We’re already a half-way through January 2018. Time does fly past real quick. Before all of it goes away, let’s make some predictions.
Global Music Industry
Complete Reshift of Recorded Music
Major Labels have for a long time been struggling with the ability to make money through physical records. With the streaming numbers tipping, 2018 could be the year physical recorded music could fall down to the lowest bar. Mobile companies and networks have been upgrading their game thus creating a stronger foundation for streaming services.
No more freemium Spotify and end of Radio
Uptill now Spotify was able to share whatever metrics they were comfortable with. Ongoing public, which is expected to come through by the end of the Financial Year. Once public, increased investor scrutiny on will see it focus on new metrics (APRU, Life Time Value etc) and concentrate more heavily on its free user numbers.
Spotify is growing, but so are its losses, and the platform will find a strategy to stop losing money. One of the easiest ways it can do that would be to drop its free tier to convert its free listeners to paid subscribers – or, at the very least, dramatically restrict what content can listen on it. It actually offered some labels the opportunity to keep new albums off the free tier for two weeks last year, so it’s reasonable to assume more restrictions are coming.
2018 will be the year that free streaming takes center stage – watch out the radio.
Implementation of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency
I can’t say I understand the depth of either of the two (but who does?). We have seen a BIG hue and cry about Blockchain and cryptocurrencies through 2017. Be it Spotify attaining Media chain or just the ridiculous value of a currency most of us don’t even truly understand, that is also intangible. While I agree that blockchain can most definitely help with transparency, in terms of actual trade. Seems a little off yet.
There are signs that startups are trying to use cryptocurrency to ‘disrupt’ the music industry in questionable ways. Take Viberate for example, a “crowdsourced live music ecosystem and a blockchain-based marketplace” that uses its own cryptocurrency to let promoters book artists, artists sell merchandise and fans buy tickets. The problem is, you can only use the Viberate tokens to buy services in the Viberate ecosystem and not, anything outside of it. So, in our conversation of helping artists pay their rent, I think we should probably rethink.
However, I believe we will get closer to making blockchain workout but I don’t think that is the end solution. Hopefully, 2018 will either find that and bid blockchain adieu or will blockchain into the final solution. Very excited to see where this ends up.
Depacito, Mi Gente, Chantaje, Enrique, Shakira, Daddy Yankee etc. have all proved a huge Latin Music influence in the last year. All this hit songs and hit-making artists have helped raise the revenue of the Latin industry by over 45% (Read here). This trend is still up fresh with lots of Latin numbers still making it hot on all the charts. Will we see more? I sure do think so.
Sports Event Influences
Anthem Songs: Call me obsessed but this is the year of the FIFA Football World Cup. Brands will make advertisements that will feature artists we love and some new ones we don’t know yet. FIFA will come up with their own playlist in collaboration with probably Deezer which has done some interesting sports-music promotion in the last 2 years. Like their partnership with Manchester United and all their players having their monthly playlists up on the application.
We will also have one BIG official anthem that will top charts. Who do you think will make it this time? I’m hoping an electro-rock band or maybe some hip-hop.
K-Pop: You may like it or you may hate it. I’m not personally a fan but K-Pop is an industry that already blew up with “Oppa Gangnam Style. Heyyyyyy sexy ladyyyy”. It played in your head while you read it, didn’t it? If not. LUCKY!
With the Olympics in Korea this year. I think we will hear some more “Gangnam Style”-esque music this year.
Indian Music Industry
4G Mobile Data and High-Speed WiFi
Mobile Data till before last year was getting more and more expensive for 4G. Who came to the rescue? Jio. Thanks to the competition Airtel and Vodafone have also reduced the price drastically making mobile data more accessible in bulk. WiFi has also seen a huge shift towards fiber optic cables and we all get at least 20MBPS.
Talking about music streaming. There’s all it takes to push off more.
Influx of International Acts
Incubus, Major Lazer, rumors of Eminem coming. Plini, David Maxim Micic, Veil of Maya. Sphongle, James Blunt. So many international acts are known to be coming in and across all genres. 2018 will show Indian music enthusiasts how dreams do come true. With the promoters using their game and companies and fans willing to spend big bucks. Revenue in live music for international acts will exponentially grow this year.
Rebirth of Indian Rock
Pentagram and Noiseware come back this year with 2 big releases. This will not only push new bands to start seeing their dreams but will urge the old existing bands come out of their sheds. Or am I just being extremely optimistic? Be it. This is a call out to all metal and rock bands, Loudest calls you guys out to be louder than ever!
Rise of the T2 Cities
The Music Industry in India has slowly found an important place in the T1 cities. However, in such a vast country, it’s a shame to leave out the various T2 cities. Last year saw Guwahati, Pune, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh see a lot of live music, artists and labels popping up. This year I think the live music companies will find more newer markets in the T2 cities. Rajasthan cities like Jaipur and Ranthambore seem to be seeing some activity, North-east cities like Shillong have always had a growing music fan base. With many festivals especially in off-beat and picturesque locations will help increase the footfall for these T2 markets.
Gujarat will also see an influx of music with the higher willingness to pay among the consumers. Ahmedabad has already seen a huge growth and Vadodara is just a stone throw away.
Progress on IPRS and PPL
For some time now, we have been talking about publishing and royalties for music. Last year was huge for both IPRS and PPL with the revival of the board and bringing or publishing expert Achille Forler as a consultant. Will royalty collection and distribution fall into its rightful place this year? We don’t know, but we do see a more structured cycle and an implementation of collection.