2022 State of Music: Is TikTok the New SoundCloud?

music trends, music data, Spotify analytics
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music trends, music data, Spotify analytics
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Photo Credit: Viberate

Who and what got streamed the most in 2021? And what can we expect from talent and music trends in 2022? At Viberate, we crunched the numbers to find out.

The following partner piece comes from Vasja Veber, co-founder of Viberate, and a proud partner of Digital Music News.

The music business saw its ups and downs in 2021. Live events remained a rare treat, but more music was streamed in total. At music research and analytics platform Viberate, wanting to see all the details, we dug into massive amounts of data. We looked into more than a trillion data points, thousands of artists and playlists, millions of tracks and videos, and hundreds of festivals, and examined data from key social media and music channels, including Spotify, TikTok, Instagram, Beatport and radio. These are some of the findings in the resulting “State of Music” address.

The data shows that of all the analyzed artists, only 1% rule the social media and music channels. The lion’s share of engagement and fanbase growth belongs to the top 500 artists, pushing the artists in the long tail of streaming and social media into inventing solid promotional strategies if they wish to break through.

It is also interesting to see that Hip Hop and K-Pop artists are smashing it in streaming but are snubbed on the radio. While online engagement numbers crown Hip Hop and K-Pop as two of the most popular genres, radio is all about Pop and Rock. Multilingual (non-English) tracks thrive online but seem to have trouble getting through radio gatekeepers. Trends suggest this may yet change in 2022.

Speaking of trends that will define the music business in 2022, here are some of the ones we outlined: (1) multilingual music going more mainstream, (2) personalization at the forefront, (3) TikTok acting as a career launchpad, (4) short videos gaining power and (5) further blending of genres.

viberate music trends
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viberate music trends
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Here’s a short rundown of each trend (for the full list, see the link below)

Multilingual music will go more mainstream.

South Korean sensation BTS made it onto our top 5 list on almost every channel, while YouTube saw a huge rise in the popularity of Asian Pop and Latin genres (especially Reggaeton). Unlike radio or TV, online music channels have few to no gatekeepers, thus pushing non-English music into the mainstream.

“Personalized everything” will drive artistic success.

This means that labels, artists and other professionals will benefit from fan-first approaches to their promotion, merch and distribution. Personalized experiences also go hand-in-hand with securing digital revenue such as tipping, NFTs or paid subscriptions.

TikTok will act as a career launchpad.

Not only was TikTok the most visited website in 2021, it also helped artists like Tokischa, Will Paquin and Crawlers break through and boost their streaming numbers. In a way, Spotify “seals the deal” – the artists who transform a TikTok hit into solid streams are the ones with real potential. We can therefore expect more talent discovery and promotional efforts to focus on TikTok and social media.

Short videos will rule.

Remember the “long tail of music” I mentioned? Well, easily digestible formats such as TikTok videos will be the most useful promotional format for artists to stand out and get discovered. As audiences celebrate the DIY approach, content will be more important than production value.

Genre lines will blur further.

Rising and breakthrough acts such as PinkPantheress prove genre bending and blending is more popular than ever. Artists and their audiences prefer moods to traditional genre labels, with the trend extending to popular streaming playlists for specific occasions (driving, studying, relaxing, etc.).

music trends
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See the “State of Music” address for the full list of music trends, best-performing artists and music tastes of 2021.