Imagine being transported to a bustling street in Mumbai, where the vibrant sounds of Bollywood mingle with the rhythmic beats of local underground hip-hop and dance music scenes. Or better yet, strolling through my favourite cities of South Africa with Amapiano and Gqom parties all around! These are just glimpses of the musical diversity treasure trove in emerging markets.
I believe the next great musical revolutions are bubbling up in unexpected places. While mainstream music often takes centre stage, the gems and heroes from emerging markets are rapidly capturing our hearts. Their stories, sounds, and cultures inspire us to celebrate authenticity and embrace diversity in the global music industry.
So why place such a spotlight on rising markets? Aside from growing up in one, it's simple— they are the pulse of creativity and innovation in music today. As the industry evolves, we are drawn to these dynamic and rapidly developing regions, where untapped talents and unique cultural expressions flourish. Through my dedication to exploring and sharing these stories, Hivewire will showcase scenes, trends, consumption landscapes, rights frameworks, and developing entertainment ecosystems from these diverging markets through industry news, essays, artist spotlights, and cultural contexts. The newsletter will navigate the complex yet unique new markets through Hivewire's four pillars: Creation, Collaboration, Community, and Culture. Sign up to learn more!
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Emerging music markets are now diverging
A new phase of the music industry has emerged, with new markets taking control of their futures
In the dynamic landscape of the music industry, emerging markets have gained tremendous significance, rising as critical players in recent years. Once considered untapped territories, these markets have become the focal point for the entire music industry, providing the much-required narrative of expansion as investors seek new growth opportunities while developed markets approach saturation. However, as new untapped markets continue to evolve and grow, a noticeable trend has emerged - they are diverging. These markets drew inspiration from developed markets but are forging their paths, catering to their socio-economic standings and cultural nuances. Frequently, these markets take distinct directions that set them apart from traditional music powerhouses.
Activating new revenue sources led to the creation of new creative talents
Initially, the objective was straightforward: to generate revenue from untapped areas to discover new sources of income for existing music catalogues. However, these initiatives have activated a new age of artists and creators, ready for new inspirations and opportunities to recontextualise their cultures and identities using readily available tools for creation. The emergence of new communities and scenes from this era of creators, such as Reggaeton, K-pop, and Afrobeats, has taken the global music industry by storm. New subcultures and scenes from markets like Mexico, Argentina, South Africa, the Middle East, and various parts of Asia are taking on the world faster than ever. Rising scenes include Amapiano, Neoperreo, Cumbia, and Dandgut. Additionally, a range of new hip-hop, folk, and electronic scenes worldwide are cropping up globally through streaming platforms. Traditional genres like Cumbia have been recontextualised and infused with a unique flavour as new generations discover and engage with them.
Regional nuances and cultural diversity result in diverging industries
An emerging market is a region that is transitioning into a developed economy. These markets possess rich cultural diversity, characterised by unique musical traditions, genres, and styles. This cultural richness contributes to developing vibrant local music scenes and emerging new genres or subgenres. However, technological advancements are only beginning to penetrate these markets, bringing an influx of smartphones, internet access, and streaming platforms that significantly impact music consumption patterns. As these markets experience economic growth and expanding middle-class populations, consumers find new ways to engage and interact with music. Consequently, emerging markets often develop in ways distinct from traditional markets due to cultural nuances (e.g., classism in Egyptian music consumption), disposable incomes (e.g., India's diverse behaviours across urban and rural centres), and historical relationships with consumption (e.g., the continued growth of ad-supported consumption in Southeast Asia).
The emerging music industry growth requires context, not control
Understanding the local nuances of new music markets is crucial for enabling growth and progress in both local and global music industries. New markets are now more focused on community, culture, and collaboration than ever before (evidenced by the abundance of featured or collaborative artists in Reggaeton or Amapiano songs, for instance). We have entered an era of diversification where the future of music will sound different and exhibit diverse consumption, engagement, and fandom patterns revolving around cultural diversity. Emerging markets have drawn inspiration and lessons from developed markets, and they are now making their own rules, diverging into unique markets that are reshaping the music industry landscape.
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