h

2019 could see longer albums, but shorter songs

Among other music industry predictions for 2019.

ALBUMS TO GET LONGER, SONGS GET SHORTER

Thanks to streaming, the album will move further from a fixed block of twelve tracks to something more fluid. There’ll be works in progress where new tracks are added long after the release date. Albums are getting longer (most notably in 2018, Drake’s Scorpion stretched to 25 songs and 89 minutes). Singles are getting shorter. With fans discovering old hits via playlists, songs can become hits a number of times. This month’s BuzzAngle report revealed that nearly two out of every three songs streamed in 2018 were released more than 18 months ago. Point to ponder: will charts one day become irrelevant, and replaced by playlists?

GLOBAL RECORDED MUSIC TO TOP $20 BILLION

The global recorded music business is on track to top $20 billion in 2019. UK-based Midia Research based its forecast on the sector expanding at an annual $1.4 billion over the past two years. In 2018 it generated over $18.9 billion, with streaming making up 50.8% ($9.6 billion) of the total. Revenue from music streaming has been growing $2.2 billion a year since 2016. But Midia cautions: “In order to ensure [$2 billion streaming growth in 2019] is delivered, newer streaming markets – especially Germany, Japan, Brazil and Mexico – will need to deliver” as streaming in the US and some European markets starts to slow down.

MORE AUSTRALIAN ARTISTS TAKE CONTROL

Aussie artists are less in awe of technology and better at using it to gain control of their careers. The partnership between creativity and business is becoming more equal and transparent. 2019 will see indie artists get a helping hand from the big two. Spotify lets them upload their recordings, invested in digital distributor DistroKid (250,000 indie acts), and is building artificial intelligence tools to “enable artists to create in different ways.” Apple just bought artist-discovery start-up Platoon. We’ll see a greater explosion of emerging acts. As one consequence of this, see item below.

MORE AUSSIES TO PLANT THE FLAG ABROAD

In 2018 more Australian musicians – some virtually unknown in their home market – went abroad.  Most stayed under the radar while they just got on with casting their music wider. With the federal Labor party certainly returning to power this year, their impressive music policy is set to kick in, which not only promises more help to export music, but to strengthen the domestic market to help launch more new acts.

MORE RADIO LISTENERS TUNE IN

2019 will continue last year’s trend of Aussies tuning into radio, in record weekly numbers – 10.8 million for commercial radio (with its reach to 18 to 24-year-olds at a four year high from 76%) and 5.7 million weekly for community radio’s 450+ stations. The Infinite Dial Australia study showed listeners interact with station across social media, on the mobile and in the car (89% for the latter). 13% of Australians listened to a podcast a week, rising to 16% for 25 to 54-year-olds. The rise of radio listening also coincides with younger fans moving from owning to renting music.