The music scene has changed greatly from before the pandemic to now. People are interacting with their favorite artists in new and – by necessity – creative ways. Artists are also producing music and growing fame in different ways. Data analysts at Viberate have looked into some of the trends that have shaped 2021 – and what we can expect in 2022. Viberate analyzed over a trillion data points between December 9, 2020, and December 9, 2021, and it paints an interesting picture of what music is doing now – and where it might go soon. Here’s a look at Viberate’s “2022 State of Music,” a fascinating glimpse behind the drives in the music world.
From TikTok to Infinity
One of the most interesting changes over the past three years is how some artists are gaining and growing their fame. It used to be that an artist would release music to the radio – and it would grow from there. Now, music starts somewhere completely different: the internet.
TikTok overcame Google in 2021 to be the most visited website – making it the perfect place from which to launch music careers. TikTok has now replaced Soundcloud as the place to start out on your own. Using social media to connect with fans allows people to choose the music the like, not record executives who control what music gets the most play time on the radio.
However, there’s still a music elite. On Spotify, for instance, according to Viberate’s analysis, the majority of engagement & fanbase growth belongs to 1% of all analyzed artists. The top 500 artists generated 30% of all streams and gained 40% of all new followers. That means that the fortunate 500, as it were, is really good at capturing the attention of audiences. This pattern repeats across a variety of platforms including YouTube, TikTok, Soundcloud, Instagram and more.
Fan-First Music is the Future
Another shift that was seen during the pandemic was a move to fan-first music. Because people are used to being able to instantly access their favorite artists and be a part of their growth and rise to fame, music artists will need to focus on a fan-first approach to music, advertising, merchandise and other considerations. People now prefer shorter, more digestible videos such as TikTok produces. So artists will have to learn to maximize their time on camera to advertise their skills and connect with potential fans.
In addition, personalizing everything for fans gives them a feeling of being special and valued by the artist. The advent of NFTs has hastened this era of fan-first approaches, giving artists a way to honor their fans’ dedication – and make a few bucks along the way. The social-media-centric approach to growth also allows artists to receive money directly from their fans instead of through a record label. Now they can get direct tips, contributions – or even run their own OnlyFans or fan exclusive content which people pay regular premiums to access.
It’s a whole new playground for artists used to having executives call all the shots for them. But for Gen Z artists just starting out – they’re growing their careers in a world where fans have a bigger say and more direct feedback, but that also means they get more control over the content and quality they churn out.
Genres Will Continue to Blur
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a rise in Latin music as it becomes more mainstream. Asian Pop has also hit its stride, becoming even more widely played around the world. According to online engagements, Hip-Hop and K-Pop are the two most listened to genres. However, radio stations are still giving these genres the snub. This makes their rise even more impressive, because people are seeking the music out instead of stumbling across it on the radio. Titans in the Latin and K-Pop industries hope that this gatekeeping will end in 2022 or 2023, allowing these underappreciated genres to enjoy their much-deserved time in the Sun.
Viberate predicts that this trend will grow in 2022, and Latin and K-Pop music among others will continue to go more mainstream. Here are some other predictions based on current trends that Viberate sees materializing or continuing in 2022:
- Genres will blur: Genre bending and blending is more popular than ever. It used to be that people picked their music based on narrowly defined genre parameters, but now you’re more likely to hear people say they like a variety of genres. Viberate finds that artists and fans alike prefer mood over genre to pick their music. And Spotify’s genre-busting playlist, “Songs to Sing in the Shower” has an impressive 6.4M followers.
- TikTok starts it all: The trend of TikTok artists becoming music artists in their own right has been growing and should continue in 2022. Viberate suggests that Spotify “Seals the deal;” which means that artists who can translate TikTok popularity into Spotify streaming success are likely to have big and growing careers.
- Tech and dance music are lit: With music festivals returning and on the rise, dance and EDM music is having a heyday.
- Pop artists who made big moves in 2021, with their 2020-2021 Viberate ranks: Olivia Rodrigo (7,965th place to 29th), Glass Animals (1,617th place to 173rd) and Aurora (2,134th place to 516th). And pop artists to watch in 2022 include PinkPantheress, BoyWithUke and Will Paquin.
- Latin artists who made big moves in 2021: L-Gante (10,242nd place to 291st), Avine Vinny (2,316th place to 557th) and Junior H (2,179th place to 912th). Latin artists they suggest you watch include Tokischa, DJ TAO and Ingrid Contreras.
- Hip-Hop artists who made big moves in 2021: Masked Wolf (10,238th place to 4,901st), CKay (11,301st place to 63rd) and Eladio Carrion (1,106th place to 351st). Artists to watch in 2022 include Central Cee, Orelsan and SODA LUV.
- 80% of the top 100 most streamed artists are newer – with careers less than 15 years old.
- Punk Rock is on the rise again. With emo/punk rock festivals like When We Were Young selling out almost instantly, it’s clear that this is a sound that’s making a comeback.
What this means for fans is more accessibility and online interaction with their favorite artists, less constraints by genre, more personalized digitized and monetized content, and young artists with an international sound taking center stage.