The Future of Music: Insights from Industry Insiders
Published July 27, 2023

Watch the webinar here.

In a recent online panel discussion on the future of music moderated by Cosmo Lush, co-lead of True’s global GEMS (games, entertainment, media and sport) practice, industry experts gathered to share their perspectives on the evolving landscape of music, driven by technological advancements and changing consumer behaviors.  The panel included insiders with broad expertise across various sectors such as streaming platforms, gaming, social media and record labels. They helped shed light on some of the disruptive influences and opportunities reshaping the music industry of today and tomorrow

TikTok: a game-changer in music discovery

Ole Obermann, Global Head of Music at ByteDance, the company behind TikTok, discussed the platform's unique approach to music discovery and engagement.  TikTok's model encourages user creativity by providing easy tools to create videos soundtracked with music.  The platform's sophisticated technology allows for targeted content matching, making it a powerful discovery machine for artists, labels, publishers, and fans.  The commercial use of music on TikTok has also created new revenue streams, driving songs to the top of charts through viral campaigns.

Spotify's impact on music consumption

Dawn Ostroff, former Chief Content and Advertising Business Officer at Spotify, reflected on the company's transformative journey in the music industry.  Spotify's success shifted the way music is consumed, making streaming a dominant form of music consumption.  Dawn emphasized the importance of continuous innovation in a rapidly evolving industry, and she also highlighted the upcoming challenge of navigating the integration of AI into music creation and discovery.

The synergy between music and gaming

Maria Egan, Global Head of Music and Events at Riot Games, discussed the strong connection between music and gaming.  As gaming continues to dominate media consumption for younger generations, Riot Games has integrated music into its gaming ecosystem to engage millions of players.  Focusing on the concept of fandom and community, Maria emphasized the importance of developing deep engagement and creating a participatory experience for fans.

Music industry's big opportunity in gaming

Zach Katz, a music industry veteran and former President of FazeClan, highlighted the untapped potential for the music industry in the gaming environment.  With an increasing number of artists spending time gaming, the music industry needs to collaborate with gaming platforms to reach these audiences and increase engagement.  Zach stressed that breaking the commercial ceiling requires the music industry to look beyond traditional sync deals and explore opportunities for personalized music experiences in gaming.

The implications for talent in the creative sector

The panel also discussed the implications of all this innovation for recruitment and team-building in the industry.

Zach Katz highlighted the tendency to underestimate the power of young minds by those in hiring positions. The entire sector is teeming with young talent who possess immense creativity and prowess, often surpassing the expectations of their more seasoned counterparts. These younger individuals are not only employees but also creators themselves, offering a direct link to their consumers. Our panel was in consensus that seasoned music industry leaders need to shift the mindset surrounding age—it should not be a barrier, but rather an opportunity to stay at the forefront of innovation.

Ole Oberman highlighted the value of bringing diverse perspectives into the music industry, for example from games platforms and fast-moving tech platforms. He cited his own experience joining ByteDance after a career with major music labels, and joining a team with a very different mindset that operates at a much faster pace.

In conclusion

The overarching message our audience came away with was, whether you're a seasoned music industry veteran, a young aspiring artist, a coder or gamer, it's essential to stay open to new possibilities and be ready to adapt to the ever-changing musical landscape.

A recording of The Future of Music in its entirety is available here