Media And Entertainment Industry Trends That Will Shape The Future
Anyone dreaming of making it in the current entertainment industry must keep up with the dynamics of the modern-day consumer. The market now, different from the past years is volatile and any blind move can cost you dearly.
From the streaming platforms taking over the music industry at the expense of traditional radio to over the top (OTT) content providers disrupting the conventional tv, we are just witnessing a revolution in the entertainment industry unfold.
For music creative, it is a great time to be in the industry. This new generation of musicians seems to be rewriting the rules of engagement with fans and taking back control from record labels. Initially, when an artist signed up with a record label, the label owned rights to their music and the artists had no choice but to accept those terms.
After all, in those days it was almost impossible to make it in the industry without a label. The ultimate goal for an artist was to get signed up by a major one.
With this crop of new successful independent musicians such as chance the rapper, childish Gambino, Gucci mane, just to mention a few, it is becoming clear that as an artist, you don’t need the big labels to make it in the industry anymore.
One can build up a following on social media, establish a loyal fan base, learn the art of making music, distribute your music through streaming platforms and get live shows audience, all with the help of a laptop or even a smartphone.
The major labels in the industry are also waking up to the realization that to survive the tides without drowning, they will have to learn to swim against them by evolving. The golden survival rule of survival for the fittest does not exempt them after all.
Their business model that entails owning the rights to the music they record for artists has been contested for many years. They explain that they invest a lot of money in finding talent and nurturing the same.
Many people argue however that you cannot nurture something that is not there, to begin with. So whereas they invest a lot in the artist, the content should belong to the artist.
In their attempt to retain their business and grip over the industry, they are relaxing their terms when it comes to signing new artists.
Take the case of Jacob Whiteside, for instance, after years of being independent and being successful at it, he finally signed with a major record label in 2015 under terms unimaginable only a few years back. Instead of the label, Jacob retains the rights to the music.
He decides when he wants to go on tour too. In the past labels have been accused of pushing artists to perform at the expense of their wellbeing.
Take the case of Avicil for instance, many people argue that had he not been pushed beyond the limits without stopping to assess his capacity to handle the pressure, he’d still be alive. This is not an isolated case in the industry. Maria Carey’s much-publicized break down back in 2001 is also another example.
With artists regaining their careers and having ultimate control, such cases could be significantly reduced. The labels are adjusting to the reality that they no longer hold all the cards when it comes to the rules of engaging with the creative.
The back catalog remains one of the biggest income earners for the record labels. With decades of recording music, the music they made years ago channels hundreds of millions of dollars for the labels which they use to fund their current talents by setting up different teams of expertise like accounting, marketing, and distributing teams to help manage the artist’s music career.
This is a circle as the artists who benefit from the already established back catalog will leave their records behind to sign in a new generation of artists when they are no longer in the market.
It is not only the music industry that is experiencing turbulence but other sectors in the entertainment industry are also experiencing disruptions too. E-sports, for instance, is becoming a force to reckon with in the entertainment industry. With now organized competitions, e-sports are taking the entertainment world by storms.
People no longer need to go to the gaming lodges to enjoy a good video game. Whereas some people may argue that this is negatively affecting the gaming console, others are seeing a huge opportunity in this growing market. The conventional TV, streaming platforms and other channels are in the rush to secure rights to air e-sports.
The stiff competition among the media companies and the growing content that gives the viewer a range of options nowadays means getting premium content and making sure you deliver it in the most impactful manner.
It is this desire to give the consumers the best content and to update that has led many players in the industry to adopt virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies to enhance the consumer’s experience. Music artists are already leveraging the use of VR in their music videos to interact better with fans.
People visiting museums for either education purposes or just for fun can get a clear picture of the historical journey thanks to AR and VR.
There is an increasing demand for virtual reality gaming lodges and arcades as consumers seek more immersive thrills. There is no telling what the future of these realities will look like, only one thing is for sure, we are witnessing a revolution when it comes to consumer interaction.
Internet advertising is also another snowballing aspect of the entertainment industry. The brands are coming to terms with the driving force of the internet when it comes to marketing. Internet advertising is forecasted to get to over 127 billion dollars by 2022.
