How the Music Business Will Change in 2020 (Hold onto your butts)

Music promotion

Blow away the competition in 2020

This year there are more people seeking careers in music than at any time in the history of humankind.

Do you want in on the secrets to blow-away the competition in 2020

I’ll show you which trends and technologies are losing leverage, and which are set to revolutionize the industry.

The artists who learn to anticipate and take advantage of these changes will have the biggest rewards.

Freedom from big tech

Over the last decade, social media has developed into a trap for artists. 

With most artists relying on social media to reach their audience, music discoverability was handed over to corporate tech gate-keepers. 

These companies have algorithmically cut access to fans, some requiring larger and more expensive ‘boosts’ to reach them. 

This year many artists will tire of being dependent on the tech giants and will find innovative ways to promote their music.

According to Michael Donaldson – founder of 8DSync & “…independent artists are increasingly introducing homegrown strategies that are entirely within their control.

You see this in the rising talk of reclaiming fandom, direct support of artists, and the importance of individual ‘stories.’”

Last year we saw top artists make an effort to remove the middle man and own the relationship with their fans. 

One example is celebrities giving out their phone numbers and asking fans to text them.  

Efforts to forge more personal connections with fans will increase in 2020, shifting more power to artists.

The death of radio

YouTube will kill radio

Since the 1920s, radio play has been coveted by artists of all genres.

Not long ago, radio was what made an artist break out, but that is all coming to an end. 

Data presented by Mark Mulligan of tells the story. Currently, “just 39% of 16-19-year olds listen to music radio, while 56% use YouTube instead for music.”

This can be good news for today’s artists because radio campaigns involve spending huge amounts of money and networking with Disc Jockey’s and Programmers.

Tools for Independence

Direct access tools for fan/artist connections are rapidly improving for 2020; helping artists take more ownership of their careers.

In the past, A&R men were necessary for setting up collabs and gaining access to stems and other music assets from celebrity artists.

Collaborate & remix

Today, online tools like Splice make it easy for artists of all levels to collaborate and for independent producers to access sample packs from the world’s top producers.

For decades, labels were necessary for helping an artist connect with licensing opportunities.

In 2020, you have many options for getting your music in front of brands. 

Licensing & Sync’s

An example is the tech company Instrumental. They use data science to match the right brands and advertisers to new music. No middleman is necessary 😉


But what about financing? Surely labels will always be necessary for taking a rising star and pushing their brand into the stratosphere with large cash advances. 

Even that business model is in jeopardy in 2020.

Now alternative financing companies are starting to appear! 

So a rising artist can keep their IP rights and get their own funding without the use of a label–or rich uncle moneybags. 

Investment firm 23 Capital has already spent $2billion in direct capital across the sports, music & entertainment sectors.

Do you think labels are still necessary?  If you have an opinion, leave a comment and we’ll give you 20% off any of our Spotify Playlist Promotion campaigns.

Is Tik-Tok really the next big thing for music?

I’ve been hearing so much about Tik-Tok for promoting artists.  Especially how it helped Little Nas X become a celebrity.

A lot of “experts” are saying it will be the best tool for music discovery in 2020.

I think the hit with Little Nas X was more of an anomaly than a glimpse at the future of music hits.

I did influencer campaigns for clients back when Tik-Tok was still in America and wasn’t impressed with the Results vs Cost. 

Measuring Tik-Tok ROI

My problem with and Tik-Tok is that it is difficult to measure ROI, and there is no payment to the artist per spin.

With a Tik-Tok campaign, you pay a bunch of kids to make a short video to your song with a “challenge”, … but then what? 

Tik-Tok low engagement rate

Users of Tik-Tok rarely link out to discover more about something.

The engagement rate for Tik-Tok is extremely low for a social network.  

It’s only 29% compared to Facebook’s 96%, Instagram 95%, Snapchat 95%, and YouTube’s 95%. 

On Tik-Tok, users are more interested in the influencer and their own video than the song.

Only music that is really simple and catchy has the possibility of going viral.

Artists don’t get $$$ with Tik-Tok

The other thing I didn’t like about Tik-Tok is that it is not set up for artists to get paid.

