Will the vinyl revival continue? The N-Z of our 2021 music industry predictions

Will the vinyl revival continue? The N-Z of our 2021 music industry predictions

Festival Hall - image by Award Entertainment Global
Words by Christie Eliezer

We give you N-Z of our 2021 music industry predictions.

Last week, we gave you A-M of our 2021 music industry predictions – forecasting a number of potential happenings and trends that could underline the way we absorb music this year.

Whether it is the rise of disco, more female collaborations, increasing pressure on Spotify, or the faster platforming of music to cope with shortening attention spans, it is almost certain that the music industry won’t behave the same in 2021 as it did in 2020.

So without further ado, here’s N-Z of our 2021 predictions for the music business below. You can catch up on A-M here.

N = Nightclubs

For nightclubbers, a saviour will be the new app Liberty Pass which collects info of tests and vaccines from medical centres, then a QR code giving a green tick allowing the patron to enter any club or venue for 72 hours, after which they have to provide another negative test.

The issue in 2021 for operators is, too many restrictions in their clubs will see patrons turn further to alternatives such as illegal underground raves and villa and pool parties which proved bad examples of social distancing. These events just make it harder for the live sector to prove to authorities they are safety-responsible enough for venues and events to return to 100% capacity or to allow for new open spaces to be considered for the first time.

Pre-booked entries to clubs will be the norm. Will changes in social distancing etiquette in clubs, where barging through a crowd drink in hand could be frowned upon, affect the kind of music clubbers want?

What will be more important: grassing on someone being irresponsible or accepting that clubs can still be those holy houses where people can be who they want to be?

O = ‘OMG’ factor

The future of concerts is set to see more mind-blowing immersive technology with a stress on spectacular visuals. Fans will be part of the experience even more, and be invited to tell their live stories via drones, Facebook Live and radio-frequency identification. These recaps of events will promote future shows – including livestreams. FOMO will intensify, and drone selfies will rule.

Dua Lipa’s Studio 2054 livestream last November set a new bar, with a $1.5 million production, superstar friends galore, and a global draw of five million people.

P = Podcasts and TikTok to fade

Podcasts and TikTok hit their heights during the 2020 lockdown. But Forbes predicts the hype will fade away. The US business magazine says, “The problem is that podcasting is hard work, the rewards apply only to the lucky 1%, and the listening public only has so many hours in the day.”

TikTok’s star will start to set in 2021 as major streaming services introduce their own short video versions (without the Chinese spying paranoia) while rivals such as Triller are set to rise.

“TikTok’s major demographic of 13 to 24 is both extremely fickle and more likely to grow out of the need to use it daily.

“There is no new ‘latest thing’ on the horizon yet, but something new under the radar may emerge soon to make the platform even less attractive.”

Q = Quota

The Australian music industry expects streaming services to program x amount of Aussie content by the end of 2021.

R = Regional

There’ll be an uptick by state governments to build up tour circuits and funding music venues in regional areas. It’s tied in with an encouragement for city slickers to move into regional areas with grants of up to $9,000 to relocate for work, encourage migration to go there and decrease unemployment numbers.

S = Safety dance

How to be safe at raves? Coming to the market is LA-based creative studio Production Club, who have the idea of a hazmat suit called Micrashell for ravers.

Consisting of air-tight top suit and hybrid soft and hard helmet made of high performance and cut-resistant fabrics, it comes with features like an incorporated sound system with high tech headphones and a supply system to provide drinks while staying protected.

It’s not meant for ravers to buy them, but for venues to stock and rent them out. Those who consider the get-up ridiculous or too sci-fi flick, have options. Also being considered are turnaround COVID-19 tests at gates, thermo scanners (already introduced by some Australian venues), spraying fans with a disinfectant “fog” as they enter a venue, and interactive wristbands that vibrate when social distancing is breached.