Now that we have looked at a few trends in the entertainment industry, let us look at the digitization of the industry and how the digital revolution in the entertainment industry is impacting the stakeholders.
The digital revolution
For two decades now, we have witnessed serious changes in the entertainment industry. We have witnessed the emergence of the streaming platforms, social media powerhouses like Facebook, Twiter, Instagram just to mention a few.
Companies like Kobalt a company is are coming up with technologies to ensure that artists are getting paid what they deserve for their creative efforts.
They are getting his done by monitoring all the digital downloads of a song and collecting all the micropayments artists get from the streaming sites.
Most recently the company has indicated that they would start providing recording services but unlike the labels, the artist retains the right to their music. They are only charged the fee of the recording services provided.
In this mode of operation, the artists do not need to give up their rights to the album but they get the company’s services of marketing and distributing their album at a fee. This way, they make more money while still keeping the ownership rights.
These milestone inventions have revolutionized the way people interact with online platforms that provide entertainment content. There is a lot of content available online for the modern-day consumer who is spoilt for choices.
Whereas this is a great thing, it also makes it hard to sieve through the unnecessary noise of the content not suitable to a certain consumer to get something suitable for a specific consumer’s needs.
Recent research indicates that a consumer could spend up to an hour a day searching for content. This presents a challenge to the streaming companies to find ways to recommend content that is consumer specific.
This is being done by artificial intelligence algorithms that take into consideration the consumer’s viewing or listening history to guide them into discovering content that is within their preferences. This plays a great role in sorting out the disruption.
With consumers having the ultimate choice over the vast ocean of content out there, the pressure is on the platforms to provide quality or premium content at a fair price.
The growing demand for digital video content on the internet currently is driving data consumption rates in the market to new limits. These high consumption rates are being driven by the availability of huge volumes of digital content availed by the entertainment industries online.
The new generation of the younger consumers would rather stream content, say, a movie or a TV show on Netflix than watch it on TV. And who would blame them? With streaming platforms, one can skip forward, rewind or just terminate the content and get something entirely new. This is the convenience that conventional TV was not able to provide.
This shift of consumers towards digital content means that there is a greater demand for data to access this content. Mobile providers are forced to rethink their strategies when it comes to packaging and selling of data to cater for this increase in demand.
The music video streaming
Listening to a song is a great experience but to get a better understanding and experience of the song many fans prefer watching music videos. Artists are aware of this and many mainstream artists capitalize on making the best and catchy video with budgets running up to a million dollars or more for their song as a way of promoting music.
From inventing new dance moves to telling stories in the video, there are several ways artists endeavor to captivate the attention of their fans in the music videos.
With the music videos streaming gaining and increasing popularity, there are several music videos streaming services that offer fans the opportunity to stream music videos or download them.
With these streaming platforms paying an artist per stream, artists are coming up with strategies to increase their streaming revenues. Some of these strategies include making different videos for the same song. For instance, the normal video and then following it up with a different version, say a choreographed version of the video or the studio version.
Another strategy artists employ is by collaborating with more established artists to boost their popularity and consequently their streaming income.
Artists also come up with challenges that they urge their followers to participate in an attempt to draw attention to their music. The most recent example of this is the Nicki Minaj ‘Megatron challenge’.
Here some of the leading video streaming platforms where fans can access music videos.
YouTube is undoubtedly the biggest music video streaming platform in the market today. There is an unlimited number of music videos on this platform for fans as well as cover songs from users.
It is this wide coverage of the platform that has made YouTube one platform that a majority of new artists are using to get a following. Some of the biggest artists such as Justin Biber and Shawn Menders were discovered or started their journey on YouTube.
Vimeo is another music video viewing platform that is proving a worthy competitor to YouTube. The site currently high definition music videos ad-free. The site also has a sharing feature that allows you to share your favorite videos on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter.
MTV television was the first channel to create a broadcasting format based on music videos. This popularized the music videos in the 80s. Now, the company has a website where viewers can watch videos online.
With the three sections of videos (the general section with all videos, most viewed and the new videos section) you can enjoy free music videos on the site as well as share them on social media.
With the billboard platform, you can find the highest-ranking songs of the week in the market. With the archive button, you can find out the previous weeks’ lists.
Having looked at the streaming aspect. Let us now look at another area that has been made possible by the digital revolution in the music industry.
