2023 Music Trends: Ten Expert Music Industry Predictions

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2023 Music Trends: Ten Expert Music Industry Predictions

2023 music trends
Words by Christie Eliezer

Where is the music industry heading in 2023?

Changing consumer behaviour, a slowing economy, inflation hitting leisure spending, and less loyalty to brands and subscription accounts are just some of the 2023 music trends we can expect.

These are some factors at play as we swing into 2023 that makes it harder to forecast what to expect in the next 12 months. Let’s try anyway for the top expert 2023 music trends.

1. Global Music Industry To Grow 8%

Financial analysts Goldman Sachs expects the music industry to expand by 8 per cent this year, after a 24 per cent growth through 2022. This was after the biz generated greater revenue from streaming, emerging platforms, and physical (CD, vinyl, cassette) sales.

Goldman Sachs is confident music streaming will be resilient in any economic downturn.

It will continue to grow 12 per cent this year (a similar rate for the next seven years), driven by volume, price, and emerging platforms.

The music streaming market’s global value is forecast to reach US $89.3 billion in 2030 compared to $33 billion in 2021.

2. Will TikTok Take Over Music Discovery In Australia?

The Victorian Music Development Office / VMDO’s Music Habits study from December 2022 reported that finding new music is important to 46 per cent of Australians – and up to 70 per cent for under 35s.

Leading music discovery is YouTube (31%), followed by commercial radio (20%), music streaming services (18%), social media (17%) and TV and movie streaming (16%).

“Once discovered, 41% of Australians follow-up an artist and stream their music on YouTube, which is up from 25% in 2019,” said VMDO chief Jas Moore.

Currently Meta / Facebook leads social media with 61 per cent of all age groups for music discovery, followed by Instagram at 55 per cent, TikTok at 50 per cent, and Twitter at 18 per cent.

We can’t see TikTok catch up with Meta in 2023. Last year it had an estimated 2.85 million Australian users, to reach 3.95 million by 2026.

Facebook had between 13 million to 15 million, with 27.2 per cent of Aussies aged 16-64 regarding it as their favourite social media platform, with Facebook Messenger at second.

3. Two Issues Could Slow TikTok’s Burn

Two issues could slow TikTok’s Aussie growth. There have been security concerns grew after its China-based CEO admitted that China-based employees can access info from overseas users. But he insisted data is not shared with the Chinese government, and is subject to “robust cybersecurity controls”. Er, right.

The other issue, brought up by Billboard, is that having hooked Gen Z, will its upcoming streaming service see them pay for it? Australia, one of the first test countries, may be a problem. VMDO noted nearly one in two Aussies prefer not to pay for streaming music.

Tatiana Cirisano, music industry analyst at MIDiA Research told Billboard, “TikTok is where the actual cultural fandom is happening.

“Spotify and [other streamers] still benefit from this because people hear songs on TikTok and go stream them on those platforms.

“But if those people can just stay within the ByteDance ecosystem to do that and have their music delivered to them alongside the cultural context, I think that they will. That should really start to make Spotify and Apple Music and the other platforms a lot more nervous.”

4. First Nation Language Tracks Could Become Global Hits

After more than proving themselves in the domestic market, First Nations talents are eying the global markets in 2023.

For example, Baker Boy showcased in New York and Los Angeles, and Budjerah at the UK’s The Great Escape, and both are expected to follow up this year.

Those who sing in language have an advantage, with greater global interest in local dialects from Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East.

In 2021, over 60 per cent of YouTube’s top songs were in a non-English language, and Indians were its second largest users (9.5 per cent) after those from the US (16 per cent).

With superstars BTS, Blackpink, and Bad Bunny in particular storming streaming playlists and tour boxscores, bypassing whitebread radio, expect greater change in the landscape in 2023.

5. Greater Ad Revenue Share With Artists

YouTube Shorts will split ad revenue between music rights holders and creators from February 1.

It follows Meta’s plans to pay artists 20 per cent from the use of their songs in user-generated video content on Facebook, while the remaining 80 per cent is shared by rights holders and Meta.

Will TikTok follow suit after calls from the music industry?

In all this, execs will keep an eye on whether last year’s slide in online advertising will continue. In July to September 2022 for example, YouTube’s ad revenue fell 1.9 per cent YoY to $7.07 billion, surprising market expectations.

6. Pill Testing At Victoria’s Festivals?

Will Victoria follow the Australian Capital Territory into pill-testing at festivals? The empowered Greens are reintroducing a Bill to set up a two-year drug testing trial.

It would set up both a mobile pill testing facility for festivals and a fixed-site lab to provide a more detailed analysis, the Herald Sun revealed.

Both sites have the potential for a four-year extension following a review.

7. Australia Gets Greater Choice In Ticketing

There’ll be a major challenge to Ticketmaster and Ticketek’s dominance in Australian ticketing platforms when US-based promoter AEG Presents’ ASX opens an office here.

In the meantime, Sydney-based promoter TEG, which acquired sports and entertainment experience startup FAN+ (which offers personalised inputs from celebrities) will integrate it into its Ticketek to offer things as a backstage tour, attending sound check, a launch party, or tossing the coin at a sporting match.

8. Start of the End Of Super-Festivals

Following highly publicised incidents last year, expect councils and residents to be firmer about giving permission for increased crowd capacity.

There’ll be crack-downs on festivals on flood plains and areas with just a single access road.

9. Music Streaming Subs Prices Will Rise

Music streaming services will continue to whack up subscription prices, content in the knowledge earlier rises had no consumer backlash.

In fact, a survey by Thinkwell found nearly half of US adults aged 18-64 will spend up to $1,000 for personalised and interactive music experiences.

The most in demand of these at this time seems to be Spatial Audio. Over 80% of Apple Music subscribers listened to Spatial Audio in 2022.

Spotify’s upcoming Platinum Plan will charge about $20 per month.

Others include VIP premiums with limited content and early access to concert tickets, more ways to connect with artists and exclusive podcasts smear honey over the price rises.

Expect also moves towards more tiers, with niche music such as jazz and classical with longer tracks priced differently.

10. More Artists To Embrace Cassette Format

One of the 2023 music trends nostalgists would love to see. Granted, it’s still early days in the comeback of the cassette.

It is 0.44 per cent of total US album sales, and ARIA’s wholesale reports for Australia still lists them under the “other” category.

They’re still the domain of super fans (the way vinyl was 10 years ago) and Australian indie stores put them at five per cent of their turnover.

Expect more acts to put their releases out on cassette this year, especially on their websites or as collectibles, as the revival grows.

For acts they’re cheaper to make and distribute. For fans they’re a low priced format and many releases come with a digital download code.

In the US last year, sales of cassette albums rose by 28 per cent to 440,000. The top-selling album on cassette in 2022 was the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, with 17,000 copies sold.

It was followed by Taylor Swift’s Midnights (14,000), Soundtrack, Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (13,000), Harry Styles’ Harry’s House (11,000) and Billie Eilish’ Happier Than Ever (8,000).

Check out some of the best TASCAM Portastudio recordings here. See how these 2023 music trends compare here.