The first media industry to be disrupted by the internet is the music industry. Long before the emergence of Netflix and the re-forming of the news and entertainment industry by digital publications, Amazon has created a separate stream as Amazon Prime Music. The popularity of Napster (music piracy network) and the resulting battle between record labels and Apple over the iTunes Store led the music industry into a digital economy much faster than other industries.
Music also made it to the era of mobile streaming much faster than video content. It also started the all-access flat subscription strategy that the entire media industry now uses today.
Historically, music has always been ahead of the curve. As a result, new trends in the music sector might provide helpful indicators to where other industries of the media business might be heading. The evolution from physical albums to digital purchases disbanded albums into single tracks. The streaming model has now rearranged the whole music catalog into monthly subscriptions.
With TikTok, tracks are now further unbundled into shorter clips of hooks and drops. These shorter clips portray a certain mood while providing audio cues for visuals. Just the way sports fans share highlights from games or movie lovers making gifs from their favorite movie, the music sector has adopted a similar model on TikTok. People now strip music off their original context and contextualize them in bite-sized, easily digestible clips.
Of all media products in the world, music has the strongest repeat value. The model of TikTok further exploited that by pairing those music clips with different visuals created by users to boost its repeat value. After the co-creative trend created by TikTok, music is increasingly becoming an aspect of digital creative toolkits for everybody.
For example, people can now add any music available for streaming as the background sound for their Snapchat or Instagram stories. The attention economy is at its peak, with music not only competing with other types of media for attention but also coming together with other creative formats.
Established artists are collaborating with live streamers to play video games, host podcasts, and even teaming up with gaming firms to develop in-game music experiences. The circumstances that the COVID-19 has created have helped to accelerate the democratization of digital creativity. Many people are now entering the digital content creation space to show off their creative talent and professional knowledge. They are now creating digital content in different fields such as teaching, cooking, painting, and more.
As digital creative toolkits increasingly become popular, music and other media forms will become more fluid and collaborative. The media industry will greatly benefit from adopting this trend rather than resisting it.
The piracy platform that started the digital transformation of the music business two decades ago – Napster – was recently bought by MelodyVR – a VR experience firm. The company aims to be the destination for music in virtual reality. Since the acquisition, the company has been focusing on distributing live music performance in virtual reality. Nevertheless, if this firm is still around when VR-enabled metaverses begin to take form, they might try to become the
LiveNation for metaverses – that is if another platform does not emerge and take their place.