It happens every year. Some jumped up music journalist thinks he or she knows what the future of music will hold. Yet while most of these predictions usually turn out to be long-shot hopes at a direction where integrity and professionalism finally trumps over mediocrity and watered-down pop music, 2017 is already shaping up to be a very interesting year for music, both in how it sounds and how we plan to hear it. So without getting too much on my high-horse, here are a list of areas in today's music culture where things could definitely become shaken up in the next 12 months.
We discussed this area a few weeks ago where we predicted that the album format could quickly become obsolete due to the rise in online streaming services. And it looks like trend could be happening even faster than we thought back then. Already a lot of major labels are beginning to slow done their production of physical releases and opting simply to release them as download only, while others are releasing LPs online, months before they intend to put them in the shops. This habit has now left many artists questioning the idea of the album and many have already begun to switch to simply releasing new singles every couple of months. We probably won't see a massive change next year but you can bet that a number of major artists will probably ditch the album format in the coming months.
Even More Grime
While grime certainly had a massive revival in 2015 and mostly again in 2016, many believed that the genre had reached the end of its hype period and we were going to see the beginning of the end for the genre in a commercial sense. That was until Skepta took home the Mercury Prize in September, and threw new life back into the scene. Since his win, labels have begun snapping up new grime talent anyway they can, expecting a wave of not only Skepta-wannabes to emerge but also a public gunning to hear more of this music. It's obviously still in its early days but you can probably expect another 'Feed Em To The Lions' style grime anthem to come out in the next few months.
The Return Of Drum N Bass
Rudimental and Sigma definitely took advantage of the tail end of a very good few years for drum n bass. When Pendulum first broke out in 2007, the demand for drum n bass on mainstream radio reached an unprecedented height, before finally giving way to the pop-hybrids of the scene in the last couple of years. But now it seems that artists like DJ Hazard are bringing that credible side to the genre back to our ears, and the demand for more of the traditional drum n bass sound is growing by the week. It may not come to anything but it certainly seems like the scene could be getting its groove back once again.
PC Music Enters The Charts
This is definitely a weird one that I don't think anyone would have seen coming this time last year, but it certainly seems that PC Music are growing tired of their underground status and are heading for the big leagues. If you are unaware, PC Music is an alternative pop label set up by producer A.G. Cook. Its aim is to create the most sickly-sweet pop-dance music possible, while also breaking conventions of traditional production and musical intentions in general. Yet thanks to acts like Charli XCX and Carly Rae Jepsen collaborating with names on this label, we could see this cult imprint begin to make waves in the top 40. And after that, it will be only a matter of time before major artists clock onto this new sound and expunge as much as they can from it. Who knows, it may even pave the way for a Europop comeback.
The X Factor Loses Its Edge
Again, something else that comes up every year but it seems that people have already started to turn their back on The X Factor, no thanks to their continued support of Honey G, a middle-aged white woman who thinks she can rap, but actually can't and doesn't even come close to talent. While many defend her presence on the show, stating that it is just entertainment, her place in the finals has finally begun to alienate huge swathes of potential artists who previously saw the show as a way into the industry. While most people know that the show hold no real support for their acts and their careers post X-Factor, it has finally become clear to emerging talents that this show is not the way forward for them, and as a result has seen massive drops in viewers this year already. We probably will see it reappear on our screens again next year, but you can bet that the bar they've set themselves will be far lower than we could imagine.
An Indie Resurgence?
From the years 2004-2010, indie music was probably as big or even bigger than it was in the days of Britpop. There seemed like no end to the number of new bands breaking into the charts every week, only for them to disappear into oblivion some months later. But then Mumford & Sons happened and the whole thing went kaput. But after a few years in the wilderness, it seems like a number of newer bands are getting far stronger fanbases than we would have seen only a year ago. Names like Hinds, Spring King, Sundara Karma and The Big Moon have begun to get some serious traction behind them this year, and while probably aren't yet on course to become the next Arctic Monkeys, it showed great promise that the popularity of the genre is rising once again, and so surely will be hitting the mainstream again very soon.
So Who Should We Look Out For?
This year has been an incredible year for new talent, especially those only just emerging in the latter half of 2016. Rather than give them all a reason to like them, I'll just list them with a link to their music so you can hear for yourself why we think the following names will become some of the stars in the year to come.