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13 Music Trends For 2021

predicting the music trends

As is tradition, I’ve written some predictions for music trends in 2021.

It’s in a Google Slide. You should be able to advance each slide by clicking on the little arrow. And you can download the presentation as a PDF.

I did it this way to make it as accessible as possible, since I can also share it on Facebook, LinkedIn etc.

The Music Trends That Will Shape 2021

The 13 music trends are:

  1. Themed labels
  2. The fan economy
  3. The artist economy
  4. Live streaming
  5. Live streaming platforms
  6. Collaborations
  7. Games
  8. Music Producers
  9. More singles, less albums
  10. Think Global, Act Global
  11. Digital Merchandise
  12. Micro Payments
  13. Closed Forums

Many of these have been around for several years.

For instance, live streaming is hardly new. Due to the pandemic the industry saw a huge increase in the number of streams, including groundbreaking shows – in terms of production and viewers – from artists such as BTS and Dua Lipa.

However, 2021 will see a continuation of this trend and an explosion in the variety and creativity behind the shows. As the pandemic continues, live streams will become a viable way of making money for many artists who are prepared to dive in and experiment. At the same time, the social media platforms will pour large investments into making the platforms more feature rich. Live streams have great engagement potential, which suits them just fine.


an artist learning how to live stream music

Playing To A Global Audience

Similarly, collaborations are nothing new. Artists, especially in rap, dance and pop, have been forming successful partnerships for many years. Where we’ll see growth is in a) collaborations in other genres and b) virtual studios enabling artists from around the world to work together. Expect to see far more “genre mash-ups”, such as BLACKPINK & Selena Gomez and Chris Martin with Burna Boy.

Micro payments have been present on Twitch & Reddit for a while. They’re included in Music Trends since I’m now seeing them being pushed more on Facebook and YouTube as a way to ‘tip’ artists. However, feedback so far is that fans may think 50 or a 100 stars is a lot, but in financial terms it doesn’t amount to much. Still, it’s a start.

Perhaps most intriguing is the appearance of Non-Fungible Tokens or NFT’s. Expect to hear a lot more of these as artists follow Deadmau5’s lead in releasing digital merchandise. The business is still embryonic and the jury is out on the mainstream crossover potential, but if NFT’s get adopted within Games, then I’d expect to see an explosion in their use.

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Michael Bouteneff
Michael Bouteneff
1 month ago

Excellent breakdown, Neil. I started my career in the music industry, and have been in digital marketing throughout my career, and follow these developments closely. I can’t wait to see how all these developments continue to evolve over the next couple years, and what a new artist’s ‘playbook’ might look like today.

Last edited 1 month ago by Michael Bouteneff
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