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4 predictions for live music in 2021 and beyond

A band performs on an orange-lit stage in front of waving fans

2020 has been a challenging year for musicians. With the Covid-19 pandemic bringing an end to live concerts and music festivals, artists have had to rethink their approach to performing and promoting their music. 

But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. The vaccine for Coronavirus is being rolled out around the world, and experts say we may be able to start saying goodbye to some of our lifestyle restrictions later on this year. 

How will this change the music industry over the next?

We’ve put together some of our predictions for the music industry this year, along with tips on how you can prepare to advance your music career in the coming year. 

Prediction 1: Live music comes back, but with a few changes 

An audience watches a well-lit stage at a concert, with their hands in the air

At this point in the pandemic, almost everyone is longing for the days when we could go out and socialize without fear of spreading disease. When we get the green light from officials to resume some of our old activities, we expect people will be raring to go. 

Once live music is back in business, venues will have no problem selling tickets. This is big news for indie musicians, because live performances are some of the best ways to promote your band and grow your following. 

But we don’t expect live music to come back exactly as it was before. Venue owners have learned a lot about the importance of health and safety, and they’ll be incorporating new measures into their protocols as soon as they open. In fact, big companies like TicketMaster are already talking about using software to verify ticket holders have been vaccinated before allowing them to enter a concert venue. 

How does this affect you as a musician? If you can demonstrate that you also take safety seriously, you’ll be far more likely to land a gig. This means being cooperative with any new sanitation processes a venue expects, and also showing that you value safety. There’s never been a better time to post a masked selfie with your bandmates to demonstrate that you have taken the pandemic seriously and will continue to do so as long as needed – you might even want to add masks to your merch line!   

Venue owners like working with musicians they can trust. Before the pandemic, this meant they favored bands that showed up on time, communicated effectively, and were professional from start to finish. Now, it means all that plus being respectful of any long-term changes we make following this pandemic. 

Prediction 2: No matter what happens, live-streaming is here to stay 

A band is seen performing through the lens of a camera

If the vaccine does indeed allow us to get out of lockdown, people are going to be eager to get out of their houses. But they aren’t going to throw away their phone and laptops—our lives were highly digital before the pandemic, and we’ll continue to consume media on our personal devices even after Covid-19 is in the rearview mirror. 

On top of that, many artists have already realized the value of live-streaming their music on social media sites like YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok. It allows them to reach new audiences around the world, connect with their fans, and even find new collaboration opportunities. 

Back in March, we published an article about Covid-19 and provided some tips for live-streaming. These tips are still relevant today. Even if you didn’t get your live-streams off the ground while we were in lockdown, it’s not too late to start. 

Prediction 3: Dancing in the streets leads to a renaissance for buskers

A man sings and plays guitar next to a man playing the saxophone against a brick wall

Though the vaccine is being rolled out slowly over the course of this year, it’s likely that in a few months, cities and countries may announce the end of Covid-related restrictions. 

And we expect people are going to burst out of their houses as soon as this happens. We’ve all been cooped up so long, people will likely take to the streets to see friends and family and just be around other people—even if that means just walking through the parks or strolling down city streets. 

And therein lies another opportunity for indie musicians. With so many people eager to get out of their houses, you may have a large audience milling around the streets of your hometown. 

In our article 21 ways to make money with music, we highlight busking as one of the best ways for musicians to earn income. Most buskers probably packed up shop once the pandemic arrived. You can get ahead of the game by being prepared to hit the streets once your area starts to see more foot traffic. People will be happy to see you!  

Prediction 4: Happy tracks to the front of the line

A well-dressed woman plays guitar smiling in a record store

Current events have always had an impact on music. Musicians are like meteorologists—pay attention to what they’re saying, and you’ll get an accurate reading of the world at large. 

During the Great Depression, genres like jazz, big-band, and swing helped people cope with their troubles. During the pandemic, we’ve seen some of this too—dance tracks like Dua Lipa’s Don’t Come Out and Lady Gaga’s Rain on Me helped us dance away in our PJs. 

But we also saw a surge of melancholy tracks. Take this Glass Animals LP, Dreamland for example. 

If you need any other examples, turn your attention to either of the surprise albums Taylor Swift dropped in 2020. 

As we emerge from the darkness of 2020, we expect that the pendulum will swing the other way again. Peppy, upbeat tracks will rise to the top as people look for ways to shake off the misery of the last 12 months. 

If you plan to release new music this year, it would be smart to write a few tracks that reflect this happy attitude. You may find these songs become your most popular tracks, and with a bit of savvy marketing, you could even find your music trending on Spotify or TikTok. 

It’s impossible to know what the future holds, but from where we sit, 2021 is looking a lot sunnier than the year gone by. No matter what happens, people will always need music to help them cope and express themselves. From everyone at Whabby, we wish you a happy new year with plenty of successes to make 2021 a year to remember. 

4 predictions for live music in 2021 and beyond
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