It is set up for influencers to get paid by sponsorships. The influencer is the star, not the recording artist. 

So how am I supposed to promote in 2020 you ask?

If it’s not Tik Tok, what social networking site can I use to reach my fans?

Enter The Triller

In 2017, the Music video creation app “Triller” had 2 employees.

After evolving into a social video sharing app, Triller vowed to become an alternative to Tik-Tok.

According to their press release in October 2019, “Triller has grown 500 percent organically year-over-year, with 13 million active monthly users and 60 million total downloads”

Although 60 million is small for a social video app, I think that’s the best time to get involved and start creating content.  

People who are some of the first stars of social networks usually end up being the biggest when everyone else jumps in.

According to Prnewswire, in December, Triller has “…some of the highest usage time within social apps (over 20 minutes average, with three times a day login average for users, and over an hour daily by creators),

TRILLER is surpassing TikTok with over 26.5 million monthly average users and more than 75 million users.”

This growth is impressive but the features for artists and the fun of this app are what I love the most. 

Triller is an app with the music business in its blood.  

Some industry investors include The Weeknd,  Marshmello, Juice WRLD, Young Thug, Kendrick Lamar, TI, Jake Paul, Troy Cartner and Ash Pournouri (former manager for Avicii).

I can’t predict the future but keep a watch on this rising app for musicians. 

Right now the majority of the 26.5 million users are in the hip hop niche, but with the recent massive investments in Triller, they’ll be able to grow even faster…

We saw Facebook explode out of its college niche to worldwide use and Triller has the ability to do the same. 

If you’ve used Triller, leave a comment and tell me what you like or don’t about it … and we’ll give you 20% off any of our Spotify Playlist Promotion campaigns.


In conclusion, 2020 is going to be the beginning of artists reclaiming their fans and being more personal with them.

Radio will no longer be the best way to break artists. This is great because radio campaigns are expensive and not independent artist-friendly.

The tools for artists to cut out the middlemen and go directly to fans will proliferate in 2020.

There are already tools like “Instrumental” for artists out there and they will only get better.

If you’re serious about your music, pay attention to new apps and their growth.

They may be the stimulant the music streaming industry is looking for. And a more direct path from you to your fans.

If you want to get weekly updates, promotion discounts, and artist guidance, sign up for our newsletter on the link below.

36 thoughts on “How the Music Business Will Change in 2020 (Hold onto your butts)

  1. Cameron Bryce

    Triller and Tik-Tok are for kids, not my audience.

    • Josh Post author

      It’s smart to know your audience. Your right Cameron, those places are not for all audiences but can help certain genres.

  2. Randall Lee Richards

    Hey Josh, this is great! You’ve been very good helping me with the last few of my singles including the current one. I’ve got about 320,000 Spotify streams in the last 18 months. Almost 4,000 in last 2 days. I’ve got 8 new tracks ready to go and they are my best yet.
    How can you help me break out this year with all these things?!! Can I pay you to do that?

    • Josh Post author

      Great job Randall, sounds like you’re killing it. Please email me and we can discuss your situation personally. With your momentum so far there is a lot we can do to help you reach more fans.

    • Josh Post author

      I’m happy you found it helpful. Thanks for the comment.

  3. TJ Waltz

    Great info in this article. I completely agree that social media needs to be viewed as both a benefit but also a hindrance to the aspiring artist.

    • Josh Post author

      It really has TJ. But artists always find the way and I’m happy to see artists taking some power back this year.

    • Josh Post author

      Good luck with “Instrumental.” Please drop me a line and let me know how it goes with them. My partner and I have a request to license some music for Vivendi so please also send some of your tunes to: so we can listen too. Instrumental music is great for syncs!

  4. Matthew

    This is good except what are your plans to correct having songs placed on playlists that do not include the genre of the song. Putting songs in playlists that aren’t the same as the genre of the song (ie house tracks on all rap playlists..) actually severely hurts an artists chances of having the algorithms pick the song up to be placed into their playlists

    • Josh Post author

      Hi Matthew. We have a small team working for us and I would like to personally review your issue regarding getting on a wrong playlist. This sometimes happens but is not acceptable so I will correct this and sorry for the inconvenience. Thanks for making me aware of this and for your comment.

