The music industry is constantly evolving and changing. With 2018 just about in the books, it’s time to look ahead to 2019. We’ve asked a number of music industry professionals to give us their thoughts for the music business for 2019.

With CD sales dropping every day and Spotify and various streaming services providing new incomes to major and independent labels, it’ll be interesting to see what other predictions come true for the 2019 year.

Here are the predictions for the music industry and EDM in 2019.

#1. Ben Harvey - Program Director, SiriusXM Chill, On-Air Host SiriusXM BPM

Electronic music is not on the decline, it’s just evolving. Festivalgoers who went to the first Ultra when they were 20 are now entering their 30s. Dance Music isn’t all about the rave anymore, it’s about experiencing a vibe. I think 2019 will see artists with consistent sounds and brands succeeding: Kygo with the launch of Palm Tree Records under Sony Music and Nora En Pure’s ever-expanding “Purified” brand, for example. I also see music becoming more chill, happy, and positive, given all the negativity in the news right now.

#2. Rida Naser - SiriusXM BPM

We’ll see new, emerging artists in the spotlight. Mainstream artists won’t be the only ones headlining festivals anymore. We’ve been seeing major collaborations between all kinds of genres, but in 2019 those will evolve into something bigger than ever. Hitting different audiences in different genres will be the key. You’ll see dance music/artists reach into places you’d least expect!

#3. Wouter Rietman - Protocol Recordings, Project & Relations Manager

Apple Music and Amazon’s worldwide market share will grow. Spotify will start to use even more large algorithmic playlists. Spotify will push own playlist and brands even more and probably delete independent playlists altogether.

More dance artists will collaborate with K-Pop stars and K-Pop will become a more important genre in Western countries.

#4. Dan Roy Carter - CEO at Above Board Entertainment Group

Electronic dance artists will find comfort in being able to build and act as a more niche aspect of music culture, focussing on building a new generation of fans.

Soundcloud will make a second run at it and drop the ball AGAIN, because their most consistent asset is their ability to let the artist community down.

Independent and DIY artists/labels will gain an even bigger footing in the industry, with Apple and Spotify taking a bit more time to represent and program to the niche crowds aforementioned.
Brands that can leverage community will continue to grow with unprecedented force, in the same vein as bitbird, Monstercat and the like.

Swedish House Mafia will tour the world, make a shit load of money, and once again be harassed by the industry for taking the industry back into arenas consistently. They are the Ferrari of electronic dance music, we should support that at all costs.

#5. Erik Mahal - Editor In Chief at EDM Sauce

In 2018 we saw several “pop DJs” return to EDM, most notably Marshmello, David Guetta, Calvin Harris. This trend will continue as artists who have pushed their boundaries will start to release more music that is closer to the sound that helped them make their big break. Genres lines will continue to blur if not disappear entirely – rock, rap, folk, indie will all continue to incorporate more dance elements in 2019. The regional festival has proved to be a difficult experiment to pull off, therefore we will see less attempts at >10K attendance festivals in 2019. We should all get ready for a lot of new music from some legendary artists, as with more artists choosing to take touring breaks for health reasons, more music will inevitably be produced.

#6. Chris Varvaro - DJ & Producer at Chris Varvaro

I think a lot of major artists and upcoming artists are going to start to realize the importance of mental health and the negative impacts social media can make on everyone, especially up and coming artists. So many producers are obsessed with the numbers, and everyone harps on creating amazing content. But we’ve seen from so many artists that living the glamorous life style portrayed on social is not always the case, in fact, it’s the opposite and is quite stressful behind the scenes. I really hope people do realize this and take time to be mentally healthy while still enjoying creating music! After all, that is what it’s all about!

#7. Steve Brudzewski - Co-Founder of Electric Family, Artist Relations & Global Sales Director

I believe dance music is going to continue to push the envelope in the “live” aspect. More acts are experimenting with certain live components in their set. Most notable examples I’ve seen are live vocals from Elohim and Jan Blomqvist. If you want to see an original act go see them live!

I believe 2019 is going to be a very exciting year for dance music. House music continues to be on the rise and will keep going. Its heading back to the dance-floor more and more. I believe that artists will keep gaining more and more power. We have seen it recently with the deals that labels have to offer now due to being able to release outside of them with great success. We have seen artists brand and build their on festivals with success. The role of a manager will become even less about delegation and more about being the label, publisher, A&R, publicist, all in partnership with the artist. My bold prediction is that house music will crack Top 40 regularly in America in 2019!

