty-five years’ time we’ll all be saying ‘I was there when…’. For that reason alone, of all our music trend predictions, we really want this one to come true.
These music trend predictions may well prove wide of the mark. However, given the signs of the times before us, we believe they’re a reasonable projection of where the music industry is heading. There are great things we’ll leave behind (we don’t see CDs getting the ‘vinyl revival’ treatment). However, there’ll be great discoveries along the way. Remember, one hundred years ago, even rock and roll didn’t exist. In any case, we’ll be along for the ride.
Also published on Medium.