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2023 Music Trends: 8 Best Industries for Song Placement Opportunities

These are our predictions of the best industries for music creators in 2023:

Music creatives can have multiple sources of income, and it's important to have a comprehensive look at the music industry to find the most suitable and profitable revenue streams for their work. But more than that, paying attention to music trends is key to getting the best opportunities.


Here at SPARWK, we believe that the best way to predict the future is to create it, but it doesn't hurt if we also keep an eye on how things are shaping up to be. Once you stay long enough in the music industry, some patterns become clear and it gets easier to identify where things are heading to.


Here are our top music trends predictions of what will be the best industries for music creators to get song placements and revenues in 2023.


Photo credit: Pixabay, via Pexels


Sync licensing for TV and streaming

Kate Bush going viral after a song placement in Stranger Things in 2022 may seem like an isolated case, but more data is backing up the “Running Up That Hill” phenomena to signal a bright future for music synchronization licensing.


Revenue from sync royalties amassed a $178 million revenue in the United States in the first half of 2022, according to the Mid-Year 2022 Report published by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA.) This makes for a 29.9% rise, encompassing fees and royalties from music synchronization for film, TV, and ads.


Bush’s 1985 release (now a 2022 hit) is undoubtedly the case study for music sync of the 2020s thus far, but she’s not alone. Fleetwood Mac also saw their 1987 release "Everywhere” climbing the USA iTunes chart after a placement in a Chevy commercial, and it isn't even the first time one of the band's 1980s hits has had a popularity revival this decade. In Brazil, sertanejo song “Cavalo Preto” got a 931% increase in Spotify plays after being placed in the TV soap opera Pantanal, becoming a national hit almost 76 years after its first release.


Opportunities in sync are rising for production music (that is, music composed specifically for a media product such as a TV show) too. A study conducted by BMAT for the Production Music Association (PMA) showed that production music made up 46% of all music played on American TV (counting broadcast and cable networks) between February 11th and March 14th 2022. While it is significant that it makes up nearly half of the music played, the study also found that lifestyle, documentary and reality channels were the top users of production music.


When it comes to music trends related to sync licensing, TV is proving itself to have not lost as much relevance as the streaming boom suggests. But it’s also worth noting that shows aired on TV and streaming platforms often count on the power of social media to boost songs placed at their shows even up. Advertising and branded content companies are also leveling up the demand for music synchronization.


Micro-sync licensing for music libraries

Even with all the money flow going on in the music sync industry, smaller businesses in entertainment and advertising need music too. And when they do, they often resort to lower-cost music licensing solutions such as music libraries, driving revenue streams for musicians through micro-sync (synchronization licenses for multiple uses in low-scale content such as podcasts, Youtube videos, and user-generated content.) A 2022 report by Synchtank says that music libraries are becoming the go-to options for low-budget projects in TV, film, and advertising.


Meta found that offering royalty-free music to its users played a role in increasing content engagement by up to 30% on Instagram and Facebook. In 2022 Meta also announced that Facebook video creators would receive 20% revenue shares from their videos that use music from the platform’s licensed music library.


The small yet relevant opportunities in the micro-sync industry can be an entryway for musicians to start making money from their music. But they can be attractive even for established artists as music licensing companies increase investments in music rights acquisition for music libraries.


Sync licensing and original music for video games

Content strategies are getting more sophisticated across various fields besides TV and streaming too, such as podcasts, apps, and of course, video games.


2023 and its upcoming years are expected to be huge for the gaming industry, as a $ 320 billion revenue is projected by the time we reach 2026, according to PwC’s Global and Entertainment Media Outlook 2022-2026.


Music is already a part of the most innovative video game strategies, with game companies integrating music into their products in various ways. Games like Grand Theft Auto (GTA) raised the bar by creating soundtracks with original music by acts such as A$AP Rocky and Tyler the Creator, and developing their own radio stations with songs by Rosalía, Jay Z, and more. And since 2022, video game music can even earn a musician a Grammy Award, as the Recording Academy inaugurated its Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media category this year.


For the future, it is expected that the gaming industry will bring even more song placement opportunities for music creators, be it through sync licensing from music catalogs, or deals for composing original music for games.


Photo credit: Areous Ahmad, via Pexels.


Licensing for fan-made content and world-building

The market is slowly moving towards a more fan-centric economy. Fans are being recognized as relevant parties to boost IP revenues. With community-building being among the pillars of web3, the lines between fans and creators are about to become even blurrier.


Empowering fans to be creators leads to multiple new IPs generated by one original piece of IP. Such a movement will require changes in the way we think of IP and will require easier models to license it, but it’s safe to expect that these will bring opportunities for songwriters and producers as well. These are definitely music trends to keep an eye on in 2023 and beyond.


Metaverse

Clearing IP rights in the metaverse can be a tricky matter since it is still a recent, challenging field to work on. There is a lot to be defined regarding how licensing and collecting royalties will work in the metaverse. But this a bridge that shall be crossed sooner than later, as the interest of companies and taste communities in the metaverse increase.


The 3D virtual world offers huge potential for music revenues. Metaverse concerts and music events are already a reality, with artists like Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, BTS, Blackpink, and Travis Scott holding concerts in virtual worlds. These performances are even getting acknowledged by award shows such as MTV's Video Music Awards, which inaugurated its Best Metaverse Performance category in 2022. These events shall see growth in 2023, which can become a big source of performance royalties. But there is also a potential for sync license revenue if we consider that avatars need a synchronization license to perform music in the metaverse.


Either way, music is an inescapable part of the metaverse, and so will be the monetization of it.


African market

When it comes to music trends, looking at the future is looking at the widest prospects possible. As the global music industry decentralizes more and more each year, songwriters and producers can have a shot anywhere on the map.