T = Technology

Of all the streams of emerging technology, personalising the music experience – either to increase the fans’ pleasure or produce greater data for brands and the music industry to target consumers better – seems to be what will be prevalent in 2021.

Last September it was revealed that Spotify has been granted a US patent for building an entire framework for personalising data based on user behaviour including moods and neuroticism – and for use by corporations who can change the tone in their ads specifically to hit harder with each user. Quite creepy.

VR is now allowing users and their friends to dance onstage with their fave star – even if all are thousands of miles away.

Increasing customer engagement in fitness and wellness markets rose sharply last year, and expected to grow in 2021. Also a trend is growth in hospitals and aged care homes to use with digital therapeutics for apps like physical therapy, stroke recovery or anti-ageing processes.

See also Y = YouNite.

U = Underpaid

Black artists “may have received unfair record contracts” – a recent study from BMG found that through the years, musicians of colour received up to 3.4% less in royalties. BMG has asked other record companies to also look at their contracts.

V = Vinyl and cassettes

Expect the vinyl renaissance to continue to soar forward through 2021. The advent of HD Vinyl, which uses a laser to cut a ceramic disc, makes the production process faster and cheaper.

In Britain, vinyl sales were up through 2020 by 10% to 4.8 million albums (compared to growth of 4.1% in 2019).

Cassettes last year marked the eighth consecutive year of growth, with 157,000 of them finding a home in Britain through 2020. Lady Gaga’s Chromatica was top selling cassette there, followed by 5 Seconds Of Summer’s Calm.

In the US, vinyl sales outpaced CD revenue for the first time in nearly 40 years, hitting a record high of 1.842 million LPs in the week before Christmas.

W = Immersive web

Among 2021 forecasts by UK research company MIDiA is the immersive web – the third phase of the web.

Web 1.0 was an information dump, the second added multimedia and social. The third, which has already started, is the slow way of changing behaviour.

MIDiA explains: “Apps and platforms like Roblox, TikTok and Discord are early iterations of the immersive web, but merely hint at what will come.

“The trend will be driven by Gen Z, who have grown up with social apps from the playground onwards.

“Gen Z relies more than any previous generation on such apps for social interaction and expression, forming muscle memory for digital-first relationships.

“The COVID-19 lockdown measures have accentuated this shift, further solidifying Gen Z’s receptivity to future immersive web experiences.”

See also Z = Generation Z.

X = Marks the spot

Multi-award winning US music business and tech analyst Cherie Hu expects new music brands to replace record labels as they mix various media and creative endeavours into one.

Hu believes, “In my view, new music brands like 88rising, COLORS, Thrice Cooked Media, Lyrical Lemonade and Trap Nation that embrace diversification and border-blending will serve as a much more compelling blueprint for future music companies than any major label will.”

Y = YouNite

YouNite devices are a type of futuristic brain-computer interface for music consumption. According to Hu, “Unlike smart speakers, which operate on the resolution of individual sentences and conversations, YouNite operates on the level of individual heartbeats, breaths, and even neurons.”

We’re not sure when, but “the proliferation of smart speakers and the growing popularity of Weav-like startups are the first steps toward making something like YouNite a reality.”

Z = Generation Z

Where will the thrust of Australian creativity come from? According to an Adobe study, 64% of Generation Z – those aged 13 to 22 – believe they are more creative than any other generation. In comparison, only 49% of Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers believe the same thing.

Being digital natives, they approach creativity in a different way. They prefer to work outside of an office but 69% also think working outside of home helps with creativity. But only 56% of millennials and 41% of baby boomers believe working from home inspires more creativity.

While 44% of older Aussies think coffee stimulates creative juices, 44% of Gen Z think it’s water and 43% opt for fruit. Then come snacks (34%), pizza (31%) and pasta (26.5%).

One in three (29%) Aussie Gen Z admit that being in love has a strong impact on creativity, while 28% believe experiencing a boo-hoo breakup makes them more creative.

Read A-M of our 2021 music industry predictions here.

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