With the ongoing pandemic, it’s needless to say 2020 has been a difficult time for artists. The sales suffered and promotion had to be channelled into online interactions with fans. Unsurprisingly, there has been a rise in music trends that continues into 2021 and live music bars like The Rocksteady have scheduled a lot of live music events for 2021.

Music documentaries

2020 saw a surge in music documentaries that delve deep into the lives of our favourite artists. A skilfully made documentary allows the audience to meet their idols on a more intimate level and gives artists a chance to show a different side of their personality. Music documentaries are good for marketing – everyone loves a good road to a success story. It doesn’t come as a surprise that a lot of musicians continue joining the trend. To name a few: Tina Turner (documentary released in March), The Beatles, and Billie Eilish.

The increasing popularity of k-pop

What do you get when you mix catchy songs, dance choreographies and perfect looking idols? K-pop is not only a music genre but also a $5 billion industry that has always been a huge part of Korean culture. For many people, it’s k-pop that comes to mind when they think of South Korea, not Samsung. The music has recently made its way onto the western market: at the end of 2020, the world saw a collaboration between Blackpink, a famous k-pop girl band, and Cardi B. The group also previously worked with artists such as Selena Gomez and Lady Gaga and their entertainment company hopes for more collaborations in the future.

Fan economy

Along with k-pop, with growing popularity abroad came a rise in fan economy. In February 2021, Brave Girls’ song went viral and won seven awards even though it was released 4 years ago with little success, all thanks to their incredible fan service. The group regularly visited soldiers to perform for little to no salary. Similarly, another famous Korean group, BTS, successfully fuses fan engagement with street marketing which can be reflected in their recent release that contributed 1.4 billion USD to the South Korean economy.

The power of social media

Social media is a lot more than space for creatives to express themselves. It’s also a powerful marketing tool for many artists. Thanks to platforms such as TikTok, a lot of old songs have managed to make a comeback, for example, “Where is my mind?” by Pixies, or “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. Sometimes all it takes is one video to go viral and artists understand that game very well. Some reach out to influencers directly – In 2020, Drake’s song ‘Toosie Slide’ went viral after a popular TikTok dancer featured it in the video per his request. As social media’s audience is growing, more and more artists are starting to appreciate its functionality.

It looks like 2021 will be an interesting year for the music industry. The popularity of k-pop is likely to keep increasing, with idols continuing to set trends in the western industry. And while restrictions will be lifted soon and we will get to enjoy live music again, the benefits of online promotion are likely to continue well into the rest of the year and beyond.