How has the music industry changed over the last 10 years?

The music industry is an ever-changing, ever-evolving business. Different genres of music and newer artists emerge and rise to popularity constantly. 

Pop music and hip-hop/R&B are still the leading genres in the industry however some new genres have evolved from these, such as hyper pop and mumble rap. In addition, in this digital age, international artists have become more and more accessible and have gained fame worldwide. Notable examples include Italy’s rock band Maneskin and K-pop’s BTS. BTS are so successful in fact, that they make up around 0.5% of South Korea’s GDP. 

Not only has the type of music we listen to changed but the way in which we consume music has also changed. Back in the day, it was common practice to buy CDs and listen to them on a CD player or download the tracks to an iPod. You could buy a single, an album or even a compilation of various artists on one album. The average price of a CD would have been about $10-$15. I talk about CDs in the past tense as if they don’t exist anymore, which isn’t true, although, with the rise in popularity of streaming services they have become quite obsolete. A subscription to a streaming service such as Spotify or Apple music costs about $10 per month, but for this price you can listen to pretty much anything you like. With the invention of wireless headphones and smartphones with plenty of storage, it is easier than ever to listen to your favourite music wherever you go. There are also plenty of pubs which have live music events so you can enjoy your favourite music while having a pint with friends.

Having said that, physical music sales have not vanished completely, as vinyl records seem to have made a comeback in the market. Music lovers will say that vinyl records have a better sound quality and sound more like the real deal. There is also the appeal of having and holding a physical copy of work from an artist you admire, it may even be valuable money wise if it is vintage and in good condition.

Of course, the influence of TikTok on the music industry cannot be ignored. TikTok is a social media platform where users post short videos often featuring snippets of popular music known as a “sound”. TikTok has 1 billion users, so when a “sound” goes viral it is a highly effective way to promote an artist and their music. There is a direct correlation between music that is charting and music that is trending on TikTok. The ease of reaching audiences on TikTok also helps new artists to emerge in the industry such as Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X and Doja Cat. 

These days, trends appear and die quicker than ever thanks to social media. It is interesting to think what the music industry will look like (or sound like) in 10 or even 5 years. But these changes are necessary as they are what keeps music entertaining and pushes artists to be more daring and creative.

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About the Author: Alex Martin

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