#9. Callum Amor - SHFT. Asia

Artists consistently start touring 15+ cities in China, festival market continues to grow exponentially w/ Ultra, EDC, Creamfields, and others hosting in 2nd tier cities as opposed to just 1st tier. Investment continues to pour into the sector and the first major Chinese talent is discovered for the global market.

Paradoxically, electronic and rap music events/festivals are banned and then forbidden by the Chinese government. The industry collapses and vanishes overnight…

Definitely going to be an interesting year either way.

#10. Jared Rapoza -Director of Electronic Music at Audiomack, Co-Founder at Epicure, Musician at CRVE U

“More acts will try branding themselves similar to many SoundCloud rappers in an attempt to build the massive organic following to scale and acquire higher tier stats.

Artists, labels, and curators will focus less on their Spotify numbers as more streaming platforms are emerging from all walks of the world with unique aspects that set them apart from the crowd like Tencent, Audiomack, TikTok, NetEase. As more platforms rise in popularity, individuals releasing music won’t have to rely as much on just one or two platforms, and have more choice on what demographics they want to build their fanbases around depending on the streaming platforms they put time and work into figuring out.

#11. Antonio Gonzalez - Artist & Producer at Fuzz Heady; Co-Founder at The Maniac Agenda

I think this year we are going to see the start of a new financial revolution in music that will further connect the relationship between artists and fans through the growth in usage of blockchain technology. In the short term, blockchain music streaming services such as Musicoin and Choon have working platforms that are developing in unique ways. I think we are going to see many new innovations develop first on the blockchain this year that will eventually start to cross over to some mainstream artists and brands as well as social and streaming platforms.

For example, I think in 2019 fans and playlist curators are going to get paid a cut of an artist’s cryptocurrency royalties to share music on social media and include an artist’s music on fan created playlists therefore making every fan a mini record label in an artist’s community.

More artists are going to have their own branded cryptocurrencies, like Gramatik’s GRMTK, so that fans can literally be owning stake in the artist brands they love in real ways and be given digital assets they can hold and pass down to future generations the way that people do with vinyl records, stocks, and music collectibles. In the not too far future, I could see people that are literally fully financially supported career fans of an artist or brand. Dare I say EDMSauce Coin, Fuzz Heady Coin, LA The Lakers Coin, Lady Gaga Coin, and Facebook Coin?

#12. Mahesa Utara - Uprising

Gaming will continue to be considered as one major promotion funnels, so I think there will be some hits coming from the gaming platform. The major “loud” audience are still considerably too young to have a voice in the current culture (because you still need the gig to move the trend). There will be more collaboration with many new talents, and I think the amounts of producers or artist that will be involved in making a track will somewhat ridiculously too much.

#13. Nick Rowland - DJ & Producer at Super Future

The scene is losing it’s attention span with simply going to shows. While it is still very strong, the people who have loved it for long enough understand that there need to be newer forms of engagement to stand out and be more competitive (from a performer’s perspective). I see new interactive features like holographic production (similar to Eric Prydz) and ways that fans can interact with the show rather than just watch. Instruments are becoming bigger yes but there will be many more of them, and the most successful ones will be the ones who can integrate them in new, ingenious ways (such as modulation or looping etc.)

#14. Martin Tharaldsen - A/R at Glow Records

After the huge success of the track “Losing It” from Fisher, there is no deny that tech house is rising for 2019. I’m sure It won’t be totally mainstream, but we will hear more like these bangers on different club nights. I’m also really excited what the Swedish House Mafia are planning, and that will for sure define what the next year is going to bring. I also think that the progressive house will come back, but with another twist, that can bring melodies and emotions back to our life and to the dance-floors.

#15. Kristopher Novak - VP of Events & Record Curation EDMsauce.com

At least one tech house artist will find themselves in a late night set slots at main stages at every major dance music festival in 2019. Tech has bridged a major gap throughout 2018.

#16. Dan Larson - DJ & Producer at Middle Child

I think artists (even bigger names) will start to become more and more independent. There will always be those kings & queens of the industry that lead the masses (or maybe it’s the other way around?) but in the years to come, artists will need to take their “”beats by dre headphones”” off and start to think strategically like an entrepreneur.

