What to expect in 2022: 6 predictions from Tony van Veen, CEO of Disc Makers
We begin a series of expert and insider music industry predictions for 2022 with music business veteran with the CEO of Disc Makers Tony van Veen.
By Tony van Veen, the CEO of Disc Makers
1. Pandemic fatigue leads to a full recovery of the concert industry
2022 puts us into year 3 of the pandemic, and with new variants continuing to emerge (and get weaker, like Omicron) and booster shots offering strong protection, the concert industry will accelerate the comeback started in 2021. Even music fans previously hesitant to return to concerts will be eager to return to live concerts as they tire of sitting at home on Saturday evenings.
2. Bandcamp introduces NFT sales on its site
2021 saw the hype about NFTs reach a frenzy, but NFTs are still unintelligible to the average independent artist and music fan – in part because of all the confusing marketplaces, pricing policies, and reseller options. Bandcamp sees (and seizes) the opportunity to bring NFTs into the music mainstream by simplifying D2F commerce – merely by adding the NFT format to its ecommerce store.
3. Artist-centric streaming royalty payments make noise, but industry royalty structures don’t change
Marginal streaming platforms like Tidal and Soundcloud made some waves in 2021 with their artist-centric royalties in hopes of gaining a bit more traction in the marketplace. However, actual benefits to artists have proven minimal, and the mainstream players like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and others continue to face no real pushback on royalty rates (besides the constant chorus of “royalties are too low”). As such the industry has no incentive to change royalty payout structures that continue to unfairly favor the top 1% of artists.
4. Streaming subscription prices increase 20%
With prices and costs going up everywhere, the major streaming platforms take a deep breath and make use of the opportunity to raise prices in mature markets in the US and Europe by 20%. And lo and behold, customers do not defect in droves, thanks to the stickiness of their existing artist, song, and playlist collections on their favorite streaming platform. The DSPs will spin this (rightfully) as a way to increase royalty payments to rightsholders.
5. Frustrated with vinyl, the industry turns to the CD as the next physical media format.
Frustration with the vinyl supply chain finally exceeds the love of the format, due to vinyl prices rising by double digits and many record pressing turn times exceeding 6 months. The search for a viable alternate physical media format that allows artists to drive fandom monetization turns to the Compact Disc, which in 2022 turns 40 years old and is well-poised to be the next comeback vintage music format.
6. Artist backlash flares up against the MLC
The MLC was formed to improve accuracy and transparency of royalty reporting and to eliminate the royalty black boxes that have historically existed in the music industry. In reality the MLC has become a high-overhead cost operation that lacks transparency and has quickly built up a large pool of royalties they have been unable to distribute. As this becomes more evident (and a bigger MLC black box) in 2022 the MLC shall be put on the defensive by a growing group of vocal artists and composers.