Happy Sunlighter Sunday and 2024! While we’re still the same Sunlighter, we expect to BUILD this year, with many updates to come. To kick things off this year, we’re making some bold predictions on 2024 trends, but before we get started, we want to offer our condolences to The Chicks, who recently lost Laura Lynch in a car crash over the holidays.
Rating Rationale: Remember that sample of Frank Sinatra’s “Can’t Take My Eyes off You” during peak lockdown in 2020? As the music industry battles the tug of war between “career” vs. “moment” artists, Powell Aguirre, known as Surf Mesa, illustrates his staying power as he intricately builds upon that mega-viral music release through his most recent EP, Come True. A high UV index rating to kick off 2024 for one of our favorite TikTok artists circa 2020.
Here are the trends we’re closely tracking this year:
🎤 Rising Artists with Staying Power, Smaller Artists with Leverage: After seeing what Beyoncé and Taylor Swift were able to accomplish in 2023, how could the industry not wonder who can reach that level of superstardom next–or, if anyone can? We’re living in the attention economy, and as a result, there’s a fleeting nature of fan behavior and artist success in today’s fragmented music market. Mark Mulligan, founder of MIDiA Research, emphasizes how smaller artists today are more empowered than ever to be successful, especially given the music creator economy’s shift into the consumer era; audiences are starting to have a more direct impact on artist’s success, and we believe this will continue to have an impact on fan engagement, revenue streams, and the evolving relationship between fans and artists.
📈 TikTok Music will Continue to Make Inroads into Global Music Streaming: Since 2020, we’ve gone from musicians seeing songs go viral on TikTok to TikTok influencers becoming musicians. Given the number of new product features and the success of its “In The Mix” live streaming event, it’s clear the rising streaming competitor is revving its engines for an eventual expansion to the U.S. market. We predict that it may not happen as fast as everyone thinks. There will likely be delays, primarily as antitrust becomes a larger issue.
🌎🤠 Latin, Country, and Folk Music Continue Thriving: Spotify reported the number of Latin music listeners on Spotify experienced a remarkable surge, increasing by 986% from 2014 to 2023. This significant growth underscores the global popularity and expanding audience for Latin music on the streaming platform over the past decade – we think this trend will continue, albeit more slowly. A trend we’re more interested in is the successful rise of specific Latin subgenres à la Peso Pluma and Grupo Frontera. At the same time, Billboard shared what it called a “banner year” for country music. Lainey Wilson became the first female CMA Entertainer of the Year since Taylor Swift in 2011. Morgan Wallen played a pivotal role in the genre’s consumption, with a notable 20.3% year-over-year growth in the first 26 weeks of 2023, a substantial improvement from the 2.5% growth observed during the same period in 2022. We think the success of indie-folk/country will continue to thrive here too, particularly with artists like Zach Bryan and Noah Kahan paving the way.
🔀 Vinyl Sees Slower Growth & Curated Playlists Sees Disruption: Music huggers and music lovers alike, rejoice! Vinyl continues on an upward trajectory as it stays resilient in the digital age. At some point, vinyl consumption will slow, right? Meanwhile, Hypebot shares the significance of independent Spotify playlist curators in breaking new artists and providing exposure, showcasing their role as influential tastemakers in the digital music landscape. It’s us, hi! 👋🏻 However, we do see AI being a major disruptor in this space (particularly with personalized playlists), so we’re eager to see if AI can truly replicate human curation.
Rage Against The Machine may not tour again
In 2019, three of the original Rage Against the Machine members (Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk) announced they would be leaving the supergroup, Prophets of Rage, to reunite with fourth member, Zack de la Rocha, to headline Coachella 2020. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their plans were cut short. Finally, in 2022, Rage Against the Machine embarked on their reunion tour but after just 18 shows, they were forced to cancel the remainder of the tour due to Zack suffering an Achilles injury. Since then, fans have been waiting for a collective official statement, but this week, Brad Wilk stated on Instagram that the band will no longer tour again.
Jennie launches Odd Atelier, upcoming pop albums, and retirements from music
In a surprising development, members of the K-pop girl group BLACKPINK have shared that while the supergroup will remain signed to YG Entertainment, each of its members has reportedly declined solo contracts offered by the South Korean entertainment company that brought the group together. Meanwhile, BLACKPINK’s Jennie is launching her record label, Odd Atelier, suggesting a desire for greater autonomy and creative control in her solo endeavors within the music industry.
In 2024, we look forward to a resurgence of major pop albums and the continued growth of K-Pop. Ariana Grande and Katy Perry are both expected to release albums this year and earlier this week, K-pop groups TWICE and Stray Kids both indicated new albums are on the way in 2024.
And finally, some retirement news… This week Britney Spears made her intentions clear of never returning to the music industry. Selena Gomez will be leaning more into her acting career after her next album, and probably most surprising, Iggy Azalea is shelving her fifth studio album to pursue creative design.
Playboi Carti’s Music is around the corner
Wasting no time, Playboi Carti released his first single of 2024, “Backr00ms,” in collaboration with Travis Scott exclusively through YouTube. Playboi Carti’s long-rumored third studio album, Music, is expected to drop imminently, most fans speculating this month. This upcoming release would mark his first since embracing the vampire themes of Whole Lotta Red. Stay tuned.
New Vegas residents, John summits Vail, Justice will return with fourth album
Tiësto, a mainstay resident of Vegas nightlife, will be renewing his residency in 2024, performing across LIV, Omnia, and Tao Beach nightclubs. Down the strip, Zouk Group revealed ODESZA will be returning to Vegas in the spring after a successful New Year’s Eve weekend show. Heading east, John Summit is hosting a label ski trip in Ford Park this February. Finally, Justice dropped new music in anticipation of their upcoming fourth album.
📻 Streaming Killed the Radio Star: Philly-based radio conglomerate, Audacy, has struggled to make debt payments and is expected to file for bankruptcy soon.
💰 Anghami Earnings: MENA-based streaming service, Anghami, released additional financial information that detailed rising subscriber growth but declining revenue. That’s a cause for concern.
🌐 Web3 Updates: Sound is doubling down on scaling music discovery and focusing on music curators in 2024 👋🏻
📱 The Consumer Era: Last month, MIDiA Research provided a very convincing overview of the progressive coalescence of streaming companies and creator tooling and how simplification and AI will be primary drivers for music consumerism.
🌎 UMG International: Universal Music Group, renewed its existing licensing deal with Chinese music conglomerate, Tencent Music, while also consummating the first deal of the year with Saban Music Latin, indicating their intention to continue growing Latin music market share.
💀 Death Row Pro: Snoop Dogg’s Death Row Records is launching a new music production division called Death Row Pro, which will primarily focus on licensing music created for TV and film.
The Merch Table
🦅 Vulture Merch: Although the release of his collaborative album with Ty Dolla $ign, Vultures, has been delayed to next week, Ye has already shared new album merch, including a digital copy of the album for $5 here.
👕 Just Do It, Ahh: Megan Thee Stallion teased an upcoming Nike collection, so keep your eyes peeled.
🎓 The Grateful Grads: Stanford University is offering a new course focused on the Grateful Dead’s impact on societal culture, particularly focusing on their unique approach to live performances and their devoted fanbase.
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