2022 State of Music: TikTok Is the New SoundCloud

Here’s what 2021 was like for the music industry and what we can expect in 2022.
2022 State of Music: TikTok Is the New SoundCloud
Insights
Urska Jaksa

We put the largest verified music database of artists, festivals, tracks and playlists to work and crunched the annual numbers behind every relevant music and social media channel. These include Spotify, Beatport, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, SoundCloud and radio. 

This means that our State of Music address is fuelled purely by music data and paints a realistic picture of the music industry today.

👉 Download the full report here. 👈

We analysed more than a trillion data points, gathered from December 9, 2020, to December 9, 2021, across multiple channels, and looked into the top 50K artists on each channel, 100K Spotify playlists, 50M tracks and music videos, and the top 500 music festivals. We also used the findings to predict music industry trends in 2022.

Let’s review the main topics.

The top 1% rule social media and music channels

The lion’s share of engagement and fanbase growth belongs to just 1% of all analysed artists. The long tail of streaming and social media therefore challenges emerging artists to build solid promotional strategies for breaking through and reaching audiences. Our data reveals what works best on Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, radio, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. See the full report for details.

Tech House dominates the Beatport charts

Tech House remains the most popular genre on Beatport for the third year in a row. It represented 44% of the top 100 Beatport tracks in 2021, including four of the top 5. The best-performing track was “Set U Free (Extended Mix)” by Guz.

Top 100 Beatport tracks in 2021 by genre.

Top 100 Beatport tracks in 2021 by genre.

We also highlighted the top-performing artists and labels on Beatport

For emerging talent, TikTok is the new SoundCloud

TikTok was the most visited site of 2021 and also the go-to channel for artists who wish to break through, especially in the Pop and Latin genres. Many artists successfully used it to boost their streaming numbers.

Our State of Music address lists the freshest Pop, Hip Hop, R&B, Rock and Latin artists who made the most of the year. It also features the names to watch out for in 2022 based on the waves they’re currently making on Spotify. See the full report for details

Hip Hop is killing it in streaming but snubbed on the radio

Hip Hop and K-Pop artists are absolutely smashing it when it comes to streams and social media engagement. Non-English and multilingual tracks thrive online as well, but they seem to have trouble getting through radio “gatekeepers”. 

Spotify streams vs. radio spins for 50k artists in 2021.

Spotify streams vs. radio spins for 50k artists in 2021.

Get the full report for a more detailed breakdown of the top 5 countries that are home to the most played artists, and the countries’ differences when it comes to genres.

Music festivals: Electronic artists came out on top

Less than a third of the top 500 music festivals in the world actually took place in 2021, but at least this was slightly better than in 2020. Most of the active festivals (34%) were Electronic. Of those, 36% had Hip Hop or Pop as a secondary genre, while 57% booked mainly Electronic artists.

Primary and secondary genres of festivals in 2021.

Primary and secondary genres of festivals in 2021.

If you’re a festival organizer, these insights plus the list of promising new talent might come in handy when putting together a cool lineup. 

Trends: Short videos will rule, genre lines will blur

After seeing what data has to say, we predicted eight trends that will define the music business in 2022. Here’s five of them, with the full list available in the report: (1) personalization, (2) K-Pop and Latin going mainstream, (3) TikTok as a career launchpad, (4) short videos gaining power and (5) further blending of genres.

1. Personalization will be at the forefront.

Personalization will drive success. Labels, artists and other professionals will benefit from fan-first approaches to their promotion, merch and distribution. Personalized experiences also go hand-in-hand with securing digital revenue, such as tipping or paid subscriptions.

2. Non-English music will take over the mainstream. 

South Korean sensation BTS made it into Viberate’s top 5 on almost every channel, and YouTube saw a huge rise in the popularity of Asian Pop and Latin genres (especially Reggaeton). Unlike radio or TV, online music channels have little to no gatekeepers, thus pushing multilingual (non-English) music into the mainstream.

3. TikTok will act as a career launchpad. 

Not only was TikTok the most visited website in 2021, it also helped artists like BoyWithUke, Tokischa or Wet Leg draw the spotlight. In a way, Spotify “seals the deal” – the artists who transform a TikTok hit into solid streams are the ones with real potential. We can therefore expect more talent discovery and promotional efforts to focus on TikTok and other social media.

4. Short videos will rule. 

Easily digestible formats such as TikTok will be the most useful promotional format for artists to stand out and get discovered. As audiences adopt the DIY approach, content will be more important than production value.

5. Genre lines will blur further.

Rising and breakthrough acts prove genre-bending and blending is more popular than ever. Check out promising Pop talent PinkPantheress to hear what we’re talking about. Artists and audiences prefer moods to traditional genre labels, with the trend extending to popular streaming playlists catering to specific occasions. For example, Spotify’s “Songs to Sing in the Shower” playlist has a hefty 6.4M followers. 

Check out the full list of trends in the report.

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Urska Jaksa

Urska Jaksa

Managing Editor at Viberate
Storyteller with a nerd eye for music data. Believes in the healing power of group singing, while her ultimate cure are live shows.