How will music evolve in the next decade?

Tom Moorcroft discusses how music will evolve over the next decade.

Tom Moorcroft
10th February 2020
After picking up this article at The Courier’s writers meeting, I walked back to my desk, sat down and thought: “Look what you’ve got yourself into”.

If Uni work and my own work with The Courier wasn’t enough, I’d decided to tackle one of life’s many unpredictable questions: “what will happen in the future?” For those like me, lacking the physical ability to do so, I guess I’ll have to tackle the question my own way, by seeing how it’s evolved over the last few decades.

Whilst it may be somewhat biased to just allocate different artists to different decades, I thought I’d take a gander at some of the best selling artists decade by decade, to get an all round perspective on the music of the time. Looking at the Grammy Awards, which started in 1959, we can take a look at some of the acts over time that have received critical acclaim, and thus see how they’ve changed. Given that this next decade will feature some bright, new talent, I took a swift look at the ‘Best New Artist’ category, and if any familiar faces have cropped up here or there. Starting in the 60’s, one can imagine that a name I instantly saw was The Beatles, who won in 1965 for their hard-hitting, English rock vibes. The following year, The Voice judge Tom Jones took home the award, perhaps for his all-time classic hit ‘It’s Not Unusual’. Similar styles of music stained the 70’s, with acts such as America, which any Breaking Bad fans will recognise from the song ‘Horse With No Name’, and 71 runner-up Elton John continuing the rock-y vibes of the mid 20th century. The 80's, however, took somewhat of a slight shift, with acts such as Tracy Chapman and Christopher Cross inspiring a folk-ish aspect to American music. In the 90's, we saw pop-singer Mariah Carey win, alongside other acts such as Sheryl Crow and Hootie and the Blowfish, which overall shows the diversifying nature of music before the turn of the century.

In the last 20 years, this diversity has clearly followed. We’ve seen rap artists, such as Chance the Rapper and 50 Cent, on the list, alongside heavy-metal acts of Evanescence and pop-icons such as Dua Lipa and Meghan Trainor. A name which I couldn’t fail to mention, Billie Eilish, exemplifies this perfectly, with her current blend of indie-pop and electronic rap seeing her take home 5 Grammys, the joint 3rd highest for one night by a female artist.

Not only are the acts we’re listening to changing, but the way in which we do so is evolving as well. If you ask your parents, or even look back to the past depending on how old you are, you might be able to find CDs in your attic, or maybe even Cassette tapes. Not only have these been and gone, but the following methods of buying and downloading music has become extinct too, with subscription based music platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify dominating the market. However, the ability for new artists to post their music on sights such as Instagram, YouTube or Soundcloud has truly blessed the up and coming artists of the last decade and the decade to come. The aforementioned Billie Eilish saw a mass following after posting her video, Ocean Eyes, on YouTube, and if you scroll down Instagram today, you’ll be exposed to various acts such as The Hunna, Sports Team and even The 1975 who are making use of the interconnected world of social media today.

I think that there are two schools of thoughts when thinking about how music has evolved over time. We’ve got the shift in artists and thus the genres they come with, and also the way in which music has been taken in and enjoyed by fans. If we look on from the rockin’ 60's, to the emergence of folk and country acts in the 80's, and the pop and rap injection of the 2000's, we can see that music is constantly changing. Not only have different genres emerged, but the blending of genres, which we can see through current acts like Tame Impala, Billie Eilish and Tyler, The Creator must leave one hopeful for what the future has in store. Also, with the rise in streaming of all platforms, nevermind music, we can see that the availability of music has increased massively. The ability for younger artists to get their music out to the world has given the future artists of the 2020’s the platform to promote their talents across the globe. If we look at how far acts such as The 1975 have come, from playing local pubs in Manchester to headlining Reading and Leeds over the course of a decade, who knows what the future acts the 2020’s have in store.

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AUTHOR: Tom Moorcroft
Head of Sport for The Courier. Current 3rd year English Literature and History student. Love writing about sports/music, playing the guitar and Everton FC!

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