BENGALURU: Let’s face it. We thought 2020 would be the year we redefined what it means to be cool. Instead, we redefined commuting, going to school, and catching up with friends. Unsurprisingly, music was our top source of comfort. Spotify is now one of the 100 top-growing companies in the United States. Music is now our all-day companion -- while we work, do laundry, cook, try to get kids through online schooling, and moderate yet another fight between the cats (just me?). Stanford University professor Baba Shiv recently said we haven’t necessarily created any new trends; we have just accelerated existing ones. Collaborating remotely was already a reality, but in 2020, we were all forced to jump on board overnight.
Things are no different in the world of music, where we have all been creating and experimenting with a newfound medium for months now. Here are some interesting ‘trends’ to keep an ear out for:
1. At the beginning of the lockdown, musicians were releasing new songs to spread messages of hope and solidarity. Cross-cultural collaborations and live videos were an integral part of the quarantunes trend. Now, however, musicians are looking for ways to monetise their art online and learn a sustainable living from it. And it’s a lot easier to get started on this path when the online medium is seen as something new to adapt to, and not as a replacement to physical concerts altogether.
2. Music videos have taken on a new look -- from being shot in exotic locations to being intentionally raw. Earlier, musicians would do everything to hide the fact that they were shooting a music video at home. Today, it’s the standard aesthetic. (FYI: if you’re looking for great backgrounds, you cannot go wrong with a stack of books or magnet walls.)
3. Musicians are learning new skills. We are building parallel skills like video editing, camerawork, and more. Software like OBS is used for better production of live concerts, and artistes are also conducting workshops and teaching everywhere.
With no end in sight and no real understanding of what’s going on, it’s important that we do what we can to survive in the moment. And say what you want about the present, but it has the best technology we could have ever had. (The author is a singer, songwriter, educator and social entrepreneur)