What with the explosion of virtual reality, augmented reality and all kinds of new wearable technology, the past decade or so has changed the face of music as we know it.
Ever since the days of Limewire (RIP), the music industry has changed and upgraded at an almost breakneck speed.
In fact, overall music’s influence will increase even more in 2020. It will impact our everyday lives, from microwave ovens playing a tune when your meal is ready, to being bombarded via ear-buds connected to iPhones and iPads blaring the latest podcast, social influencer or the over 6000 slot games all with their own unique soundtrack.
So, what exciting new developments can we expect to see in 2020? Here’s just a few of our predictions.
The Return of the Golden Oldies
With such a rich backlog and musical history to delve into, we think we’ll be seeing a lot more of those golden oldies hits from the past (read: 1950s-2000s) coming back. After all, hits are still hits (and for good reason), regardless of when they were released. For the younger generations, there’s never been a better time to get acquainted with music from other decades.
Virtual Reality will Shake Musical Reality
VR and AR (augmented reality) has already made waves in the music industry. Just cast your mind back to when 2Pac magically rose from the grave (via hologram) to perform a duet with Dr. Dre, Eminem et al back at Coachella 2012.
In the next year or so, this technology will only become more present, and stronger: as the costs to produce these immersive experiences become cheaper, you could even expect to attend a concert or festival without even being there in person. The possibilities are endless...and exciting.
Wearable Tech will Move Us in New Ways
Ever heard (or imagined the possibility) of a musical tattoo? How about a shirt with in-built music samples? As the lines between coding, engineering and art become even more blurry, coders, engineers and artists have been building wearable tech that goes beyond anything that you could ever have imagined possible. We really believe that 2020 will be the year that “music” becomes even more of a looser term, that goes beyond any definition we’d ever previously experienced - just look at how streaming has changed the face of the industry for evidence of this.
AI programs can and will easily be configured in all areas of music production - from the composition of the piece, including the scores and audio stems, to the lyrics themselves. But, songwriters don't need to fear for their jobs just yet - as AI lyrics and general writing still have some way to go before they’re a real threat. As of the end of 2018, the technology still wasn’t quite there, while Seinfeld fans will fondly recall the terrible but hilarious AI-generated script.
And what Beyonce does, the world will surely follow. After all, surprise album drops are nothing new: but given the completely eradicated costs of prior marketing and promotion, this approach is pretty clever. 2020 is almost sure to bring more surprising album drops from your favorite artists.
Everyone can be a Content Creator
Just as anyone with a smartphone can become a content creator (see: YouTube), this approach will be taken one step further in the music industry. Thanks to better, more innovative technology - when it comes to video editing, uploading time and even creating new sounds and styles (not to mention, AI-generated lyrics - see above), everyone can and will be some form of musical content creator.
No More Global Superstars
As the face of the industry is changing, so too is the way audiences interact: popular, global artists no longer need the backing of a huge record label, with millions of upfront investment. Thanks to wider access to the internet, smartphones, content streaming and social media, there are newer, brighter stars emerging- and who are popular solely for their talent, not their image. They are gaining traction and a fanbase thanks to ever easier ways to share music, and across more platforms - but be warned, this will likely lead to market saturation...and the likes of the next huge global superstar - a la Beyonce, Lady Gaga etc - are unlikely to emerge any time soon as a result.
Ultimately, 2020 is just 6 months away, while some of these new technologies will take a while to emerge, or if they’re already available, to be proven effective (such as AI).
One thing is for certain though - the future of the music industry will be very exciting, and very, very different from what we see now.