  5. OG Stick-Man

    Hey! I really appreciate you for them tips cause i use each one them but you just put me up on alot about triller…

    • Josh Post author

      Trilller still has some growing pains and some adjustments need to be done to their algorithms but I like the team. The fact that they already have licensing deals with the major labels makes me happy too. Triller wants artists to get paid from the beginning.

  6. Anthony Banks

    I’m definitely very interested I sent my song to u on dec 17 I’m just waiting for a reply I hope u like my commercial hip hop song

    • Josh Post author

      That’s great news. Our team is reviewing submissions and when we get to yours we’ll add your 20% discount. Thanks for commenting.

  7. Andrew Foah

    Great article. For someone who is no longer in middle school or highschool getting some of this information actually helps.

    • Josh Post author

      I’m happy this helps Andrew. I’m doing a series of articles over the next months so please look out for future ones in your inbocx, and thanks for your comment.

  8. C. Gibbs

    Thanks for the article. Would be great to hear about more tips for music placement as that seems to be where the $ is now…
    Also, touring is a very expensive endeavor . Any tips on effective touring as opposed to just ” hittin’ the road” would be great.. as we all know the road is hit or miss.. Basically if an independent artist had $2000.00 to promote their album where would you suggest putting that $ where it is best utilized: touring?, playlist promotion ( of course with Spotifly!)?, PR ( most require 3 month minimums at minimum of $1000 a month so that exceeds the $2000 budget)?..
    Thanks again for the article

    • Josh Post author

      Thanks for the suggestions C. Gibbs. I’ll send you some personal tips about touring in the next few days. I have set up 2 independent tours so I do have some tips to share. I think your other suggestions about budget utilization will make a great article. I’ll start working on one but these blogs take some time because I want the information to be detailed yet easy to understand.

  9. Blair Woods

    Back to the labels, I don’t think labels themselves are too necessary anymore, but I do believe the people and contacts that smaller artists may not have are what’s still important. Some contacts can do for smaller artists what smaller artists cannot do for themselves financially.

    • Josh Post author

      Good point Blair. So you think labels are still necessary for more important contacts and for financing?

  10. Mike C

    Are labels still necessary?? if you need money for the promo of your music, then sure they serve a big part of the industry still. But most of them have downsized their internal staff levels and their experts are now running their own promo service companies and still do all the work for the labels. So if you can find those great people and work with them direct, you get to by-pass the entire “try and get a record deal” nightmare and get on with recording and promoting great music!

  11. Joseph

    Great article!! I think everyone is tiring of the social media model. I’ve been putting more effort recently into my email newsletter.

    • Josh Post author

      That’s a smart move. I would even go as far as getting the phone numbers from your fans too if you can. You can use tools like Google Voice to receive free text messages on your laptop for quick/easy responses. Whatsapp can also be a great tool for getting more personal with your fans and sharing content without reliance on algorithms.

  12. Darryl M

    Josh this article was helpful in my eyes as I’m always looking to get ahead in the music world. I started an account with Triller & I’m finding it way more effective than tiktok, at least for me. I’m getting 10 times the engagement! Thanx man.

    • Josh Post author

      Great to hear that! I have more tips coming out this week. Happy to help Darryl.

  13. Dakota Smart

    Thanks for the insight! I don’t think labels are as necessary in 2020. With today’s technology, a little investment and time, perhaps independent artists like myself can learn to promote our music independently.

    • Josh Post author

      That’s the right attitude. I’ve been researching my next blog post and reviewing the best new tools for artists to promote independently. I’m blown away at what’s available right now.

  14. Pingback: The Most Powerful Music Promotion [You Never Heard Of] – Playlist Promotion

  15. Sahony

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I don’t think we need labels anymore.. I mean we see it more and more each day – people that have a deal are trying to get out of it. Eliminating the middle man may feel like more work at first, but it gives us artist the very thing we been asking for years – control over our careers and our creativity.

    • Josh Post author

      Very true, in the long run it’s always better without a middle man.

Comments are closed.