Palm Reading at the Trap House: A Prediction of 2020’s Media Industry 862 words · 5 minute read

Last weekend, I was at a pop-up trip-hop party in a remodeled two-story on Chicago’s west side to check out a glitch-grime DJ whose SoundCloud my brother had DM’d me on the preceding Friday.

True story.

I stood beside a precariously stacked column of speakers, watching my fellow trap lords “Snap” the technicolor stage, and I thought to myself, “The times, they are a-changin’.” No, literally. To the carnivorous delight of the surprisingly cultured crowd, the DJ remixed Bob Dylan’s iconic “The Times They Are A-Changin’” with an overdub of drum and synth with violent, dramatic bass drops.

That moment – the Instagramming Millennials, the revolutionized oldie, even the DIY music-space – represented something much greater than just another ordinance violation and neighborhood nuisance. It is the new face of the media industry.

Consumers are virally sharing the stories of their real-life experiences. Content is repurposed and personalized to fit individual tastes. Places of engagement and interaction (whether that’s online like social media or offline like the migratory Trap House of last weekend) are blossoming where consumers can cultivate their own experience without the intrusion of advertisements.

In 2020, user-generated content will be more ubiquitous and in-demand than branded content, and there will be a greater focus on authenticity and storytelling than advertising and marketing.

Currently, the media and content world is defined by communication. Through the proliferation of social media, brands of all kinds have been forced to evolve from traditional product-marketing practices to open and creative conversation with consumers. That conversation doesn’t rely on annoying jingles and buy-one-get-one-free advertisements anymore. It’s comprised of content that is authentic, that is story-based. And it’s only going to get better from here.

Millennials and Their Music

Music is one of the top passion points across the globe, and its value to consumers is still rising. On August 11, Next Big Sound announced it had tracked over one trillion plays across Pandora, Rdio, Spotify, SoundCloud, Vevo, Vimeo, and YouTube since January. Music is a key companion to the life experiences of Millennials, as the innumerable “Workout,” “Dinner,” and even “Sleep” playlists on Spotify demonstrate.

People score their lives with soundtracks, and brands are finally learning to do the same with the stories they tell.

The media industry is getting more musical. Synchronization – when music is licensed for media like TV shows, films, advertisements, video games, and more – is on the rise, according to IFPI’s “Digital Music Report 2015.” Synchronization revenue, or “sync” for short, increased by 8.4% total with huge gains in global markets: +46.6% in France, +35.5% in Japan, and +30.4% in Germany.

Brands, television shows, films, and video games are investing more money in better music to tell stronger stories, a pivotal shift for the media industry.

According to the 2015 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing privately-owned companies in the United States that was released August 12, media is the second fastest-growing industry and is expanding at an aggregate growth rate of 247%. Music Dealers, a music licensing company that syncs independent music in all types of media, ranked in the top 30th percentile as the 22nd fastest-growing company in the media industry. And we weren’t alone. At least five other music licensing companies joined us, illustrating that sync – and therefore music in media – is on the rise.

Customer Experience to Take Center Stage

There’s another growing trend that will quickly dominate brand campaigns, probably even before the Trap House is condemned: customer experience.

According to a recent report by Adobe, “Digital Trends 2015,” customer experience has become a key priority throughout the industry. In fact, 22% of client-side organizations view customer experience as the most exciting opportunity for growth. Customer experience is flourishing because of higher consumer expectations for how brands of all industries should communicate with them. Consumers want to share stories, to give something meaningful to the brand, and to receive something meaningful, too.

The growth of apps like Flipagram and Magisto illustrate that consumers want to create their own stories. Because of better technology, their production value even rivals branded content. Music Dealers partnered with Magisto to provide users with real music to sync to their videos, and Flipagram recently announced similar partnerships with major labels, independents, and publishers to allow users to set their photo or video stories to music.

Music and storytelling are swiftly becoming top priorities in consumers’ lives. By 2020, those two passions will coalesce even more as new technology will make it gradually easier for consumers to quickly create high-quality, shareable stories.

In 2020, media will no longer be beleaguered by B2C advertising. The media space will instead be defined by C2C storytelling, and brands will have to facilitate that shift if they want their stories told, too.

So that means no leaving the Trap House at 2:30 am just because of a misguided glow stick. If brands want any share of the media space in 2020, they’ll have to stick around for the headliner and help their consumers tell their own stories. ‘Cause if you didn’t notice, the times, they are a-changin’.

By: Zach Miller, Music Dealers

Photo Credit: danielle_blue

Photo Credit: Jason Howie

Photo Credit: rachealvoorhees