2023 was the year of the female pop star. Taylor Swift dominated the box office and the headlines. Her Eras Tour is now the top-earning tour of all time.
Beyonce’s Renaissance World Tour wasn’t far behind. Miley Cyrus’s Flowers garnered more Spotify listens than any other song, and Billie Eilish is likely to win an Oscar for her contribution to the Barbie soundtrack.
But now that 2023 is in the books, what will be the top music trends in 2024? Will reggaeton continue its rise? Will country artists keep topping the Hot 100? And how will the rise of AI influence the music world?
The Continued Rise of Reggaeton
Three of Spotify’s top ten artists of 2023 are reggaeton-influenced musicians — Bad Bunny, Karol G, and Feid. A fourth, Peso Pluma, also dabbles in the genre — his collab with Yng Lvcas won the Reggaeton Hit award at 2023’s MTV Millenial Awards.
Reggaeton may have originated in the Spanish-speaking world but is now a global genre. Some 69% of music fans in the U.S. regularly listen to non-English language music. And no non-English genre is more popular than reggaeton.
Look for that to continue in 2024. Columbian artist J. Balvin — the Principe del Regueton — will be releasing a collaborative album with Ed Sheeran sometime in the coming year. And Bad Bunny’s Most Wanted Tour is sure to keep him firmly in the spotlight.
The way people consume their music is ever-evolving. Streaming services continue to grow; depending on where you get your statistics, streaming services account for more than 50% of music consumption. Spotify is the largest single streaming service, with over 200 million paid subscribers.
But plenty of people, especially younger listeners, consume most of their music through TikTok. This means that TikTok’s new music subscription service has the potential to shake things up. Rolled out slowly over the course of 2023, TikTok Music just might be the next big thing.
Of course, even if TikTok Music doesn’t take off, its new “Add to Music App” feature will ensure that the platform remains a popular place for discovering new music.
Country Music Chart Toppers
If it seems like you heard a lot more country music over the last year, that’s probably because the genre is surging. In 2022, country songs made up only 4% of Billboard’s top ten. In 2023, that number jumped up to 21%, essentially making country just as popular as pop music.
Morgan Wallen was responsible for the majority of the country songs that ranked on Billboard’s weekly charts. But Zach Bryan and Luke Combs (with his cover of Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car) also placed songs in the top 10 over the course of the year.
Will this be a music trend that lasts into 2024? Or will country music fade out of the spotlight in the coming year? That’s hard to predict, although Post Malone releasing a country album sometime during the year likely won’t hurt the genre’s popularity.
Live Shows Are Where It’s At
While the pandemic certainly put a temporary damper on live music experiences, concert tours are coming back in a big way. Swifties made the Eras Tour the highest-grossing tour ever, while Beyonce’s 2023 tour also made the all-time top ten.
Expect live music to continue its resurgence in 2024. Bad Bunny’s upcoming North American tour should be huge. Olivia Rodrigo will be looking to follow in Taylor and Bey’s footsteps as her world tour kicks off in 2024. Additionally, festivals — still not fully recovered from the pandemic — are pushing to return bigger than ever in the coming year.
To top it off, the Eras Tour isn’t even done. Taylor Swift will circle the globe this year — with even more concert dates in the U.S. towards the end of the year.
Will AI or Streaming Ruin Music First?
Not every music trend is necessarily good news for musical artists. Many musicians continue to struggle to make money from streaming. So when Spotify recently announced it would start paying artists even less, the reaction was far from positive.
Spotify’s new payment model hits smaller, less-popular artists the hardest. The streaming giant will no longer pay artists whose tracks receive fewer than 1,000 streams in a year.
Meanwhile, the threat of AI-created music is one that many musicians are taking seriously. Last year’s viral hit Heart on My Sleeve is the highest-profile example of why. The track, which featured AI-generated versions of Drake and the Weeknd’s voices, highlights the potential for technology to actually replace artists.
Heart on My Sleeve was convincing enough to fool even Drake and Weeknd fans. There’s a good chance we’ll see (and probably be fooled by) even more AI-created music in 2024.
Musicians collaborating across musical genres is nothing new. From the (mostly regrettable) rap-rock of the ’90s and 2000s to the Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus collab Old Town Road, musical artists enjoy pushing pre-defined boundaries. But we just might be entering a peak era for cross-genre collaborations.
As noted above, J. Balvin and Ed Sheeran are two artists from different musical worlds working together to create new sounds. They’re far from alone. Selena Gomez and Rema have worked together to blend Afrobeats and dance pop. Bad Bunny has openly stated his desire to work with Lady Gaga.
These artists are pushing boundaries in ways that make it harder than ever to define musical genres. Expect that trend to continue to delight listeners in 2024.
The World Is for the Young
Finally, younger artists and younger listeners will continue to drive music trends in 2024. Perhaps it’s obvious, but social media has fully supplanted traditional media as the place where musicians break out. Artists like Peso Pluma, Ice Spice, and Latto were all over YouTube and TikTok before they blew up in the mainstream.
There’s little doubt that more Gen Z artists will break out in the coming year. And now that you know some of the music trends likely to dominate in 2024, all that’s left is to kick back and listen!
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