TikTok collabs, digital concerts in Fortnite, fans participating in music videos… the ways of creating music are rapidly changing and we are just in the beginning of a very exciting transformation.
Almost everyone loves music, there are simply so many ways of musical expression, it’s possible for anyone to find something they like. As humans music is fundamental to us. It’s a big part of our identity and our culture.
But the threshold for being able to create music yourself has traditionally meant hundreds of hours trying to learn an instrument. But now there are more ways than ever to participate in music-making. With the current accessible music tools and the new emerging technologies, you can express yourself in music without the musical training.
People want more from music than just listening
In the early 2000’s we could see the shift in music consumption from CD and radio to downloads and streaming, from analog to digital. But we are just in the beginning of an even bigger shift; going from passive listening to actively being a part of creating the music.
We have seen this change already for photos – everyone is now a photographer thanks to Instagram, in game developing – everyone can create their own game in Roblox, and for videos – everyone can now have their own TV-channel on Youtube.
If you’re an artist and just put your work out there for streaming, it limits the experience for the listener. You’ve lost a lot of the opportunities to truly engage with your fans.
We are in the beginning of the era of change in music consumption, in the shifting from analog to digital. Artists including fans through digital connectivity gain more and more recognition, and the most profit comes from fan engagement.
The money is where the engagement is
As an example, Smule, the sing-along app, is not only used for singing, it’s a social network, where people chat, date, find new friends, and on top of that sing short solos with a filter making it easier to stay on pitch and sound really great, lowering the threshold for anyone to join. No wonder Smule has passed a 100 million dollars in yearly revenue.
Compare this kind of revenue stream with what it would take to reach similar levels based on more traditional ways of selling music, like concerts, merchandise, and passive streaming; anyone can understand there’s a huge new market growing right this moment.
Artist collaborations with fans
On TikTok, it’s not unusual for artists to collaborate with fans, to get your song played here is all about making it easy for people to join in. Music inclusion at a level anyone can handle.
When Dua Lipa released the song “Levitating”, she asked her TikTok fans to help create the official music video by dancing to the track under the hashtag #DuaVideo. Simple to join, great PR and very rewarding for the fans.
Earlier unknown teenager Jawsh 685 created a beat from his bedroom in New Zealand made of siren sounds – “Laxed”, he uploaded it on TikTok and got millions of views and it also caught the attention of Jason Derulo who made the hit “Savage love” out of the beat.
Digital tools enable creativity and attract people
The pandemic pushed us a bit quicker into the digital transformation with musicians doing different kinds of live streams and other remote initiatives.
We could clearly see the change and how digital tools enabled creativity. For example DJs hosting digital dance parties making people dance to live music but from different locations, or when the rapper Travis Scott had a massive digital concert in the game Fortnite, attracting more than 12 million people.
From streaming to interactive music
The western world is still mostly focused on streaming music, but in east Asia the industry has already moved more into fandom and collaborative, interactive music consumption, but the trends are clear; the entire industry is moving in the same direction.
We can see so much cross pollination from pop culture and the digital world, of course more than just the examples listed in this article.
We all love music. Most of us would also love to be a part of creating music. And we can’t wait to see what else the future of interactive music holds.