5 Music Industry Predictions For 2015 | Features | MN2S

With 2015 well under way and most of the music industry back in the zone after their festive breaks, we take a look at five trends and developments we’re expecting this year.

The return of real instruments in pop

Slickly produced, infectiously written and with a brilliantly choreographed video, Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars’ ‘Uptown Funk’ has taken the world by storm for a number of reasons. What really makes it stand out amongst the deluge of cheaply produced ‘in the box’ electronic pop, though, is how it blends cutting edge production technique with classic pop composition. Nile Rodgers guitars and a rousing horn section elevate it to something with a more enduring quality that ensure it won’t sound dated in ten years like so much modern pop. See also Pharrell’s string arrangements on ‘Gust Of Wind’ and ‘Marilyn Monroe’ for evidence that those at the top of their game are bringing back the real music that made pop music so great in the first place.

The continued resurgence of vinyl

As we reported recently, vinyl sales have been steadily increasing in recent years in both the mainstream and underground spheres. We see that trend continuing across 2015, with Pioneer’s new PLX-1000 turntable ensuring that the death of Technics needn’t be an issue and a renewed fascination in vinyl amongst the young generation seeking something more tangible than the disposable MP3s they have grown up with. The oft-cited lengthy delays at pressing plants prove that in relative terms, vinyl is booming once again and looks set to continue to grow. Will new plants pop up to satisfy the excess of demand over supply? We think so.

High-definition music

Technics launch Technics Tracks high-res music download store

MP3s and low quality streams are on their way out. WAVs, FLACs, other high quality audio formats and CD-quality music streaming will become much more prevalent in 2015. While MP3s allowed the digital music revolution to exist, we no longer have the memory and bandwidth restrictions that they helped us to overcome. As the general quality of portable speakers, headphones and digital music players increases, so too will the quality of the music we’re offered. The likes of Bleep and Quboz have been offering high quality downloads for a while – as obviously have dance music retailers like Beatport and Juno Download. Now with high-def streaming services like Technics Tracks, TIDAL and Spotify Premium’s new offering in some countries, plus the emergence of Neil Young et al’s PONO player, audio quality is set to become a major focus this year.

Post-EDM

EDM as a concept feels like it has peaked. 2015 should see associated artists align themselves more closely with specific scenes and sounds, or create their own. We’ve already had the likes of Tiësto publically state that he would be moving his sound towards deep house (then bemoaning the saturation of the genre) and Steve Aoki announce he’s working on a deep house project, so expect more artists to follow suit and tread their own paths with a more clearly defined focus.

Big changes at SoundCloud

SoundCloud CEO Alexander Ljung - photo via ibtimes.com
SoundCloud CEO Alexander Ljung – photo via ibtimes.com

Before the year is up, we expect SoundCloud will have signed licensing agreements with all three major labels and the biggest independent label aggregators out there to generate revenue from the use of their catalogues. With Warner already in the bag and talks continuing with Sony and Universal, it’s surely only a matter of time before they flesh out deals like YouTube have. Ad-supported or paid-for accounts are likely to be the two options for listeners. Ultimately it’s a good thing if it means more revenue generated for artists and labels – but how it affects the user and creator experiences remains to be seen. If it means uploads don’t get blocked for copyright infringement any more, there will be a lot of happy creators out there.

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