The future of music The rise of a counterculture industry
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20,000 foot view: Music streaming and the attention recession have turned music into a background activity. Artists en masse are struggling to cut through the noise, realising that streaming is neither a place to build deeper relationships with fans nor to generate meaningful income. Adding to this momentum, music’s key audiences are seeking out more active, participatory experiences with music. These three factors are catalysing the emergence of a new, counterculture music business that hinges on the artist-fan relationship, and the platforms that enable them. This is the platform era, and traditional stakeholders will need to reposition their value in this new landscape.
- As artists earn more, they rely less on streaming revenue, with streaming accounting for of revenue for artists earning less than annually, but only of revenue for artists earning over
- Music streaming is predominantly a passive experience, as of consumers stream music in the background of other activities, and just say they focus mainly on the music when streaming it
- Even for music aficionados, music makes up a smaller share of total entertainment time than social and video, which, together, account for more than half of entertainment time
- A combination of these factors is leading artists to invest less time in streaming, and more time on platforms that better allow them to build and monetise fanbases
- Music aficionados over-index for behaviours that serve their needs for participation, community, and ownership, leading them to platforms like TikTok and Twitch
- The youngest consumer generations seek active, social experiences with content, which cannot be found on traditional Western streaming services — so, the next generation of fandom and culture is building on non-DSP platforms
- As artists’ objectives change and consumer behaviour shifts, the music industry is entering the platform era
- Music’s traditional stakeholders must reposition their value in this new landscape where music companies, which hinge on social, creator ecosystems, and fandom are best placed to succeed
Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Ampsuite, Ariana Grande, Artiphon, ArtStation, Audiomack, Ava Max, Bandcamp, BandLab, Bang Si-Hyuk, Beatport, BeatStars, Billie Eilish, Bravado, BTS, ByteDance, Call of Duty, CapCut, Discord, Dominic Fike, Dua Lipa, Epic Games, Euphoria, Facebook, Fender, Fleetwood Mac, Fortnite, Gunna, Harmonix, HYBE, Instagram, Interscope Records, Jericho Mencke, K/DA, Kendrick Lamar, Kenny Beats, LabelRadar, Lil Nas X, Logic, Loopmasters, Marshall McLuhan, Marvel, Mawf, Mixcloud, MTV, Naver, NetEase Cloud Music, Netflix, Pentakill, Pico, Pg Lang, Plugin Boutique, Reddit, Resso, Riot Games, Roblox, Rock Band, Rough Trade, Snoop Dogg, SoundCloud, SoundOn, Splice, Spotify, Sub Pop, The Weeknd, Tate McRae, TikTok, TOMORROWXTOGETHER, Top Dawg Entertainment, Travis Scott, Twenty One Pilots, Twitch, UnitedMasters, Universal Music Group, Unreal Engine, Warner Music Group, Weverse, WMX, YouTube