A Glimpse in the Future

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Since the end of the year 2015 is already around the corner, it’s time to look out for what 2016 will bring us. Based on several trends in digital classical music industry which surfaced in the last couple of years, here are some of the most important ones which will become even stronger:

1. Downloading and streaming will only continue to rise

Nowadays music collections in the form of bits and bytes are the norm, something that would have been unheard of at the turn of the Millenium. 2015 has seen the ultimate rise of streaming service subscriptions among music consumers. This is driven by the young consumers (the Millennials) who have little or no experience of owning a ‘hard copy’ of music. This also suits a social trend of ‘no ownership’ which has been growing even stronger in the last few years. It is estimated that around 41 million people worldwide pay for a music subscription in 2015, compare to eight million in 2010.

2. Content marketing will still be the king

It’s been a while since the expression ‘a good product will sell itself’ has been applicable in a lot of cases. In the near future, content marketing will become even more important as the younger generation always goes online before deciding on anything (!) at all. People are so used to having information at hand in a fast and convenient way that getting, for instance, a piece of clothing doesn’t only involve the size, fabric and model, but they would like to know where it was produced, in which condition, and so on. When buying, (or renting or sharing, for that matter) Millennials rely on credible testimonials, especially those shareable on social media. They want fresh, natural and on-the-spot videos (think Vine) from ‘credible sources’, be it musicians, conductors or anybody directly involved in the scene.

3. Even fewer younger audience members at concerts

Music fans today want their music on demand. Since they basically can get music anytime and practically in any quality they want these days, their satisfaction from listening to digitized music will exceed their satisfaction from listening to live music. Everything can be attained in the comfort of their very own rooms in their very own sweatpants. Not to mention that young music fans of today are less committed to a single musical style. This is not a happy tune for the classical music industry since the attendance of youngsters at concerts already has much to be desired.

4. Emerging entrepreneurial initiatives in classical music

In the past 50 years, some things haven’t changed much in classical music. Star orchestras still attract money from funders, star soloists still hurriedly snatched by artist management companies and offered to those same orchestras. But what about the rest? The young classical musicians of today have experienced funding for arts drop quickly. And they belong to the generation who emerged professionally during the time of technological change in the field. It is not surprising then that this combination of factors ‘force’ them to become more entrepreneurial. I personally think that the energy that comes from interdisciplinary arts (it becomes more common as definitional lines around the art forms blur), also helps shape up the initiatives.

It really depends on how you see it. On one hand you can say that there won’t be many changes in 2016, but on the other hand, since we are talking primarily about the classical music industry, we can say that it is changing rapidly in order to be able to stay relevant to its audience.

As published at www.primephonic.com 

29 November 2015.

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