Music's Next Decade

PLUS: Brand new Spotify, Generative ai visualizers

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Welcome, artists & builders. This is the 1st edition of Where Music's Going. Each week, I'll cover new tools, context & strategies to form better connected audiences.

Inside Issue #1:

  • Music's next decade πŸ’‘

  • AI directed music videos βš’οΈ

  • Music's growth, 1999-now πŸ“Š

  • The brand new SpotifyπŸ“±

Where Music's Going

Music's last decade was all about scale.

Streaming raced to onboard as many global subscribers as possible. All at one low price for every song in the world.

And music grew.

β†’ 600 million more subscribers.
β†’ $11 billion in more revenue.

The recorded music industry appears to be 'saved', more artists than ever have a slice of the pie & the world's music catalog is at nearly everyone's fingertips.


Here's the not so good:

We consume music more passively. Songs are becoming commodified. Artists are increasingly detached from their work.


Everything the recorded music industry has done over the last 10 years has focused on the most casual, lean-back experience. Incentives take hold. The way we listen changes. The way we create changes.

Music is shorter, more frequent & made to (hopefully) catch a ride on an algorithmic train to attention.

Music's next decade is about cultivating fans.

It's about creating meaningful relationships between artists & listeners, upgrading the experience for the biggest fans & encouraging paths to fandom. It’s about building artists. Not just songs.

Our new infrastructure must incentivize artists to experiment & explore. They must be rewarded for speaking to a core audience β€” and have ways to find that audience.

It must also be attractive for fans. Or it won't matter. No easy task.

If this seems overly idealistic & high-minded, that's because it is. None of this is promised. It's not a prediction. It's an aspiration.

Let’s change the way the game is played.

β€” Rob

PS: Spotify may be listening. More below.


AI Generated Music Visualizers

Kaiber is a new AI-generated video startup that can create music videos.

They started with lyric videos with Kid Cudi. Then an anime x live action video with Linkin Park. Now, any artist can create visualizers with Kaiber.

How to create an AI visualizer:

  1. Upload an MP3

  2. Provide an initial image

  3. Give text-based prompts (mood & style)

  4. VoilΓ  (or repeat)

Why we like it: Every song today benefits from strong visual components across social, Youtube, and now Spotify Canvas & Clips. This is one solution to spice these up, quickly & without breaking the bank.

Kaiber is in open beta. It's free to test. $10/mo for 100 short videos.

3 more new AI tools...

  • creates text-chats with AI versions of celebrities (and just raised at a $1b valuation)

  • BeatBot turns text prompts into songs. Beats by SplashAI, lyrics by ChatGPT

  • TR-ChatGPT is text-to-drumbeat: "ChatGPT, give me a disco groove."


Igloofest Web3 Scavenger Hunt

Igloofest's YetiHunt drove engagement with 1,000 festival-goers.

Attendees often spend the whole night at the headliner stage. So, how can you spark interest in other sites, emerging artists & activations, while building the experience?

The Setup:Β A series of digital collectibles were hidden around the site, claimable by QR codes. Wallets became passports, with each NFT serving as a stamp.

  • Engage audience & reward top participants

  • Increase engagement with activations

  • Drive repeat attendance

  • Capture fan data

Big Picture: Proof-of-attendance NFTs can be used to elevate the experience in the moment & allow you to build iterative connection beyond the moment.


Selling Like It's 1999?

Let's look all the way back to 1999. And let's adjust for inflation. Oh...oh my...

Global recorded music revenue in 2021 is still 35% lower than its peak in 1999.

We can't just add subscribers. We need to grow & serve fans.

*2021 is the last full year of reported global recorded music revenue numbers.

Spotify's Big Changes

Spotify unveiled 'The New Spotify' at their Stream On event. Their pitch centers around becoming a home for Creators.

They take direct aim at TikTok & Instagram...

"Spotify gives you more than just fleeting moments of viral fame."

The biggest change is to the Home Feed: a swipe-to-discover feed of songs, podcasts & audiobooks in 1 place. Content plays as you scroll, with songs featuring video, playlists & 'talk' featuring previews.

Spotify says the changes will take them from the leader in passive discovery to active. Phone-in-pocket β†’ See & Engage. We like the sentiment.

Let's take a look at the new features:

  • AI DJ: Providing personalized radio-like commentary & recs

  • Clips: 30-sec, reel-like videos creators can add to their accounts.

  • Pre-Save: Countdown to release date with pre-save ability. Pre-savers get notified when song or album drops. 🎯

  • Previews: Seamless, automated previews powered by machine learning for playlists, podcasts & audiobooks.

  • Smart Shuffle: Tap & new songs enter the mix on personalized playlists.

  • Concert Listings: Personalized listings now shown in Now Playing, Home & Playlists. Fans can tap Interested to create a personal gig calendar. 🎯 

  • Fans First: Expanding program to give top listeners 1st look at merch & ticket exclusives via direct artist to fan email. I've heard this before. Let's see it. 🎯

  • Genre & Mood Hashtags: Hit #indie or #upbeat to scroll personalized previews of tracks in this lane.

  • Discovery Mode: The pay-for-play tool to get more listens in exchange for lowered royalties is now offered thru 5 artists-direct distributors.

  • Podcast Autoplay: New recommended episode plays immediately.

While they hype building artist's adjacent businesses (merch, tickets), they did not mention NFTs or the recently introduced token-gated playlists in the talk. πŸ€”

Verdict: Unclear. I'm happy to see them growing the creator toolset & putting artist's context front & center. Let's see how successful these features will be in building artist stories.

Headlines Tour

  • Snoop Dogg co-founded ShillerΒ combines web3 tech with livestreaming. Launches in April 2023.

  • Reveel & Decent creator grant contest generates 1k+ vote-by-NFT-purchases.

  • UMG Germany is working with Twelve x Twelve to award gold records on the blockchain with non-transferrable NFTs.

  • Sample hunters use GoogleAI song recognition to find unknown samples in the works of Daft Punk & others.

  • Mirror introduces Subcribe to Mint, where collectors must subscribe to your project to mint an edition.

See you next week. In the meantime, catch you on twitter: @abelowrob.

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