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2021 Music Predictions

Words by Kavina.

We’re back at it again for another round of predictions for the music new year, lol’s and a grain of salt at the ready as we lay it down with the hopes that live music surely can't get any less… yeah, just any less. You got us there COVID-19! 

To recap on a couple of bang on predictions, TikTok has firmly planted itself as top gun thanks to Gen Z content sharing, virtual tech and artist collaborations blewup, merch is life, and while the live music sector took a major hit, the way the industry responded has set the tone for a major shift in the way we will forever share live music experiences. 

If one thing’s for sure, it’s a digital life from here on out, and who knows, with the whole spiritual awakening in motion, we might be experiencing astral projection live music by 2022, but for now, get your vaccine, take it slow, and remember, no matter what, music lives on! 

But first, let’s talk about the return of live music

Not to get ahead of ourselves considering COVID has proven to be ever prevalent in its attempts to harsh our vibes, but with vaccines starting to make their way into our global communities there will be a significant impact on international borders and restrictions for live music participation. Bluesfest and Splendour In The Grass are leading the way with supreme local and international lineups, venues are still in a bit of strife, even with big Gov stepping up with the live music venue assistance, but there will be a ressurangance! In an oddly shifting global climate, live music hubs from around the world will shift, planting Australia right in its centre.  

Concert live streams takeover the way we view music participation

There’s no going back, especially considering the spending associated with the grandeur of livestreaming to compensate for the real experience, something that has set the bar for future streaming events. Last year Dua Lipa spent a hefty 1.5m for a livestream, with over 5million viewers worldwide and celebrity performances to accompany. While this may not work for indie artists, the compensation for cost without physical attendance will be something that mainstream artists will invest heavily in. 

Since venues from around the world can bring in a host of participants from all over the globe, it is likely that they will follow suit, especially since time zones are officially no thang. Look forward to more collaborations, more diversity and the idea of taking in live music while you’re watching a show on your phone in Texas. 

TikTok a fad?

TikTok was set to take over the social media and fan contentsharing game in 2020, which blew up in ways we couldn’t even fathom due to the added COVID-19 factor that hit us around the time the platform hit global success. As the ultimate boredom buster during our lockdown days, the sharing and creating of videos kept the world entertained, though it’s had some lashback after being banned in India, plus the Trump administration trying to do the same.

With users like Addison Rae and D’Amelio highlighting how TikTok celebrity influence paired with a 100million+ potential viewers(most of them young and impressionable), can give them the ability to charge pay-for-play videos which shockingly attributes to Billboard charttoppers and TikTok artist blowups. Even Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ made a comeback after 40 years due to it’s cute Oceanspray skateboard TikTok sensation. 

Though the app is estimated to outperform all other apps with a 1.2billion user count, with earning potential on par with gaming apps the flipside is, as other apps catch up with their own video technology, and competitors like Triller emerge, the attentionspan of its 14-26yr demographic may petter out. 

Artist and digital tech

In our recent chat with Rolling Stone’s managing editor Poppy Reid, she predicted major artist and band interactions with technology and virtual worlds to promote direct fan engagement, as we adapt to the setbacks of socially distant music. Travis Scott x Fortnite Astronomical concert, Tinashes Youtube avatar and tech avatar fashion, are just the beginning in an almost overnight expansion which we were only expecting to grow in the next five years, clearly driven by the limitations of COVID. This just goes to show how quickly the world will adapt to compensate for consumer demands and the quickly adapting and techsavvy gen Z, the first generation raised with ipads and social media connections. 

Indie Indie Indie, artist discovery is in our own hands 

Because of our interconnectedness reaching all corners of the earth, and who knows, probably all the way to roaming galaxies, indie artists are discoverable regardless of social class, resources or location. 88rising, and Trap Nation alongside indie management platforms like Ditto and CDBaby take multimedia management and self production to intimidating strides, leaving very little for agencies to take on. Being able to use booking platforms, outsource PR, self-print, self-promote, we live in a time where artists get their due, thanks to the fans who continue to push the bounds of music discovery. 

Speaking of, local artists get their turn 

Busking, local touring, regional expansion to accommodate for social distance gigs, you name it! When the global music market goes to shit, you turn to your local community and you get busy! City hubs are expanding out to showcase the best of what our nation has to offer, while international borders remain shut and under apprehensive watch. More events will be taking on the Victorian Music Crawl style of venues showcasing artists within a certain radius, bringing ticketed events and controlled numbers an experience they may have taken for granted in compacted local neighbourhood settings. Get in your car and get out there! Local legends step up as mainstage acts, and thanks to social media exposure will get the spotlight cast directly on them! 

COVIDsafe party passports

Safety first partying, apps like Liberty Pass will cater as COVID passport for 72 hours of venue and events, and could be the ticket to the global takeback of its right to party. Following Spains plans to use it to revive its Ibiza residencies, the November announcement at the International Nightlife Congress(yeah that’s a thing) gave the world hope for global contingency, as it connects users directly to healthcare facilities offering and legitamzing venuegoers health and vaccine updates before they get to the doors and thermo-scanners. 

A musically inclusive industry 

 The fact that the arts play a vital role in social awareness and the expression of mass ideals will be a driving force for a brighter and more inclusive future. Check out the boys from Untitled Group, who bring you the likes of Into The Valley and Pitch Fest, and take their project of love - Ability Fest, as a prime example of how industry leaders will be taking matters into their own hands, and using their powers to drive change on a global scale with the way they present music and events. 

It was a massive year in 2020 for social awareness and disruption, with Black Lives Matter and police brutality, political and gender riots, and a conscious focus on the news as one of the main sources of communication with the rest of the world.  With lockdown measures, we were forced to face the stark realisation that we really hadn’t taken the time to ‘know thy neighbours’ and just as we saw #Blackouttuesday as an industry support, the music collective and its consumer participants will be doing their research and supporting vehicles for social change. 

Which means more accountability for all! 

And in some cases, remaining silent, speaks louder than words! 

Due to the globe facing the same trials of a shared disease, pedestrian participation, artist charity events and the fast-paced change associated with internet participation, if you arent a conscious advocate as an artist, you’ll be called out fairly quickly. In 2020 Hanson faced major backlash from fans who noticed they took too long on jumping to denounce racism, and when they finally shared their thoughts, their fastworking community of loyalists had already gone about informing their suspicions by calling out Zac Hanson for his racist Reddit feeds. 

With the #METOO movement, racist industry management and underpaid artists coming to the foreground, justice takes on the definition of being a socially aware and justice-seeking organisation and artist who lifts up the community around you. 

The truth will be uncovered, and call-out culture will continue to grow as citizen-journalism separates further from the media. In uncertain times where fan participation in a COVID digital age will determine the industry's success, this could be a call for a better world in the process.

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