Opinion

I have 10 predictions for music in 2024

[This was my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca. Meet me back here in a year to see how well I did. – AC]

As we get closer to the one-quarter mark of the 21st century, it may seem that things are changing faster than ever before, especially in the areas of culture and media. I deal with music for a living and even I can’t keep up with everything that’s going on. But I think I can see things clearly enough to make some predictions and observations for music in 2024.

1. Music will become even more fragmented

In the olden days, we got all our music in measured doses by record labels, radio, music magazines, record stores and video channels. Today, everything ever recorded is available to us all the time. There’s no one place — like the radio or MuchMusic — where we all go to hear/see the artists that everyone is talking about. Consensus on what’s “good” and who’s “big” has completely broken down. There’s no centre to music anymore. With the exception of a few acts, “big” has never been smaller.

Few acts unite us as they once did. There was a time when we all ran to the record store to get that one album everyone was talking about. We handed over cold, hard cash, making a financial investment in the artist. Today, there’s so much music to choose from for zero cash layout. We spend all our time idly hitting the “skip” button. We’re all overwhelmed. Music has become devalued. Today’s stars are smaller than those from days of yore.

By way of proof, American radio chart analyst Guy Zapoleon pointed out that 2023 had fewer “consensus hits” — songs that were featured on at least 50 per cent of America’s top 40 stations — than any previous year. How many? Just 18, down from 28 in 2020.

Meanwhile, there seems to be a growing disenchantment with current music. About 75 per cent of all music consumed today is older than two years. That’s not going to change.

Nine more to go.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38452 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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