Young People Want More Digital Music Experiences—Tech Entrepreneurs Can Seize This Opportunity

By Daniel Griggs, founder of ATX The Branda tech agency focused on solving problems, building businesses and strengthening communities.

Live music events took a big hit during the coronavirus pandemic and may never fully recover. In 2020, live music revenue was predicted to decline by 75%or more than $30 billion. While entertainment and music venues are once again opening their doors and scheduling shows, one survey from May 2021 found that only 16% of adults have bought tickets for a live event, and major artists are still continuing to cancel performances.

What does this mean for the future of live music? And what about the independent artists who rely on live shows to market their brands and build their fan base? As the owner of an app development and digital marketing agency, I am always on the lookout for ways technology can help society respond to some of its biggest challenges. I have seen the demand for creative virtual solutions skyrocket during the pandemic, and I believe that many of these changes are here to stay. Our transition to a digital economy has been accelerated by the pandemic, and we will need to discover new ways to survive and thrive in this new world.

What Gen Z Can Tell Us About The Future Of Music Streaming

Being a tech entrepreneur, I like to look to the future and what the behavior trends of Millennials and Generation Z can tell us about the direction society is heading. What these two massive consumer demographics tell us is that the popularity of music streaming and virtual concerts is on the rise.

In a recent survey, nearly 60% of Gen Z respondents said that they stream music daily. According to another reportabout 84% of music revenue over the past year came from streaming while paid subscriptions platforms like Apple Music and Spotify reported a record 80 million paid subscribers.

Digital Music Experiences Growing In Popularity

Major artists who took their performances online during the pandemic were met with a lot of success. The livestream of Kanye West’s album listening party broke the Apple Music Global Livestream record, and streaming platforms like Spotify also jumped on the bandwagon with their virtual concert series in 2021. One survey found that more than a quarter of 13- to 39-year-olds said that they have attended a livestream concert, and 56% said they were interested in attending a virtual concert in the next six months.

Social Media Isn’t Cutting It Anymore

At the same time as music streaming and virtual music experiences are in popularity with young people, many of the social media giants are facing some challenges keeping Generation Z and even Millennials engaged. A New York Times article disclosed that Instagram executives are concerned about losing their foothold with younger audiences as teenagers prefer apps like TikTok and Snapchat over Instagram. Similarly, Facebook usage by teens has dropped 13% since 2019.

For TikTok creators who are lucky enough to go viral, the platform can be a great place to share their music and grow a fan base, but the app is becoming oversaturated. The platform grew from 65 million users in 2017 to over 1 billion in 2021. It is becoming more and more difficult to stay relevant on the app and creators are claiming they are getting burned out by the constant pressure to provide new and engaging content for users.

It’s Time For Tech Entrepreneurs To Get Involved

I built my tech company around the concept that if you see a problem, you can almost always find a digital solution. Because my company is based in Austin, TX—the “Live Music Capital” and home of the South by Southwest and ACL music festivals—the struggles of the live music industry hit close to home, literally. I believe we need innovative tech solutions if we are going to help new and independent artists survive in a world of highly competitive apps and dwindling live performance opportunities.

If we are going to come out of this pandemic stronger than ever, we need to harness the power of tech to revolutionize industries like live music. Music and art are the backbones of our culture, yet independent are in danger of being priced artists out by major labels, corporations and streaming services. Younger generations have indicated that they are ready to support innovative digital music experiences, which means the audience is there, and the tech just needs to deliver.

Tech entrepreneurs have the opportunity, and maybe even the responsibility, to help preserve arts and culture. My team and I are committed to leveraging the power of tech to help communities of people, particularly underserved communities, through digital transformation. I would challenge other tech companies to do the same. Those that cannot financially contribute still have the ability to donate their knowledge and resources through education programs, marketing, network connections and partnerships. With this kind of cross-industry collaboration, we will be able to innovate ourselves into the future.

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