HIVEWIRE #04: The future of music scenes lies in subcultures and storytelling

For new young markets, streaming can be more engaging because they can choose what they want to hear for the first time. They are born with a remote in their hand, unlike any generation ever before. It’s access at an unparalleled level.

HIVEWIRE #04: The future of music scenes lies in subcultures and storytelling
Steve Harvey

Last year, I was invited to a conference in South Africa. Before that trip, music discovery had become too comfortable during the pandemic. I knew the sound I liked and stuck to it, letting Spotify just feed me what I needed. Experiencing Amapiano and Gqom in South Africa, a new flavour of House and Techno was precisely what I needed to bring my drive for music back and discover new cultures and stories.

My trip to South Africa was incredibly transformational to my career and identity. Experiencing thriving local scenes in a market almost unwilling to give in to a Western sound, that too without a local flavour made me rethink and re-educate myself on embracing my identity. As an Indian millennial, I can promise you, us urban kids grew up with a promise that the more “Western culture” we embraced, the cooler and popular we would be. This behaviour trickles into the Music Cultures today that have struggled to come through urban centres in India.

What intrigues me personally is the amount of music I consume every time I return from an International trip compared to before,the first being passive and the latter being extremely active. I never consumed music through Playlists but now, music consumption for me has become a game. Now, it’s about making playlists and constantly adding to them. If you don’t believe me, here is a seven-hour Amapiano playlist to prove that point! This has led me directly to my new blog about the Music Industry, entering another era of subcultures and making Music discovery fun again through the lens of storytelling.

The future of music scenes lies in subcultures and storytelling

We have re-entered an era of subgenres and subcultures

Streaming Music Services initially started as a way to cater to the growth of Traditional Music markets. However, its importance is now moving quickly towards predominantly serving emerging markets. This is not because the development of new subscriptions has slowed down in the West. It is because the way new markets engage with the Music Industry draws more engagement to streaming as opposed to traditional markets. Music discovery is the most engaging aspect of streaming services, where streamers actively interact with the platform in search for new music. For new young markets, it drives engagement to the platforms that give them the most accessible option to discover more. YouTube and Spotify are best placed to offer that to new music fans.