Marketing & Media trends
#BizTrends2021: A renewed focus on community through exclusive content and livestreaming
Of course, there was no way I could have predicted the absolute abomination that was 2020, however, as the music industry continues to feel the devastating impact that Covid-19 has had on it, we wade into 2021 the same way we would unchartered waters – slowly and with caution.
Allow me to re-introduce myself, my name is livestreaming
What's that you might ask? Well, allow me to explain. Ah, I kid, I kid. After global lockdowns kept us inside for the better part of 2020, promoters, event organisers and musicians had to find alternative ways to keep their audience engaged while still keeping themselves busy and relevant. Enter the livestream, which, in 2021, isn’t going anywhere. In fact, expect it to get a super expensive facelift in the hopes of being used by a growing body of artists as a genuine revenue driver.
It’s bigger than TikTok
When I mentioned the continued rise of TikTok in 2020, I had no idea just how intense things were going to blow up for the app. As lockdowns forced a record amount of people online and the interest in the app quadrupled overnight, TikTok broke artists, manifested chart-topping hits (“Death Bed, Coffee For Your Head”) and spawned dance crazes (#JerusalemaChallenge, #TootsieSlide) the world over. And as Covid-19 continues to pose a threat to countries around the world, expect TikTok to enjoy an extended run of success in 2021.
The rise of Gen Z
Regardless of how you feel about them, Generation Z is without a doubt the most tech-savvy generation yet. They’ve grown up with apps integrated into their everyday lives, in fact, the majority of their socialising and social identities are tied up with their social media profiles. Is that healthy? That’s for their psychiatrist to decide. But what this means is that they’re dictating the market, the charts, what’s hot and what’s not (see aforementioned TikTok dance crazes) and their consumer habits will no doubt shape the music industry moving forward.
Imagine a small audience of dedicated fans who consider it an almost duty to support their scene. That’s a micro-community and South Africa is full of them. Cape Town’s psych scene, Johannesburg’s SoPunk (Soweto Punk) scene, Gauteng’s heavy metal scene – you may not see them on TV, hear them on the radio or even turn a page on them in whatever glossy mags are still left in this country, but their micro-communities are thriving and continue to drive their demand both on and off stage.
Exclusive content, members only
So this relies heavily on the strength of the micro-community, but the rise in subscription-based models that provide an artist’s audience with exclusive content is a legitimate way for musicians to generate revenue. Platforms like Patreon helps artists earn a monthly income by providing rewards and perks to their subscribers. DJ, producer and double bassist Shane Cooper spoke extensively about his experience with Patreon when I interviewed him recently on Texx Talks.