Downloading digital music
The internet has revolutionized the way we do things. With the internet, many platforms have emerged where artists can earn revenue from their music. One of the major ways artists can earn from their music online is through streaming platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify. By uploading their music on these platforms, artists are paid a certain amount of money every time their song is streamed.
Apart from streaming another way in which artists can earn revenues from their music online is through legal music downloads. Recent reports indicate music downloads account for close to 50% of music sales in America today.
There are several sites where you can upload your music to be distributed as downloads. They include iTunes, Amazon, Juno, e-music just to mention a few of the most prominent ones.
Blockchain in music
For years the debate surrounding the ownership of the intellectual property has been unproductive. Establishing precisely how much money an artist has made out of their music distributions has also been a murky affair.
All this confusion may become a thing of the past if what blockchain technology is promising for the market is to be implemented.
Blockchain is a digital ledger that contains blocks each block connected to the previous one and contains a cryptographic hash from that previous one.
This makes it easy to trace the digital transactions back to the original transaction helping greatly to establish the origin of the content and hence the owner of the content in question.
One of the biggest selling points of the blockchain technology is that it is very hard to interfere with or forge which means it can be used in a court of law to settle disputes should it come to that.
There are a few platforms already using the technology to ensure that artists get paid fairly. Here are some of them.
The London based company endeavors to ensure that are paid fairly and that every digital transaction of their music generates some money that reaches the artist. They plan to do this by establishing a blockchain database of music with information about all the contributors to the music so that all the parties can get a fair reward for their contribution.
Mediachain is a New York-based peer-to-peer digital information sharing blockchain database that enables sharing and tracking of the content across different applications by issuing different cryptographs that make tracking of digital content possible.
Mediachain is also offering artists direct smart contracts without using third parties hence reducing the confusion in the market.
Choon is a digital streaming platform that’s applying the blockchain technology to make sure that artists are not only paid fairly but also on time. Instead of waiting a year to get paid as is with the conventional streaming platforms. Choon can pay as regularly as daily depending on the number of streams generated. This is very convenient for the artists.
With Ujo, they are automating the process of paying royalties to artists. Ujo offers artists a platform to upload music control their music’s licensing as well as the distribution of music. The artists get paid in cryptocurrencies.
Vibrate is a live music database. They offer rankings and information on the musician’s upcoming live shows as well as music videos. Chainsmokers are one of their biggest profile.
These are just but a few of the online platforms which have already adopted the use of blockchain technology and we can expect more including the big players in the industry to adopt this technology and help sort out the confusion that can now be avoided.
Artificial intelligence in music
Where artificial intelligence is involved whether, in the manufacturing industry or the entertainment industry, there is always controversy where music and technology are involved.
From claims that the robots are out to take away jobs from human workers in the manufacturing industry, the entry of AI in the entertainment industry was met by the same resistance in the inception stages and continues to arouse controversy in the industry today.
With machine learning and software dedicated to music production. AI continues to reshape the music industry by providing a different and improved sound as well as integrating computer science and music.
Since the introduction of the technology in the market, this sector has grown tremendously. People have also come to terms with the contribution of the technology to the music industry instead of being apprehensive about it.
There is an acceptance that while artificial intelligence music may not compare with one of the iconic singers like Whitney Huston, the technology can help humans develop better melody and sound.
Currently, AI still needs human input to generate a more complete sound.
There is a lot of room for improvement and we can only wait to see what the future of music will look like with increased AI involvement in the production process.
In conclusion, a revolution in the entertainment industry is far from over. The biggest revenue generator in the industry could be completely toppled by some new type of technology that is invented a year from now.
The best thing you can do in this industry is to keep yourself updated and open to change. You have to constantly lookout for the next big thing and ready to pounce on opportunities when they arise.
The music aspect of the entertainment industry continues to be rocked by turbulence in terms of new trends and technologies. Who would have predicted 20 years back that we would have a country rap genre of music today?
Not only will there be such a genre but also a song like ‘old town road’ is going to break a record that has been held by Maria Carey for 23 whole years?
For music creative, it is an opportune time to take advantage of the new and emerging technologies to promote your music and reach new markets you haven’t bee heard in before. Also experiment with new styles of music, to find out what works best for you.