We screen a LOT of music every year, so that allows us to keep a good pulse on what is happening in the music world. Here are some of the trends we observed this past year.
Probably the biggest trend in music we saw this year, started a while back but really picked up steam during the lockdown, was an increase in the production of singles and EP. It began as a way to minimize costs for the artist. Streaming services don’t need an album. And not having to produce an album is cheaper obviously and it’s easier to distribute virally and through social media (especially YouTube and TikTok—which we use in our music quests). But that trend continued to pick up speed during the shutdown when artists started putting out anything they had so they could earn a little money. Look for that to continue, just like in the early days of rock and roll.
Emphasis on movie soundtracks continues to be strong. No longer just considered to be incidental music, the movie soundtrack is a major revenue stream for studios so they’re careful to load them up with big names. “F9,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “No Time to Die,” even the rather uneven remake of “Space Jam ” put a lot of effort into its soundtrack. Knowing this, we look at new releases and see if there’s anything that fits our library, and we add it.
Pop is still tops but just barely. Hip Hop and Rap are just as popular. And the requests we receive reinforce that observation. Content, however, continues to be a challenge with Hip Hop and Rap, as well as Reggaeton (a Spanish-language hip hop music). There is so much profanity, violence, alcohol and drug use, and sex that it’s extremely difficult to clear a lot of those songs. Still, we do our best. If a song can be made clean, we do.
A lot of country music has gotten a hip-hop beat lately. Everyone is getting into the act, Lil Nas X, Walker Hayes, Colt Ford and the like. Country purists hate it. But it’s selling. The challenge is, like a lot of country music, alcohol is often a key ingredient, so a lot of this music has trouble clearing our screening process.
There has been growing interest in K-Pop acts like BTS, Blackpink, and Seventeen. We’ve been adding music by these and other similar artists for some time. We do not have them set as a standalone category on the main page but if you want K-Pop, we do have it.
Another trend we’ve observed is the use of downtempo electronic music for background use. We have that in a category called Electronic Chill. It’s instrumental electronic music that still has a beat and works well in dining areas, and younger-skewing professional settings.
For 2022 expect to see Latin music to continue to grow in popularity. Also expect the crossover from the rap world into pop, country, and rock to be the norm.
Music is never static. It continues to evolve, and we are keeping up with the trends by looking at sales, streaming, and download data each week in an effort to have the most current music possible.