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2016 Predictions: Transformational Festivals, New Genres, Marketing Tools

Happy 2016 everyone! We are almost a week into 2016, and I think it’s time to lay down some predictions for this year. I acknowledge that I’ll likely will be wrong about most of these, but I will be really, really right about a few of them.

Let’s take a look.

The Predictions

1. Bass House will grow old & generic

It’s sad to think about, but bass house will become stale. Unfortunately, whenever a few artists pioneer a sound, there is a wave of imitators that hitch onto the trend drive it to the ground. As 2016 progresses, you will hear bass house until your ears bleed. There is a possibility for an evolution in late 2016 (4×4? Jersey club?) much like big room transitioned into Melbourne bounce.

2. Transformational festivals will see huge growth

Transformational music festivals like What The Festival, Burning Man, Symbiosis Gathering, and Lightning in a Bottle will see record numbers this year in attendance, sellout time, etc. As ravers become more experienced, they slowly migrate out of “mainstream” festivals and trade their kandi for yoga sessions and paleo food options.

3. Techno will break into the mainstream

For whatever reason, anybody over the age of 25 in 2015 loved techno. In 2016, everyone will love techno. It will be played at transformational festivals, as well as side stages in mainstream festivals. The “underground” feel of it will appeal to music fans looking for something new to brag about to their friends. Close cousins for techno like tech house and minimal will also see huge popularity growth.

4. Genre Mastery will be back

2015 was all about “no-genres”. 2016 will be all about mastering one’s genre. Purist producers in house, techno, and bass will rise to popularity. Producers will go back to producing one genre of music to perfect it.

5. Industry “pros” will build personal brands

2016 will be the year that every 20 year-old kid who owns a YouTube channel or started a small record label will try to become the Elon Musk of electronic music. This is already happening, and it is nauseating. (Personal bias: if you want to be known as a “innovator” in the field, then go do something. Build a huge record label or blog. Manage an artist and blow them up. Don’t talk about how to do impressive things when you haven’t done them yourself.”)

6. A new “it’s lit” synonym will emerge

2016 is already off to a good meme start and will have a viral word like lit or turnt. (suh dude) Feugo might be the new word. Or something entirely different will come up.

7. Experimental bass music will be victorious

Producers like JNTHN STEIN, Woolymammoth, and KRNE will continue to dominate the blogs and play counts. More producers will hitch onto their minimal, glitchy sound. Sort of related: more producers will start experimenting with making their own drums and sample sounds.

8. ICON Collective Production School will massively grow in popularity

LA-based production ICON Collective will receive dramatically more applications this year than last. As more students and alumni from ICON blow up, more attention will be brought the school and an influx of interested students will occur. Music production schools like Dubspot, Full Sail, etc. will not see the same growth.

9. New industry cities will emerge

 Cities like Miami, Austin, Denver, and Seattle will grow their own roots and give Los Angeles a run for its money.

10. Spotify will be the #1 platform artists promote

More producers will ask fans to follow them on Spotify than in years past. Download gates like Hive.co make this really easy by exchanging Spotify follows for free music. Producers will want fans to follow them on Spotify to be notified of new streaming music, which will pay the artists even slightly. Also, Spotify verified is easier to get than on other platforms. Pro tip: It only takes 250 followers on Spotify to become verified. Get on it.

11. Complextro will make a comeback

Old-school complextro like 2011 Porter Robinson, Lazy Rich, and Wolfgang Gartner will start coming back into mainstream consciousness. Complextro elements are already entering bass house, and will continue to leak through various house genres.

12. Blogs and labels will become more about accolades than promotion

In 2016, blog support will serve more as validation that a track is good than a sure-ticket to musical fame. Music blogs and labels like NestHQ, Dancing Astronaut, and Buygore have already started losing their ability to blow artists up. Producers will soon choose which blog or label looks best on their resume rather than which blog or label gives them the most reach. (This is based on a number of reasons: Facebook organic reach decline, rise of artist collectives, saturation of producers and press.)

13. Artists will use data-driven marketing

Artists will start tracking their marketing with spreadsheets and fancy analytics. Traditionally, producers, DJ’s, and even some event promoters have treated marketing as throwing everything against the wall and hoping something sticks. 2016 will see more spreadsheets, trackable marketing, and startup-like growth strategies. (I personally am a huge fan of quant-based marketing, and am personally helping this happen!)

14. The compilation album will be the biggest SoundCloud growth tool of 2016

Compilation albums put out by artist collectives, labels, etc. will become the biggest growers of SoundCloud accounts. When 10 great artists put together a group of 10 great tracks, and only make them available via a download gate that requires users to follow all 10 of the artists, there is a huge room for potential growth. Moving Castle, Daruma have already done this successfully in 2015. MMXV never released a compilation, but required downloaders to follow the entire collective.

15. More artists will seek management when they don’t need it

In 2016, every artist will want a manager and talent agent when the artists should really just take of things themselves. 

16. Popular artists will think they are fashion designers and launch lines

More producers will launch their own lines, following the path of Brillz and Bixel Boys. It seems Getter has already launched his own brand, Trippy Burger Co.

Do you have any more 2016 predictions, or think that I’m wrong about something? Tweet me @skyismagic.