Reports Music

The future of music The rise of a counterculture industry

Report by Mark Mulligan, Kriss Thakrar and Tatiana Cirisano
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20,000 foot view:  Music streaming and the attention recession have turned music into a background activity. Artists en masse are struggling to cut through the noise, realising that streaming is neither a place to build deeper relationships with fans nor to generate meaningful income. Adding to this momentum, music’s key audiences are seeking out more active, participatory experiences with music. These three factors are catalysing the emergence of a new, counterculture music business that hinges on the artist-fan relationship, and the platforms that enable them. This is the platform era, and traditional stakeholders will need to reposition their value in this new landscape.

Key insights 

  • As artists            more, they rely less on            revenue, with streaming accounting for            revenue for artists earning less                       annually, but only            of revenue            artists earning over           
  • Music streaming            predominantly a passive experience, as            consumers stream music in the            of other activities, and just            they focus mainly on the            when streaming it
  • Even for            aficionados, music makes up a            share of total entertainment time            social and video, which, together,            for more than half of            time
  • A combination            these factors is leading artists            invest less time in streaming,            more time on platforms that            allow them to build and            fanbases
  • Music aficionados            for behaviours that serve their            for participation, community, and ownership,            them to platforms like TikTok            Twitch
  • The youngest            generations seek active, social experiences            content, which cannot be found            traditional Western streaming services —            the next generation of fandom            culture is building on non-DSP           
  • As artists’            change and consumer behaviour shifts,            music industry is entering the            era
  • Music’s traditional            must reposition their value in            new landscape where music companies,            hinge on social, creator ecosystems,            fandom are best placed to           

Companies and brands mentioned in this report:             Ampsuite, Ariana Grande, Artiphon, ArtStation, Audiomack, Ava Max, Bandcamp, BandLab, Bang Si-Hyuk, Beatport, BeatStars, Billie Eilish, Bravado, BTS, ByteDance, Call of Duty, CapCut, Discord, Dominic Fike, Dua Lipa, Epic Games, Euphoria, Facebook, Fender, Fleetwood Mac, Fortnite, Gunna, Harmonix, HYBE, Instagram, Interscope Records, Jericho Mencke, K/DA, Kendrick Lamar, Kenny Beats, LabelRadar, Lil Nas X, Logic, Loopmasters, Marshall McLuhan, Marvel, Mawf, Mixcloud, MTV, Naver, NetEase Cloud Music, Netflix, Pentakill, Pico, Pg Lang, Plugin Boutique, Reddit, Resso, Riot Games, Roblox, Rock Band, Rough Trade, Snoop Dogg, SoundCloud, SoundOn, Splice, Spotify, Sub Pop, The Weeknd, Tate McRae, TikTok, TOMORROWXTOGETHER, Top Dawg Entertainment, Travis Scott, Twenty One Pilots, Twitch, UnitedMasters, Universal Music Group, Unreal Engine, Warner Music Group, Weverse, WMX, YouTube