The music industry is tough to predict, but in the last couple of years, what has been clear is that social media, technology and the internet have played a huge part in making and breaking bands, musicians and stars. Without social media and 24 hour news channels, would anybody be talking about Justin Bieber? Can you even name one of his songs? But you know who he is, because the media – and social media – won’t let him out of your sight.
Upcoming bands and musicians are likely to make their mark online in 2014, by using YouTube, Soundcloud and music marketing companies to find their audiences online. Let’s take a look at some other changes that are likely to see over the next 12 months…

More Artists Retreating from the Limelight

Sooner or later, over-exposure translates to fatigue, boredom and the loss of fans. Lady Gaga – although huge on social media and the web in general – backed-off considerably between her third and fourth albums, the recently released ARTPOP. The “what will she be wearing next?” question suddenly went from excitement to eye-rolling, as people just got fed up with her and the antics.
The exposure thing is as much the media’s fault as it is the stars, and it is unlikely to change for the fame hungry stars out there such as Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. But it could be that in 2014, more musicians decide to retreat from the limelight, thus creating a buzz for their next release and public appearance, rather than people having it pushed down their throats every five minutes via social media, the web and the news stations.

Established Artists Self-Publishing Their Music Online

Radiohead started the craze of selling their albums via their website rather than via the music companies, and it paid off massively with their 2007 album In Rainbows. More artists have followed suit, with mixed results, but due to the rise of piracy and streaming – making profit margins smaller for artists and the music companies themselves – it is likely that more artists will self-produce and publish their own music online.
With Soundcloud, digital radio and YouTube stations giving 24/7 access to music for free, it makes more sense for musicians to take control of their own work. After all, when something leaks online, it is never the artist themselves that does it. Self-publishing eradicates the issue altogether, and in 2014, more artists are likely to do so.
The Continued Rise of Musical Piracy and Streaming = More Gigs and Tours
The number of music festivals, one-off concerts and world tours is growing more and more with every passing year, and almost all of that is directly related to the continued rise of streaming and musical piracy. Musicians don’t make nearly as much money from selling singles and albums as they used too, and when times are hard financially, bands and artists hit the road for a gruelling series of tours and concerts.

If you consider that The Rolling Stones made over $558 million from their last world tour, you can see why touring is big business, especially to a band full of golden oldies who haven’t had a hit album in decades but who still generate publicity with their brand and back catalogue. It wouldn’t make sense for some artists to keep pushing out albums to no avail. Take to the stage and reap the financial awards. Many more will do this in 2014.