What does 2023 have in store for the music world?

Whether you’re an artist, label, DSP, tech player, or publisher: 2023 is shaping up to be a potentially significant one, as we see major trends from last taking hold, and new ones emerge. Here’s a few trends we are tracking that could play out in 2023.

AI and music converge (or clash)

We’ve already heard many, many things about AI. We’re going to hear more this year. 

AI has become prevalent in our day-to-day lives, and the debate over reducing or enhancing human value is going to be a point of significant debate going forward. Some applications are easy — generated playlists on DSPs or in royalty collection, for example. But other issues are more controversial, such as its place in creating works.

Will Web3 breakthrough?

Love them or loathe them, Web3 technologies made a (limited) breakthrough last year, and won’t be going away any time soon. Yes, we’re talking about the Metaverse and NFTs.

A bear market has reduced the growth of NFTs in recent months. But it is very likely that if conditions improve, NFTs will be back and bigger than ever — but only if they can solve issues around usability and functionality. These aren’t easy problems to solve, but if an artist, label or rights holder is savvy enough, there are opportunities for revenue and fan engagement.

Speaking of engagement, metaverses have seen greater growth for fan engagement via virtual concerts. Now almost commonplace, we’ve seen many artists take to their avatars for performances in recent years (primarily on Roblox) — from Lil Nas X in 2020, to NCT 127 announcing the first K-Pop metaverse concert. Will it become part of artists distribution plans? Quite likely, it seems. 

One area the metaverse is unlikely to break through into is the collaboration and creation process. Music professionals are unlikely going to be strapping on the Oculus to work to create new music, or attend meetings. It will certainly be interesting to see how further use cases develop. 

TikTok dominates trends; non-contemporary music hits 

One of the major trends from last year was how the music industry is now dominated by the whims of TikTokers.

The platform’s demands on authenticity is great for new artists looking to break through, and we can see artists already breaking through in the same vein that a slightly older generation did via YouTube (special shout out to MySpace here as well). 

TikTok is also partly responsible for another major trend we’re likely to see play out again this year: that the biggest music hits of the year won’t be new music. Kate Bush, Metallica and even The Cramps benefitted through savvy syncs to see their works from yesteryear become major hits in 2022. With another year of great TV (streamed or otherwise) on the horizon, we can expect to see even more old-favourites “re-discovered” by a new generation. 

Sync is big

Speaking of synced TV hits — we are very likely to see an expanded definition of what sync licensing means this year. 

Sync is such a massive revenue-generator, that everyone in the industry is looking for greater opportunities to expand. Many have already gone beyond the traditional definition of TV, films, games, and commercials to explore both wider and more niche opportunities. From the use of music for Pelton workouts to games like Roblox (yes, the metaverse again!) — there are as many opportunities as there are forms of interactive content.

Breaking down cultural barriers

For decades, English-language artists have held complete dominance over the charts. 2022 saw that begin to change. 

Our work with Deezer for its 2022 Rewind showed that Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny was one of the top five most streamed artists that year, and scored the most album streams for Un Verano Sin Ti. Music from Korea, and LATAM is also growing in popularity. Non-English language music is set to go mainstream. 

But how can the industry help spur this forward? Being able to understand the meaning behind the songs (as opposed to poor, AI-driven translations) is key. That’s why we are proud to work with BELEM — a partnership of music industry companies and professionals seeking to break down language barriers via accurate translations, and help artists better monetise their lyrics. Check them out here.

Trends always move quickly in the music world. This year will be no different. If you are looking to get ahead of the competition and communicate how you are leading the way, or are planning a product or service launch, why not give us a call? We’d love to chat and see the ways in which we too could collaborate.

Rich Went
Rich Went
A senior account director at Gallium, Rich is a news junkie with a passion for everything music, fintech and web3 with a decade's worth of experience in PR, comms and marketing.