Predictions can be a tricky thing, but if we look at the trends in the music business over the last year we can see where things might be going. Here are 5 predictions for how the industry will fare in 2019.
1. Apple Music Nearly Catches Spotify. Spotify is still the king of the hill when it comes to streaming with 83 million paid subscribers, but Apple Music is coming on strong at 57 million at years end. Apple Music’s growth was significant in 2018, so look for the gap between the two streaming powerhouses to close even more in the coming year.
2. Tencent Music Makes Its Move. Now that Tencent Music had its more or less timid yet successful IPO, look for the company to set its eyes on acquiring more if not all of Spotify. Of course, this only happens if the market rebounds and tech stocks (especially music related ones) again become investor favorites. If not, look for an acquisition down the road.
3. Smart Speaker Growth Is Kind To Amazon Music. Love them or hate them, smart speakers are here to stay and that market will grow even more in 2019. The biggest beneficiary of that has been Amazon Music, and the trend helps it even more, especially right after a holiday with big Echo sales and a boost in Prime memberships.
4. The Charts Mean Less And Less. Billboard has ruled the music world for more than 50 years and its charts have been the bible for artists and labels everywhere. That ceases in 2019, as the charts become more irrelevant and playlists (especially from the major streaming services) gain more influence.
5. Major Labels Lose Their Mojo. Once the dream of every artist, today’s artist is more likely to shun a major to go it independently, since so many of the benefits of a major can be had without actually signing to one. Indie and boutique labels continue to grow both in numbers and revenue as artists thrive in a more DIY world.