The music and entertainment industries have experienced colossal change since 2020. Credited to the Covid-19 pandemic, TikTok’s explosive popularity, and the impassioned call for diverse artists to be better recognised, the industries have evolved at a rapid pace – and they are showing no signs of slowing down.
In this guest article, discover the global events that have shaped music and entertainment the most, and how the industries will continue to evolve.
Virtual Music Events
The Covid-19 pandemic and nationwide lockdowns proved detrimental to the music and entertainment industries. A BBC article revealed that one in three people from the music industry lost their job due to the pandemic, reflecting the financial and emotional burden of Covid-19.
To combat the devastating impact of the pandemic, many musicians and entertainers adapted their performances to suit virtual events. From investing in new recording equipment to adjusting the size of their act to suit a computer screen, countless artists innovated to continue performing.
For event planners, virtual events meant they could reach their audience via livestreams. This adaptation has permanently defined the music and entertainment industries, as many festival and event planners continue to livestream events post-lockdown.
One reason for this could be the inclusivity and accessibility of virtual music events. From the comfort of their own homes, audiences can tune in and enjoy their favourite artists without battling the crowds or paying out for accommodation and transport. Additionally, virtual events have provided another revenue stream for event organisers and artists, on top of ticket sales.
Diversity in Music & Entertainment
Over the last couple of years, diversity, equality and inclusion have become hot topics of conversation within the music and entertainment industries – and for good reason. In the wider events industry, agencies like The Diversity and Inclusion Speakers Agency have specialised in hiring experts on equality, in response to the global call for inclusivity in business.
In 2020, The GRAMMY Awards changed the name of their category ‘Best World Music Album’ to ‘Best Global Music Album’, replacing the problematic term “world music” with the more inclusive, “global music”. The GRAMMY’s responded to the 2020 protests for equality by replacing a term that has long been associated with colonialism.
Fast forward two years, the music industry made another step towards inclusivity. The Brit Awards announced that its 2022 ceremony would feature a new award, ‘Artist of the Year’, to replace ‘British Male Solo Artist’ and ‘British Female Solo Artist’. Since artists like Sam Smith have come out as non-binary, the gender-neutral awards ceremony has embraced musicians of all identities by removing binary terms like “male” and “female”.
Social Media Stardom
When TikTok was released, it filled the void that Vine left behind. The social media site has since exploded in popularity – because what else can you do during a nationwide lockdown than scroll through TikTok’s ‘for you page’?
TikTok has also transformed the music industry. The platform has become the go-to for music lovers, and a fantastic opportunity for budding artists to go viral. Previously, musicians had to compete for radio space, but now, the internet is truly their oyster. With a single viral soundbite, unknown musicians can become global stars, thanks to the millions of users who use their music in their TikTok content.
Moreover, music managers have manipulated the system to generate interest in their clients’ releases. Gayle, the mastermind behind the chart-topping track ‘abcdefu’, teased the song on TikTok after a user asked, “can you write a breakup song using the alphabet”. The commenter was later revealed to be a Manager of Digital Marketing at Atlantic Records, Gayle’s record label, and the request was likely pre-planned.
Independent music artists and record labels alike use TikTok to directly target their audience. TikTok has become the authority on popular songs, overtaking the Top 40 Charts which has historically used downloads to identify top-selling artists. Ultimately, the music industry has evolved to favour ‘indie’ artists, and audiences now enjoy creating content to the soundtrack of their favourite musicians.
The staggering success of social media star Sam Ryder at the 2022 Eurovision Song Content is proof enough that when it comes to the music industry, likes, follows and shares are invaluable. Future music artists will need to compete for engagement if they wish to follow in his footsteps and perform on the world stage.
The music and entertainment industries have experienced significant changes over the last couple of years. Between the Covid-19 pandemic, protests for equality and the recent popularity of TikTok, the industries value inclusivity and accessibility above all else.
Having worked in the music and entertainment industries for three years, I have witnessed these changes first-hand. I look forward to seeing how the industries will continue to evolve in the future, in a bid to stay on the right side of history.