Select Page

Journey back 10 years to the year 2014. Music streaming was just becoming more popular, disrupting how people produced and consumed music. In the past decade, the music business has experienced a significant evolution. In today’s blog, let’s consider some of the more significant changes from the past that will inform how we produce and consume music in the future.

The Rise of Streaming

The early 2000s gave birth to streaming and today it still dominates the marketplace, as overall purchases of physical music have sharply declined. Still in recent years, we have seen a surge of vinyl record sales as a hobby and there still may be a market for rare albums and collectibles. For today’s musicians, streaming music sites are the way of the future.

The good news is there are still big opportunities to be had here. Platforms such as Spotify and others offer affiliate programs. This means musicians can generate revenue by directing business from one site to another. When a purchase is made, the musician can receive a commission. Of course, this is simply one example. There are many opportunities for today’s musicians in the world of streaming.

The Rise of Online Purchases

The world wide web was born several decades ago, as was the rise of online shopping. The trend to purchase online has been one many people have been engulfed in for years. It certainly isn’t anything new. Still, this trend continues to evolve. A decade ago, the local music store or business would often be the first stop. Now, people will often search online first. Today’s music business often needs to have a presence in both physical and online locations. Certainly, it could vary based on the business model, but having both options can be appealing to many consumers.

Another component here is considering that many consumers may also do more research before a purchase, looking at online reviews, blogs, and other social media. This can be a challenge and an opportunity for today’s musicians. Consider reposing content from other sources or generate your own original articles, reviews, and product assessments. This content can help drive attention and brand recognition, ultimately leading to more potential business.

The Rise of Virtual Events

2020 spurred on a trend that was only just beginning: virtual events. The pandemic helped identify the opportunity that exists in the virtual world of music by showcasing how a shift to online engagement. Certainly, there is no substitute for true, live music events—and we have certainly seen many in-person events come back in a big way in the past 12-24 months. Still, there is a new, often untapped opportunity that exists in this virtual world that could soon be provoked even further by the rise of the metaverse, AR (augmented reality), and VR (virtual reality).

Have you considered how you will combine virtual and in-person opportunities in the future? There is a big opportunity to record events and post them online so they can be reviewed and enjoyed by a larger audience, ultimately expanding your reach. Here’s another idea: record solo performances or jam sessions with customers. The virtual world has certainly opened up big opportunities in the world of lessons. If your store offers music lessons, consider offering them online. With this model, instructors will be able to influence a wider audience. That’s a win-win for the customer and the business.

Take a Music Stand

Another big trend in the past 10 years has been the rise of personal convictions and businesses taking a stand. This can be a tricky road to travel. Some customers like to do business with companies that share their beliefs or support worthy causes. Be careful though and tread lightly here. Political statements—especially in an election year—can often backfire. Make sure to choose causes and charities that you truly support and align with your brand. Also, be sincere! If you are only doing it for the brand, customers can often see right through that.

Here are a few ideas that might be something you support: literacy in the inner cities or music scholarships for students. If you choose to support cancer research, you can get creative and host a music-a-thon or donate a certain percentage of sales proceeds to the cause. This benefits your business and the local community or the world.

Music has been a moving target for the past decade—and it will likely continue to change in the next decade. Continue to keep up with the current trends in order to build a stronger music business in the future.