Africa is one of the markets with lots of eyes on it already. In 2021, the Middle East and North Africa had a 35% revenue growth for recorded music, becoming the quickest-growing region in the world, according to the IFPI 2022 Global Music Report; and revenues in Sub-Saharan Africa reached USD 70 million.


These are sparkling numbers, and it’s important to pay attention to what’s going on in African local markets. Stears projects that Nigeria alone will generate a $ 73 million revenue in 2023. The country has a prolific afrobeats scene, with artists like Fireboy DML, CKay, Asake, and is the land of worldwide renowned songwriters and producers like Wizkid and Burna Boy. But it’s not just the local market painting a prosperous vision for Nigerian music. It’s also how these artists are showing that they can rise beyond their borders. In 2022, Nigerian singers Fireboy DML and Rema made the US Billboard Hot 100 for the first time, with their respective collaborations with Ed Sheeran (“Peru”) and Selena Gomez (“Calm Down.)”


Besides Nigerian music trends, and afrobeats, South African amapiano and Saudi rap are also on the front of Africa’s exposure to the rest of the world, thanks to the spreading power of YouTube and social media. Dataxis projects that the streaming revenue in Africa will surpass $ 310 million by 2026. The role of the continent in the global music industry revenues will only go up from here.



K-pop and Korean R&B/hip hop

It’s a sign of the times how some of the biggest music festivals in the world had their biggest share of K-pop and Korean artists ever in 2022: Coachella featured performances by K-pop groups aespa and 2NE1, soloist Jackson Wang, hip hop legends Epik High and YoonMirae, new R&B star Bibi, and more. K-pop boy group TXT played Lollapalooza Chicago, which was headlined by BTS’ j-hope — the first time a Korean artist headlined a major music festival. Europe also gained a K-pop festival all for itself in 2022 with the launch of KPop.Flex, which took place in Frankfurt.


But Korean music is proving to sell more than concert tickets. The year 2022 marked the first time when four albums by Korean artists debuted at #1 on Billboard 200 in a single calendar year. The impressive achievements were by BTS, Stray Kids (twice,) and Blackpink, four years after BTS broke the ground for Korean-language albums to make it into the best-selling charts of huge music markets like the US and UK, in 2018. It also comes in line with how 2021 summed up: for the first time, a Korean act that is not BTS made the IFPI list of the best-selling artists in the world, with SEVENTEEN ranking #9. BTS topped the list for the second year in a row.


These are but a few breakthroughs showing how fertile the Korean music scene is and how it’s set to keep growing. As K-pop and Korean hip hop and R&B expand their reach across the world, the opportunities for songwriters and producers are also on a rise. Getting a K-pop song placement is a highly competitive task, but never have K-pop companies been so open to music trends led by different voices and pens. It’s no wonder K-pop is attracting names from all kinds of scenes, like the Honduran neoperreo singer-songwriter Isabella Lovestory, who scored a writing credit in LE SSERAFIM’s Antifragile, and Isa Guerra from Brazil, who scored a writing credit in tripleS’s Acid Angel from Asia.

Read more about Isa Guerra in Brazil Hits K-pop — Isa Guerra’s First K-pop Cut Shows a Changing Reality For Foreign Songwriters

TXT made history as the first K-pop group to perform at Lollapalooza.


Latin market

Latin music revenues surpassed USD 500 million in the first half of 2022, outpacing the overall music market growth in the United States, according to RIAA’s 2022 Mid-Year US Latin Revenue Report. It’s a fast-forward growing market driven by reggaeton and pop singers like Bad Bunny, Karol G, and Rauw Alejandro, all of which are among the most streamed artists in the world — led by Bad Bunny, who also holds the record of highest grossing Latin tour in the history of Boxscore with this 2022 World’s Hottest Tour.


There ain’t no stopping these Latin icons. Additionally, there is huge potential in other emerging genres and names from the Latin music scene besides pop and reggaeton. These two genres used to make for most of the Latin tracks charting globally, but now, as said by Maykol Sanchez (Head of Artist and Label Partnership, Latin America and US Latin at Spotify) for Variety, “[in 2022] we have seen a consumption fluidity trend [that is] it is very visible within Latin music, even more so among young audiences.”


One of these genres is bachata. The genre was born in the Dominican Republic, but that didn’t stop it from making waves worldwide. The biggest bachata hits in 2022 were actually cooked in Spain and Colombia: Rosalía’s “La Fama,” and Manuel Turizo’s “La Bachata.”


But this was also the year when a Spanish-language song gave a native Portuguese speaker her biggest hit ever. With “Envolver,” Anitta became the first Brazilian artist to top the global Spotify chart, and the first Latin artist to ever do so with a solo song. Meanwhile, in Brazil, sertanejo and funk continue to dominate local charts, and pop star Luísa Sonza hit the 8 billion streams milestone on Spotify.


Argentinian music had a big year too, pushed by rappers like Tiago PZK and Paulo Londra, and the Bzrp Music Sessions project by producer Bizarrap, whose track “Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 52” even topped the global Spotify chart and Billboard Global Excl. US Chart.


The Latin music scene is far from a homogeneous bunch or a fad. It’s also one of the main markets pushing a cross-cultured mindset for music-making, which brings enormous potential and opportunities for songwriters and producers from all parts of the world.


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What music trends do you think will impact songwriters' and producers' income in 2023?


SPARWK is enabling global collaborations between creators and empowering them to find and create the best opportunities in the music industry. Join us as we work towards a brighter future for all the stakeholders in the music ecosystem.



This content is published for informational and entertainment purposes and does not constitute legal or financial advice, nor promotion of any of the companies or artists here mentioned.


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