Happy Sunlighter Sunday! We want to start by saying, Chandler Bing was one of TV’s most beloved friends, and he was taken far too soon. RIP Matthew Perry 🦇
Here at Sunlighter, we often talk about music trends. From conversations with those in the music industry to investigating general consumer trends, here’s a run-down on music trends we expect going into next year:
The continued rise of alt-country, folk, and women country artists
British pop and general R&B renaissance
Experimentation of local genre blends will be pushed to the global stage
Influences from multi-talented, heterogeneous artist disciplines
Secular move from hip-hop headliners to hip-hop subgenre leaders
Rating Rationale: We believe Mariah stands confidently at the forefront of the R&B renaissance happening in the music industry. Mariah the Scientist would have actually been a scientist–specifically, an anesthesiologist–had it not been for her love of music and songwriting. Inspired by the likes of OutKast and Frank Ocean, her lyrics particularly stand out on the first track, “Heaven Is A Place On Earth.” The under-30-minute album cohesively blends the richness of her vocal performance (reminiscent of SZA) and all-encompassing production, bringing a more modern take to the traditional Y2K hip-hop sound.
Rihanna is rumored to return to music in 2024, Megan Thee Stallion returns, Jeezy leaves Def Jam
After playing the Super Bowl halftime show earlier this year and giving birth to her second child in August, Rihanna is now rumored to make a full music comeback in 2024. She’s expected to release her ninth studio album, R9, and headline a world tour. Some speculators suggest that she may even be one of the two female artists headlining next year’s Glastonbury Festival.
After separating from her former label a few weeks ago, Megan Thee Stallion released her first single of 2023 as a fully independent artist, funding all of the production and promotional work from her own pocket.
Separately, Jeezy (prev. Young Jeezy), known for his hip-hop hits, “Put On” and “Soul Survivor,” announced his departure from Def Jam after ~20 years to focus on releasing music under his own label, CTE (Corporate Thugz Entertainment) New World. Along with his announcement, he unveiled a new double album, I Might Forgive…But I Don’t Forget.
Dua Lipa buys back her publishing catalog and prepares for her new era
Dua Lipa will officially embark on a new psychedelic era next week with the release of her upcoming single, “Houdini,” but this week, she raised some eyebrows after proactively buying back the rights to her publishing catalog from TaP Music.
This is a big deal, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that artists want to own the rights to their own recordings. However, that’s much easier said than done. JAY-Z mentioned that reacquiring his master recordings was “the fight of his life,” and after Taylor Swift’s resounding success in circumventing Big Machine Records’ ownership by re-recording her music as “Taylor’s Version” (legally allowed because she owned the rights to her publishing catalog), it seems that major labels are now implementing new restrictions to prevent artists from re-recording their music.
Primer: This singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas began posting his acoustic clips on TikTok in June 2023, and now, he’s quickly become one of the hottest up-and-coming artists in country music. Last week, he released his first-ever EP, No Better Time, which showcases six self-written, self-produced, and soulful songs.
Influences: We hear hints of Noah Kahan and Zach Bryan, so if you’re a fan of either, you’ll like Dylan.
Current Label: Independent
Audience: 4.1 million monthly listeners on Spotify, 328K followers on TikTok
What’s Next: As we mentioned in our intro, we believe in the continued rise of alt-country, so we expect Dylan to thrive. Earlier this fall, he supported both Wyatt Flores and Brent Cobb on tour. Given his momentum, we expect him to headline a few tour stops spotlighting his latest EP soon.
📦 TikTok Gets Distribution: This week, TikTok Music partnered with DistroKid to allow independent artists to promote their music directly on Capcut, their popular video editing app. Additionally, as part of their recently unveiled “In the Mix” music event, TikTok has partnered with Tickets.com to serve as their ticketing infrastructure for live events.