This DIY, one man team mentality will be essential in order to succeed. With the recent explosion of startups offering “”close to free”” music distribution and Spotify for artists direct upload feature, I believe more artists will start to ditch labels and hop on board with a new distributor so they can start paying the bills. Also, artists will need to put their marketing hats on, brush up on their social media skills and start exploring other avenues such as licensing their music in video games/movies/tv and even partnering with other brands.

Set aside streaming royalties and record sales, artists should and will need to get out of their studios, say goodbye to anxiety and start working on their “”DJ”” skills and live performance. Touring and merchandise (a strong brand) will be absolutely crucial in order to stand out and hopefully some day move out of mom and dad’s house!

#17. Jacob Burns - Owner @bringthesound, Social Media Consultant

Branding and artist identity is about to become a lot more important in this scene. With the scene becoming more and more saturated and Spotify opening up direct track submissions to pretty much anyone, the portrayal of an artist’s brand is going to become a whole lot more prevalent. Artists will need to stand out from the crowd not only musically, but also from a brand-perspective, in order to retain listeners and build a solid fan base.

This means not just creating music, but creating quality content around it and converting one off listeners into committed, engaged fans. Music and marketing are about to get closer than they’ve ever been before.

#18. Kenneth Thomas - DJ & Producer at Kenneth Thomas, Perfecto / IAMPHOENIX Records

I predict a continuing expansion of sounds and blurring of lines between genres. And more interactive live sets exploding the lines between a DJ set and a live band performance.

#19. KJ Sawka - Producer at KJ Sawka, Drummer & Writer at Pendulum, Drummer & Producer at Destroid, Drummer at Illenium

Live EDM shows are gonna be bigger and bigger. More and more djs are gonna add live instruments to their show. The emotional connection is gonna be stronger than ever with fans.

#20. Willy Joy - DJ & Producer at Willy Joy, Host of Back To Back Podcast with Willy Joy

Dance music has been massively inflated over the past 5-10 years with big influxes of cash, mainstream attention, and overall growth. This is generally awesome, but one thing that has maybe been overlooked in the gold rush is the culture & roots of it all. Now that the dust is settling a little, I think we’re going to see all the new fans that have entered the scene wanting a little more depth from their artists and their community. You’re already seeing specialization being a huge key to success – the artists who have been able to build a world around their project, that their fans can live in, are emerging as the strongest long term prospects. Listeners are getting more educated and more specific about what they like. Once the initial excitement of discovery has worn off, fans will move on unless they feel that they are taking part in an evolving community. It’s not always going to be enough just to be a good producer, the artists who do well in 2019 will be the ones that are able to find a unique perspective and cater very specifically to their audience, rather than trying to please “EDM fans” at large. Basically I think we’re approaching the “trimming the fat” stage, if we’re not there already. And that’s a good thing for the culture in the long run.

#21. Mike Warner - Author of Work Hard, Playlist Hard, Streaming Strategist and Advisor

Streaming services will start live streaming DJ sets and concerts/shows, perhaps for a fee or a higher membership level. AR and VR will also play a key role in the live concert experience, whether from a lounge room or to enhance the live show. In particular, huge festivals will offer AR experiences to entice fans to leave the comfort of their home and come to the show for a completely unique AR experience.

#22. Carson Oberg - Manager at Shallou and Yoste - SWMMNG Management

The chill genre will continue to reign making its way into pop music. DJ’s will continually try to go from CDJ’s to playing “live”. Streaming will continue to thrive and look for Amazon to make a big splash. We will start to see a reversion back to the old music days with the importance of building an artist career and not just a million plays on DSP’s.

#23. David Kaufman - Cinematic Music Group/Digital Marketing

The consumption of Smart speakers will reach a new high in 2019. Genres will move out the way for mood based playlists. Leading to a whole new age of discovering music.

#24. Stevo Jacobs - Founder at EDM Sauce, Chroma Records, The Music Marketer

Streaming: Mood-based playlists are going to continue to grow in popularity over genre-based playlists. More consumers will be interested in music for working out, then specifically dubstep songs. Spotify will continue to battle to be the leading streaming service in the world. Just like Netflix has been on the decline with pressure from Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and now Disney, competitors such as Deezer, Apple Music, and streaming services in Asia will continue to show pressure to Spotify’s shrinking marketplace.

Artists: It’s getting harder and harder for artists to stand out for up and coming artists. Artists will find new ways to stand out from the pack such as utilizing their own social media channels and using more and more video. This will consist of videos under 1 minute on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Up and coming artists will focus more on artist relationships than public relations. Remix trades will be more and more important for the growth of artist’s careers.