What is the next big thing in music?

The most discussed topic in music during the last couple of years have been what their income source will be in the future. The digitalization of music has taken away the musicians regular revenue streams. I think we can find their solutions within the same force that took their income.

I think a new major income stream for artists will be sponsoring. To finance the production of a track and video a company will go in and pay the production cost in exchange of being co-producer. Brands and artists will look for a partner with similar values. The artist will release the album with the brand who pays for it. The artist gets to produce their music and get it out there and the brand gets good content to share online. Video get a lot of attention when shared online.

Why I see the opportunity in the combo music and video is because I see how the use of YouTube is maturing. I more often find the music I like on YouTube than on Spotify, I have seen street restaurants play music from YouTube playlists and the social functions of YouTube are just getting better, keeping people on the platform by helping them talk to each other on YouTube. Yes this is happening since a long time but I feel that we are more ready now to see it really kick off! How people are now sharing their experiences and answering others shows that we are now more used to this way of communicating.

A great opportunity I see in commercials on YouTube is to create content that manage to catch the attention of the user during the first 20 seconds the commercial is showing before your video clip starts and make them watch the whole video. I think teaming up with artists here as well is a great way for brands to manage to connect with their audience. If you instead of a commercial get to see a really great video with an artist you really like, why would you then skip to see your video? If YouTube can track what videos we want to watch we can show people the advertising they want to watch as well.

An example of a music production that works this way is the group Hifana from Japan. They are released on the ad agency Wieden+Kennedy. A cool group records a real great song with awesome production. They get a real huge budget to make an awesome video. In the end you get to see that the video was sponsored by a brand. The viewer has to wait the whole video to see the sponsor! If they are prepared to watch that long they will most likely watch the brand because the brand is not forced on them. Most people would never watch a whole commercial of 10 seconds. A music video is at least 3 minutes.

This raises questions about brands gaining more control over our minds. If we like these videos so much so that we are prepared to watch a companies message for three whole minutes, how will they be able to manipulate us? This sounds like the type of objections that arose when advertising was new. And we are still fighting the same problems. Read an interesting article on advertising ethics here! —> http://www.wwf.org.uk/wwf_articles.cfm?unewsid=5374

Another objection to this business model might be that musicians would have to sell their souls to present something that they don’t stand for or start working for evil multinational companies. But with the pressure on companies to be more transparent that we have seen thanks to social media in the last couple of years I don’t think we have to worry about that. It is still quite far in the future but it will be harder and harder for companies to keep doing bad things in the shades. This is also why it will be harder for companies and politicians to get away with cheap propaganda.

But then we come down to an even deeper problem. Every message we hear could be propaganda. And everyone has different perception on what’s right and wrong. And who decides what side is right?

The fact that artists are opening up for new revenue streams by letting brands sponsor their music and videos still raises the same types of questions that advertising did in it’s beginning, and I still believe that the development is nothing we can stop. We can only try to adapt to it.