Understanding the Music Business in 2020

The music industry changes every year, but 2020 has been a wild ride with unprecedented disruption. Trends bubbling under the surface have risen to the top and sent ripples throughout the industry. Many legacy organizations have been forced to turn on a dime and adopt new business methods to stay afloat in these unpredictable times.

While there is significant potential for growth in the music business, several constraints face the sector. Let’s zoom in on some of the trends shaping the world of music right now. 

Power Shifting to Indie Labels

Indie labels have attracted interest and attention from big-name artists for a while. However, major labels face stiff independent competition and will need to switch up their approaches to remain relevant.

We’re seeing major labels start to adopt indie label tactics to ensure that they recruit and retain promising artists. Artists have more power within negotiations, and talent managers, such as Three Six Zero’s Mark Gillespie, will play a more central role in orchestrating winning deals with majors in the future.

The Increasing Role of Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality technology has made a splash in the video game world but is becoming an integral part of how we consume music as well. This year has seen many artists perform shows in VR environments, helping fans experience the fun of a live performance. 

Major artists like Gorillaz have already recorded and released a VR music video. This is a trend you can expect to gain traction in the music industry as headsets and software become more accessible to the masses. 

Streaming Stronger Than Ever

Statistics indicate that streaming services account for 80% of the revenue earned on recorded music in the U.S. Music lovers stream anywhere and everywhere, thanks to mobile networks and a huge variety of platforms to choose from. Spotify has become the premier music subscription service, but others are gaining steam as well. 

For example, Apple Music has emerged as a major streaming force, boasting more than half of Spotify’s paid subscriber count. YouTube is also capitalizing on its music video dominance by providing a dedicated streaming service with ad-free features. 

Making Music is Easier Than Ever Before

Perhaps the most powerful development in the music world is that almost anyone with a laptop can have their shot at stardom. Recording and releasing music was once impossible without a huge network of resources and support, but no longer.

From Bandcamp and Soundcloud to YouTube and other social media platforms, young artists are quickly rising up the ranks and attracting fans with amazing independent music. Talent managers won’t be getting much sleep as they now need to track exciting new artists 24/7. 

The Increasing Role of Tech

The music industry has always been on the front lines of tech, from the record player to the iPod. Now, voice recognition is the new thing. AI-driven home assistants like Alexa and Siri allow you to simply call out the name of your favorite artist or song and enjoy the music. 

Audio accessories like speakers, headsets, and soundbars are also advancing rapidly. Customers are clearly willing to spend extra on quality, and the industry is responding with some truly game-changing gear.


The music industry has shed many of its old ways, and the future looks bright. Expect to see significant power shifts, with artists enjoying more creative and contractual freedom from their labels. Technology will continue to give artists new platforms to connect with audiences in ways that were previously impossible. 

Regardless of the inevitable challenges of Covid, the music industry looks to be in great shape for the decade to come. 

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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