51 Predictions for the 2014 Music Industry

Matt-voynoBy Matt Voyno of The New Rockstar Philosophy.

Last year was a big year for the music industry. With streaming music controversies, huge album releases, and the release of the most important music industry book ever written, The New Rockstar Philosophy (co-authored by me), all making big waves in the music industry.

But that was last year, what about 2014? What are going to be the big events, technologies, trends that are going to shape this year?

Luckily for you I have consulted my crystal ball and have come away with 50 ideas that will be important for 2014. Big thank you to Chris De Jong for helping me. Check out his amazing monthly mixtape here.

Note! Obviously some of these are tongue and cheek so keep your flaming to a minimum, but I would like to hear what OTHER trends you think will be popular in 2014. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

51 Predictions for the 2014 Music Industry in no particular order:

  1. Female fronted electronic artists like Grimes, Purity Ring, Chvrches will be bigger then ever.
  2. Lyrics will matter more than ever.
  3. Cover albums and cover singles will be back and an effective way to spread your sound.
  4. More supergroups, in indie and the majors.
  5. Reignwolf takes over the world.
  6. But rock is still dead.
  7. Minimalism, as a style and guiding musical principle "is in" for the mainstream and will only get bigger, ie Lorde, XX, Pharrell.
  8. Kanye releases his next album, it's his best and biggest ever. Dies on tour in a freak stage accident.
  9. Return of the female R&B group.
  10. Internet rapstars (Riff Raff, Lil'B, etc) become a genre unto themselves. Like entertaining benevolent zombies.
  11. New Rockstar Philosophy book and app become NYT best sellers.
  12. Multi world product tie-ins become the norm with musicians/songs/albums involved in movies, tv shows, video games.
  13. Twerking peaks. Diplo brings in something more intense.
  14. Twitter continues to rise while Facebook jumps the shark continuing to make you pay more for less.
  15. More and more artists partner with interactive artists (the people you see on Creators Project) to bring their artistic visions for their music to life.
  16. People will be hip to the "Launching a social network/cell phone/water bottle to sell an album shtick" like Justin Timberlake/MySpace, and Jay-z/Samsung deal.
  17. People will still be fooled into buying tix for aging rock stars.
  18. Crazy, over-the-top box sets and deluxe versions of albums will become a bigger things for artists. Super profitable even for indies with dedicated fan bases. Case in point – Alexisonfire.
  19. Independent artists hook up with app makers to spread their music in a bigger way.
  20. Albums become less relevant.
  21. Albums become more relevant.
  22. Artist continue to complain about streaming.
  23. The artists that stay in our consciousness are CONCEPT artists that create worlds around them.
  24. Music blogging comes back but in a different way.
  25. Podcasting continues to kill it.
  26. YouTube continues to be the only place worth your time.
  27. Streaming servicres continue to make inroads among young people under 24.
  28. Artists will still be fooled by the major label dream.
  29. Young bands will still go to SXSW and waste their time and money.
  30. Artists finally tuning into how important/profitable unique merch is. Things like the Wavves weed grinder that are unique and speak to the artists audience.
  31. World stars become more and more prevalent in North America.
  32. There will be a new "Thing" that is supposed to save the music industry.
  33. More and more musicians will be created via the low bar of entry with music creation apps.
  34. Bands will continue to send unsolicited email to record labels, managers and festivals thinking they'll have a magic moment but that rarely, if ever, exists.
  35. Save a tree, email it!
  36. Tribute bands, not cover bands, will become a thing again. Especially as we approach the 2 decade mark for many classic 90s albums. I could see the return or Come As You Are a Nirvana tribute, or Bullet With Butterfly Wings a Smashing Pumpkins version, or Zooropa.. you get the picture.
  37. Music for Yoga Classes becomes the biggest growing genre since internet rapstars.
  38. The live show will still be the true test.
  39. Female rappers own the year.
  40. An oldster will release an album and people will go ape shit over it.
  41. Lyric videos will increase in importance over conventional videos.
  42. Even though fans hate it, the increasingly use of the 'album cover reveal' as part of the release build up.
  43. Artists increasingly move in the direction of creating dedicated apps for albums and releases (esp on majors) – look at what Passion Pit did. This is only going to continue as it gets easier to build apps.
  44. The success of Beyonce's surprise album (and the press and sales) make 2014 the year of zero-press surprise album launches by major artists. I'd be willing to bet money Kanye goes this route, especially after how few units Yeezus moved but how successful his tour was.
  45. The whole 'trap-rave' movement reaches saturation and people start waxing nostalgic for the rave scene of the late 90's / early 2000's as it gets ever more annoying.
  46. Soundcloud buys Bandcamp. Think about it.
  47. YouTube does a major redesign of their player to focus on mobile, people hate it at first, but come to accept it.
  48. More artists start bundling concert tickets with CDs to drive sales and fill seats but with mixed results.
  49. More artists start to leak their own albums on the down-lo as conventional major labels get more and more sluggish. They see the press & exposure as nothing else.
  50. Two things: music cruises & exotic concerts.
  51. More and more young artists that only have two channels: Instagram & Tumblr


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