By Dave Austin, “The Music Professor”
As working DJs, it’s imperative that we be acutely aware of both current and near-future music trends, and I’ve been doing some research on what music biz insiders think will be the big trends for 2014. Another reason I’m spending time on this is because I’ve noticed that some of the sure-fire dance songs which have been standards for DJs are beginning to fall by the wayside. As a practice, we should periodically evaluate our music selections to assure that we’re playing the tunes our guests really want to hear and dance to. So, here are some of the hot trends in music I’m seeing for 2014:
Like her or not, Miley Cyrus is just warming up. She knows how to use a press cycle. Think back to her performance at the Video Music Awards and the ensuing roar in the media and an ongoing discourse on popular music. Did you miss it? This ”media event” was carefully timed by Cyrus and her management team to coincide with the launch of her new album. She now has the world’s attention and 2014 holds the potential of being her big year. She’s already started it off with a profitable solo tour.
Despite the buzz that she’s lost out to Miley, Lady Gaga should have one of her best years yet. Don’t overlook the fact that Gaga is among the first superstars of the social media generation with more than 100-million followers on Facebook and Twitter. Even though her album has received only lukewarm reviews, her presence in the social media has helped her sell more albums worldwide than normally would be expected. Live gigs are where performers earn the bulk of their bucks and Gaga is there. If only a tiny percentage of her fans purchase a ticket for one of her scheduled spring and summer concerts, she’ll have a very good financial year.
We expect to hear much more from New Zealand’s Lorde who has made a lot of people excited about music – again. There’ll be more releases in 2014 as her fan base continues to grow.
As evidenced by the earnings of some of the genre’s top artists in 2013, there will be no slowdown of country music’s push into the musical mainstream during the coming year. Sales of country music have increased by more than four percent, while digital album sales jumped by a solid 38%. It’s also notable that the top country artists earned more than any rapper or DJ last year. Pop country is quickly moving into the vacancy left by rock music’s market share. As if to add an exclamation point to this, I just booked an upscale wedding in which the couple’s song list includes predominately pop country selections. It’s a safe bet that the country trend will continue to accelerate during 2014, particularly with Garth Brooks reportedly getting ready to undertake his first tour in over ten years. Also, we’ll soon be hearing new tracks from previously successful crossover artists Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift.
The first half of 2013 saw 50 billion audio/video streams – an increase of 24% over the previous year. This trend continues in 2014, and outlets such as Spotify, Pandora, iHeart Radio, etc. will all benefit from this billion+ dollar waterfall. The streaming revolution is (perhaps) the dying gasps for piracy as streaming is so easy that downloading – either legally or illegally – is cumbersome by comparison. This is also bad news for Mp3s as indicated by the falling sales of individual tracks during the past year.
Often, an artists’ earning can indicate their popularity with fans, so I looked up the top 25 earners for this past year and I found some surprises among the list.
World’s 25 Highest Paid Musicians
1. Madonna – $125 million
2. Lady Gaga – $80 million
3. Bon Jovi – $79 million
4. Toby Keith – $65 million
5. Coldplay – $64 million
6. Bruce Springsteen – $62 million
7. Justin Bieber – $58 million
8. Taylor Swift – $55 million
9. Elton John – $54 million
10. Beyonce’ – $54 million
11. Kenny Chesney – $53 million
12. Diddy – $50 million
13. Paul McCartney – 47 million
14. Calvin Harris – $46 million
15. Jennifer Lopez – $45 million
16. Roger Waters – $44 million
17. Muse – $43 million
18. Rihanna – $43 million
19. Jay Z – $43 million
20. One Direction – $42 million
21. Dr. Dre – $40 million
22. Red Hot Chili Peppers – $40 million
23. Rolling Stones – $39 million
24. Katy Perry – $39 million
25. Tim McGraw – $39 million
As the old saying goes, “The only thing constant is change.” So, I suggest we reevaluate our musical thinking as this new year gets underway. As the music and artists evolve, so will the tastes of our audiences, and in order to be successful, we also must adjust our thinking and be flexible in order operate in this changing landscape.