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Making predictions is always risky business. Nobody really knows what to expect in a year (or 10), but we all like to guess. I would like to forewarn you that I could be completely wrong with these predictions, but they represent my best guesses.
According to MIDiA Research, 2016 was the year of the video. Video dominated all forms of social media and took music farther than it has ever gone. Quickly, bands and brands are catching on to the rise of video and adapting to maximize every video’s social reach.
At the same time, I would argue that streaming services were really brought to an apex this year with the release of Apple Music. Millions of people who were already using iTunes suddenly had access to a streaming service that was built-in to their phone.
Now, I know more people streaming their music than not. And I certainly can’t blame them, it’s awesome. It’s not a bad thing for the industry either; while royalties remain well under 0.7 cents/spin, at least money is being made.
Inevitably, things will change and evolve. Here are my predictions.
Music Marketing Prediction 1: Spotify Will IPO And New Streaming Services Will Emerge
It’s widely expected that Spotify will IPO in 2017. They are apparently aiming for the second quarter. There has been widespread debate over whether Spotify will live up to it’s $8 billion evaluation.
A poorly performing Spotify IPO could shake the confidence in the entire streaming market. Researchers speculate that this could curb the “grow-at-all-costs” model in favor of personalized services that make more money.
However well it does or doesn’t do, Spotify going public surely means there will be room for other streaming services to move in and build upon its success.
Some of Spotify’s best and most popular features are its algorithms that make it a personalized experience. Other streaming services will take this concept and run with it. Perhaps inserting music catered to our tastes into various parts of our lives.
New streaming services rise and fall in popularity (for example TIDAL), but I firmly believe there is room in the market for a services that really break ground.
Music Industry Prediction 2: Record Labels Will Still Rule The Industry Despite What Everyone Says
If you go poking around the internet looking for music trends and predictions for next year and years past, you’ll read over and over again about the death of major labels. You’ll read about the rise of the indie artist. You’ll read comments telling you never to sign with a label.
In my opinion, this is nonsense from people who do not know what they are talking about.
With the rise of digital streaming, record labels are once again a major power, and while they are not making as much money as they made selling albums, they are making more money than anybody else on streaming.
Quietly, the big three record labels have bought stakes in most of the major streaming services. 10 to 20% of Spotify and Rdio are owned by the major labels (collectively). Often, they buy these shares at a discounted price, and buy more later and at a further discounted price.
Everything from Interlude to Shazam is owned in part by the major labels. Forbes estimates that the major labels have secured positions in digital streaming companies worth around $3 billion.
If you’re still under the impression that labels do not hold sway in today’s music industry, think again. Labels are clawing back towards a position of power, and it’s going to be hard to stop them.
That said, indie artists have more power than ever before. In 2017, you can literally do everything yourself – create, release, tour, sell merch, and even become a successful artist. All I’m saying is that the industry is not as cut and dry as many assume.
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P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and make people WANT to hear it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free music marketing ebook emailed directly to you! Or for an in-depth fool proof guide on how to get people to listen to your music, get our online music business course here.