🔢 Royalty Calculator: Legal consulting firm, Manatt, released a royalty calculator to better predict streaming revenue for music artists and rights holders. One of the biggest takeaways seems to be the discrepancy in payout between Apple Music and Spotify; Apple Music pays almost double for the same amount of streams on Spotify.
🧑🎨 For Artists: Music distribution and artist services company, UnitedMasters, has launched “Blueprint,” a new feature that will provide independent artists with personalized guidance and insight into their career progression. Tidal has also announced an artist-focused feature called “Collabs,” which allows musicians to more easily find potential collaborators.
🌐 Web3 Updates: Audius has partnered with DistroKid and Beatport to expand music distribution capabilities on their platform. Additionally, they launched their music marketplace beta, which allows fans to directly pay for their favorite artists. Spotify’s beef with Boomy on artificial streams earlier this year led to Boomy securing a partnership with blockchain platform Beatdapp. The partnership is set to help find missing royalties and identify streaming fraud.
🍮 The Pudding: An interesting name for a digital publication that creates visual essays with data, The Pudding recently published a chart about changes in music genres from 2016 to 2023. The data is downright fascinating and supports some of our music trend hypotheses.
🤑 Earnings Flow: This week, Live Nation revealed that they have already exceeded 2022 total ticket sales by more than 19 million tickets, a 17% YoY increase that contributed to its $8.2 billion quarterly revenue. HYBE also reported its earnings this week, unveiling 20.7% YoY revenue growth fueled by BTS’ individual solo acts. What’s most amazing about HYBE is that before debuting BTS in 2015, they were on the brink of bankruptcy with ~$7.4 million in debt. Finally, Pandora continues to lose subscribers, doubling their loss YoY, and its parent company SiriusXM continues to show plateauing growth in satellite radio.
⏰ Just-In-Time: Last month, music data consultancy firm, MIDiA Research, released an interesting article about how artists are impacted by changing consumer interests. As the economy has adjusted towards just-in-time consumerism, fans now expect continuous engagement from artists.
💰 Securing the Bag: In a joint venture with Kobalt Music Group, Morgan Stanley’s Tactical Value investment team is planning to invest more than $700 million to acquire music copyrights.
Rock & roll is here to stay… for now
📈 Now in their 30th year, Blink-182, once again, debuts at number one. This means that the band now has at least one number-one album in each of the first three decades, with Take Off Your Pants and Jacket debuting in the top spot in 2002 and California claiming the top album in 2016.
Glastonbury ticket sale delay, Giggs & Diddy at the O2 next week
🚶 Show Announcements: If you’re looking to purchase Glastonbury tickets for next year, you’ll have to wait two more weeks. Giggs & Diddy are teaming up for a one-night-only show at the O2 next Tuesday. Finally, Billy Joel is expected to play his final show (#150) at Madison Square Garden on July 25th, 2024.
📅 Stay tuned, we’ll be dropping our full release calendar in the coming weeks.
⏩ Here are album releases to look out for this week:
Chris Stapleton, Higher
The Kid LAROI, The First Time
PinkPantheress, Heaven Knows
Chris Brown, 11:11
Rick Ross & Meek Mill, Too Good To Be True
AJR, The Maybe Man
Stray Kids, ROCK-STAR
Red Velvet, What A Chill Kill
Lola Brooke, Dennis Daughter
BJ the Chicago Kid, Gravy
The Merch Table
🏈 OVO Letterman: To commemorate his eighth studio album, For All The Dogs, Drake released a new iconic varsity jacket. Bet you wish you had this in high school.
🎀 C’mon Barbie, Let’s Go Party: Vinyl Me, Please, an online vinyl record company, announced exclusive vinyl releases of the Barbie soundtrack, perfectly packaged in a handbag. There may not be “Kenough” for everyone, so check it out.
💊 Spotify Merch Capsules: Last week, we reported on Spotify’s new Merch Hub. This week, they shared plans to highlight a weekly artist merch drop with limited-edition items. First up, Peso Pluma.
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