Opportunity in Crisis

In Beats + Bytes by Nue Agency

I’m not going to lie, the roaring twenty twenties are not playing out the way I hoped. We went from a pandemic to a recession to a paranormal state of potential crisis. But there is opportunity in crisis. The world is shifting fast and big evolutions are on the horizon.

Last week I broke down some of the trends I saw in 2022. This week, we’re onto 2023. Here are some fun predictions for how the year of the rabbit might run…

Web 2.5 – Web3 isn’t ready for primetime. We’ll see more use cases with more intermediary steps: digital collectibles, fan club communities, digital ticketing, XR (AR & VR) and the Metaverse…but it won’t necessarily be on blockchain. Web3’s breakout companies will start to take shape in 2024 as we (hopefully) bust out of recurring market downturns. In the meantime, it’s all about proof of concept for the general public, which still needs greater understanding of the benefits of Web3.

Twitter Dies in the Court of Public Appeal – I’m sick of the toxicity of Twitter. It just doesn’t feel good on the platform right now. I think there’s a better home for our conversation and I have a feeling music tastemakers are going to help scale the new short-form news and messaging platforms. May your last Tweet be your best one.

Hip-Hop 50 – Next year marks the 50th birthday of the most important cultural force of our lifetimes. I’m greatly indebted to Hip-Hop and still as obsessed as ever. Hip-Hop’s 50th will be the party of the year, all year long!

Long: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Disney – dominant companies are only becoming stronger, smarter, and better equipped for the future. They’re looking recession-proof if you ask me. I’m long for all of them if they sidestep legislation and keep shaving costs. Look for Apple’s Metaverse headset and marketplace to be a game changer. I guess it’s no longer FAANG but what do we call this new super power? DAAFG?

Vinyl Continues to Grow – In a digital-first world, physical continues to grow in relevance. I’m getting deeper into vinyl and I think others will too.

Vintage Marketplace – Vintage collectibles in the physical form lend themselves to the blockchain in a very smart way. I think we’ll begin to track the sale and value of these items and, all of a sudden, we’ll have our own marketplace of cool stuff. Think Myspace meets Facebook marketplace.

Music NFTs are Dead: Long Live Web3 Music – I’m sick of the term NFT when talking about music. It’s like the term MP3. Yes, it was a door-opening format that led to Apple Music. which led to iPods, which led to the iPhone and App Store. NFT’s have the same potential but, with all due respect, nobody wants to hear about your Music NFT, bro. In 2023 we’ll cut the jargon and get into projects worth investing in!

IPO in 2023 – If you are planning to go public in 2023, I’d say grand opening, grand closing. Hold your horses another year if you can survive this winter. There will be a Spring.

Creators Economy Builds the Next Hits – It’s harder than ever to launch a brand. That’s why I believe the best way to do it is with creators. Look at MrBeast’s model. Look at Reese Witherspoon. Look at Ryan Reynolds. Look at Fenty. This is the time to launch brands and products with star-studded teams. I think music creators are the top talent and have the penchant culture shifting. I’m bullish on the music creator economy in 2023.

Marketing Creators – With more creators creating, marketing services become more important than ever. There is a hole in the market in how to get creators and musicians off the ground. I’d expect an agency, platform, or suite of services to emerge and fill this void because breaking through the noise is such a pain point.

Ziwe Blows Up – She’s quite a character. Her interviews are amazing. Her skits are hilarious. She’s social media savvy and already making waves on TV. It feels like she’s just getting started. There’s a fun gap in the marketplace that Ziwe fills. Move over, Desus and Mero. Sweet Dreams, Oprah. It’s Ziwe’s time to shine. Her next season will be a breakout.

Rihanna is Artist of the Year – This might be obvious but with the Super Bowl Halftime show on February 5th, there’s no question that an album and global tour will follow. Rihanna hasn’t dropped an album since 2016 and I expect 2023 to be the year of Rihanna, which will ripple from now through the 2024 Grammys. Not to mention the Fenty empire, which is set to leapfrog Victoria Secret. The Super Bowl Halftime Show could be the greatest branded Fenty commercial of all time.

Newsletters and Podcasts Merge – This might be a hope or need, but there are so many great podcasts and newsletters now that somebody has to bring them together. How nice would it be to have every article available as an audio version and every newsletter to have podcast audio as well. This is the future of content. Read along or listen at 2x speed. Whoever figures out how to create this click-to-listen button will win the newsletter and podcast game.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation Are Forced to Break Up – They were able to prolong investigations due to the pandemic, but it’s clear that this isn’t good for the consumer, the artist or the competition. I’m a big fan of Live Nation and the team behind the behemoth, but I hate Ticketmaster. Break this up and it changes the game in terms of data, fees, fan-to-artist relationships, and the whole concert ecosystem. That’s a good thing for everyone in the industry.

Brands Remain the Medicci’s of the Arts – Remember when a brand partnership was seen as selling out? Now it’s a badge of honor. A proper music and brand partnership can be a difference maker for both sides. I’m always on the lookout for more creative ways to do this. They will surge in 2023.

Music is the Trojan Horse – when it comes to artist revenue, it’s all about fandom and ancillary dollars. Monetize everything around the music and make the music the main marketing vehicle for an artist’s brand.

Performance on Moon – The race to rock in space is on. Who will win?

2K Style – We are heading into an era that is all about the Y2K style and aesthetic. I love the 90s as much as everyone but 2023 is going to be about that turn of the century playlist.

Netstolgia – It’s not just Napster, Limewire, and Winamp making big moves. Look for more brands to reinvent themselves in the upcoming year.

The Bedroom Producer Becomes the Hit Maker – Anyone can be a producer with so many exciting tools at our disposal now. When you mix in AI and easy-to-use sample parsing like LaLaLa.ai, the possibilities are endless. Look for more companies and gamification around taking stems and making great tunes.

Fans Get Personal With Artists – Look for fan and artist personalization to re-emerge. Do you want an artist to sing you happy birthday, record you a song, have a virtual coffee with you, invite you to a recording session, or make a jingle about a topic? All of that is up for grabs and on scale. 2023 will be Kickstarter on steroids.

IRL DAOs – Digital communities that connect people in a physical world are only going to get bigger and more impactful. Conferences and niche events are going to thrive.

Commerce & Content – Online shopping and concerts are coming to a bigger stage with platforms like Amazon, NTWRK, YouTube, and others coming to the table.

The Bridge Between Asia and American Content is Crucial – Asian talent wants to break in America and U.S. talent needs to figure out how to break in Asia. I know it’s more complex and nuanced than that, but whoever builds this bridge will yield huge results.

Live Music Continues to Boom – It’s a great time for music and events. We want more of them and this industry will continue to thrive even in a content heavy world.

This is the time of year to look inward. I’m taking the next few weeks offline to process, read, recharge, learn some new skills, and explore Costa Rica. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season.

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Also published on Medium.