Music industry trends: what to expect in 2022

First and foremost, the biggest trend: data is key. Who could’ve predicted that analytics would become an integral component of such a creative industry worth more than 23 billion dollars? From major labels to indie artists, from managers to radio promoters, over 94% of music professionals use insights on a weekly basis. May it be to plan events, sign artists, draft marketing plans, or secure investments, everyone turns to data. So much so that in recent years we've observed two major trends to access data: either companies develop in-house tools with data scientists and data analysts, or they rely on user-friendly third-party data platforms. But what will happen next? What can we expect for data in the music industry in 2022? 


Data is like Lego, but in a digital form

Although this might come as an obvious statement, the latest technological advancements have created limitless resources for music industry players around the world. It’s no longer required to have a technical or analytical background to access insightful data. From free APIs to affordable online services, there are many ways to get ahold of data. For instance, our own platform: WARM is a user-friendly platform that offers real-time radio airplay data from 167 countries at one of the most competitive pricing levels on the market.

And, as history has proven it countless times, a strategy based on efficient usage of data helps any artist, manager and record label thrive, even during difficult times. The key is to see data as Lego bricks rather than a frightening Excel sheet of numbers and graphs; it’s up to us to select the right pieces, put them together, and turn them into actionable insights. The data is out there, it’s our own choice to make the most of it!

Build your way into any market using data

For many years now the industry has focused on leading markets such as the US, UK, and Germany, but the tide is changing. Globalization has magnified the reach of regional and local music genres across the world - the rise in popularity of Korean and African pop is just the tip of the iceberg!

Discovering new music genres is one thing, but understanding the markets they originate from is a whole other matter. Indeed, although music is said to be the universal language, each market has unique dynamics linked to cultural, economic, and geographical factors. It’s fundamental to first research and understand these dynamics before implementing any kind of strategy

Let’s take a look at Africa for example. Traditional radio is still one of the most popular channels to listen to and discover new music, hence, getting support from local radios is a necessary step for any artist in this region. With this in mind, monitoring an artist's airplay results in powerful data for managers for instance, when closing deals with brands, distributors, as well as booking venues. Additionally, radio airplay data can make life easier for record labels to identify emerging artists and sign the next WizKid or Burna Boy.

Luckily for all, data is an undeniable source of power! When looking into a new region of the world, gather your data (your pile of Lego bricks), organize it (select the most relevant bricks for the market), and use it efficiently (build a solid structure with your bricks). Going back to the African example, if you are a label in the search of emerging artists, monitoring the airplay of those who made you curious about their music will give you a clear idea of their potential, thus, your label will sign promising artists who will make your business profitable.

Unwrap new opportunities to gather new data

2021 was a challenging year for live music, hitting hard musicians, venues and live entertainment companies alike. Going digital was a necessity for revenue, but turned out to be much more than expected... Even the live and recording sectors - previously long-time rivals - realized there was more to gain from the digital world if they worked together. Why? The amount of data digital endeavors can generate!


Online concerts. May it be Post Malone’s virtual concert for Pokemon Anniversary, or BTS' Permission to Dance on Stage live stream concert, each event was an opportunity to gather data, find new patterns in the consumers' behavior, and even locate where to plan upcoming gigs and tours.

Partnerships. This new trend of data-gathering doesn't only apply to online concerts, some players of the entertainment industry have taken it a step further by organizing concerts within digital worlds. For instance, with metaverse concerts. Their success was absolute so the gaming giant Epic Games has partnered with major labels to replicate the formula multiple times within their video game Fortnite. Artists such as Marshmello, Travis Scott, and Ariana Grande have successfully starred in this new type of concerts. In the case of Ariana Grande, her performance was an opportunity to reach an untapped market. Her primary audience is teenage girls, so partnering with Fortnite opened her the doors to the game's user base: primarily boys under 18 years old.

A new venture: Music x Tech industries. While the gaming industry is another successful example of cross-industry partnerships for the music industry, many more are on the rise, especially in the tech industry. The recent craze around NFTs, for instance, unveiled some exciting potential for companies and artists to timely intercept new trends, as well as sell music.

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The relevancy of data is only getting stronger and just like in many other industries, the music industry is seeing its need too. Growing a business requires efficient decisions, and data is the key element to get us there. The potential exists, we just have to turn the potential into real opportunities. You'll be surprised at how much "Lego bricks" can help you grow your business and develop your artists' careers!

MONITOR YOUR ARTISTs' Radio Airplay