Making predictions for as unsure a yr on the music calendar as 2021 includes peering into the murkiest of crystal balls, given how difficult it’s to forecast when dwell music will return in any massive and even small method. There’s a domino impact at play that goes past the dwell sector, with so many artists nonetheless not wanting to place out music till they’ve an assurance of once they can tour behind it. Nonetheless, we’re keen to put our bets on some possibilities.
Selection lately ran a rundown predictions encompassing all the show-biz realm; listed below are a few of our extra prophecies particular to the music world. Simply be light on us if it seems they do discover a solution to vaccinate all the concert-going world in time for Bonnaroo or if, 12 months from now, Adele and Rihanna are nonetheless holding out on us.
• Adele could have the yr’s biggest-selling album.
In fact, everybody anticipated a sequel to “21” and “25” prior to now, as the chances for a “29” and even a “31” got here and went. However the singer has packed plenty of life expertise into what might or will not be referred to as “32,” together with a wedding, start and divorce, and has additionally made it pretty clear that 2021 would be the yr to share it with us. That latest “Saturday Evening Dwell” internet hosting look? A toe within the water of a return, seemingly, possibly we may get all our commentary about how totally different she appears to be like out of the way in which so we are able to give attention to the music when it seems. Discover that we’re predicting top-promoting, not top-streaming; it’s completely potential that somebody like a Drake may finish the yr on prime in total consumption. However Adele’s viewers, like Taylor Swift’s, will likely be there to show albums nonetheless (often) matter. —CW
• Music catalog gross sales — gross sales of artists’ IP troves, that’s — will choose up.
With the touring enterprise briefly sidelined, IP will consolidate its place as probably the most bankable asset within the music enterprise. The publishing-catalog shopping for spree (paced in latest weeks by offers made by Scooter Braun and Bob Dylan) will calm down a bit as soon as the Biden administration pushes for greater capital beneficial properties taxes. More and more savvy artists will combat to retain or achieve management of their work. —JA
• The goalposts for when main live shows return will preserve transferring… previous the summer season season, forcing nonetheless extra pageant postponements or cancellations.
All of us may need gotten out somewhat forward of our skis, because it had been, when it got here to being hopeful concerning the summer season following the primary spherical of vaccine jubilation. On the eve of New Yr’s Eve, Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted an honest quantity of herd immunity and “some sturdy semblance of normality” being potential by early fall, “if we do it accurately” with vaccine rollouts continuing on schedule within the months of April by means of July, when he expects immunization photographs to be absolutely obtainable to the general public. Many festivals that already introduced dates for 2021 — like Coachella, which remains to be formally on the books for April — are prone to be seeking to reschedule for autumn, however aren’t leaping to declare any new dates but as a result of they do need to see if vaccinations can keep on monitor. (Fests in areas of the nation with spottier mid-fall climate than the California desert could also be in harder spots.) As for nationwide excursions, many main artists might relatively play it protected and maintain out for 2022 relatively than threat placing followers by means of a second annual spherical of serial postponements. Membership reveals will doubtless come again first — as a result of they will, not needing to place tickets on gross sales six months prematurely like arenas… and since they have to, if they will even preserve paying the hire till Labor Day. —CW
• TikTok will handily survive the assault from the Trump administration.
Seemingly everybody besides TikTok has already forgotten about it, truly. The service will stays the principle supply of latest expertise for file label A&R departments. In the meantime, TikTok will tangle with Triller and Twitch in a tongue-twisting battle over the music that nobody can pronounce, not to mention comply with… —JA
• Rihanna will return, and will probably be monstrous.
How lengthy has she been teasing us with a brand new album? Keep in mind this Instagram message?: “Replace: me listening to R9 on my own and refusing to launch it.” That was in December… of 2019. If she felt like she was unready to launch it then, when COVID was only a gleam within the eye of some animals in China, think about how a lot much less prepared she was to place it out as the entire concept of a launch technique was being shot to hell throughout lockdown. It’s not like she has any want to concern new product: As you might have seen, she has a couple of different sources of revenue. However Jan. 28 will mark the fifth anniversary of her earlier album, “Anti.” Anticipation for a followup has grown, not dissipated — a brand new album will likely be a serious occasion on a degree none of her earlier launches had been. Even when it will simply be a blip in her checking account in comparison with different profitable product traces, taking note of the flagship enterprise remains to be a necessity. —CW
• Taylor Swift could also be finished releasing new albums for some time… however not essentially previous ones.
Swift was on an incredible roll with three albums within the final yr and a half, beginning with 2019’s “Lover” and prolifically persevering with with this yr’s shock drops (and dramatic breaks from type), “Folklore” and “Evermore.” Will she proceed to maintain the meeting line going? Perhaps nothing must be counted out from somebody who began and completed two albums between March and December. However followers hoping for one more fast follow-up within the quiet vein of those newest releases may be setting themselves up for disappointment. Regardless of the mysterious, faint look of the phrase “Woodvale” on a “Folklore” album cowl that raised “trilogy!” hopes, Swift has mentioned that was merely a case of a code identify unintentionally being left on, not an Easter egg teasing a 3rd launch in the identical vein. She’s additionally mentioned she thinks “Evermore” completed what felt undone on the finish of “Folklore.” (After which there’s the “does she actually need to compete with Adele?” issue.) Different exercise could also be restricted for Swift, too: The “Lover” stadium/pageant mini-tour postponed from 2020 is definitely not going to be a go in the summertime of ’21, both. However when she mentioned lately that she couldn’t look forward to followers to listen to her re-recordings of her Huge Machine catalog (as already teased within the debut of a “Love Story” snippet in a Match industrial), that augured properly for anybody itching to listen to a few of the outcomes of her self-copycatting. If the sequel to “Evermore” does seems to be, say, “Crimson Redux,” followers will likely be prepared for it as a hella-intriguing stopgap between “actual” albums. —CW
• Huge artists who’ve been holding onto their releases will determine to lastly unleash them relatively than look forward to touring to be a certainty.
Loads of main acts, not simply Rihanna, have been bogarting their new materials, not wanting to place it out till the prospect of a tour is firmly in sight. That firmness should still be months away, however most of the largest stars will likely be letting go of that treasured cargo within the assumption that arenas will likely be heat and welcoming once more within the winter. Drake, Morgan Wallen, Lana Del Rey and Foo Fighters are 4 who’ve already declared their intent to dominate the music information cycle within the first couple months of the yr, and in addition to the aforementioned expectations for contemporary product from Adele and Rihanna, we additionally anticipate new albums from Lil Nas X, SZA, Cardi B, St. Vincent, Pusha T, Lorde, Kacey Musgraves, Kendrick Lamar, Florida Georgia Line, Gwen Stefani and J. Cole.
• Pay-per-view livestreams: not going away, even after “actual” live shows come again.
Whereas we’re sure to see fewer PPVs when venues open again up, plenty of music followers have found they like being on the sofa and never having to fret about whether or not they’ll be caught behind a 6’6″ dude at their favourite artists’ reveals. And, greater than that, not everybody goes to really feel protected going out, even when the CDC offers the all-clear. Particularly for older artists and audiences the place being a part of a scene isn’t the principle factor, monetizing livestreams is right here to remain on some degree. The large query for 2021 is seeing how the worth factors shake out, as a result of this previous yr they had been everywhere, and music followers nonetheless don’t know whether or not an inexpensive value level is $15, $100 or (es) the lingering expectation of “free.” —CW
• At this month’s Grammys, headline-making multi-award sweeps will give solution to spreading the love.
Dua Lipa is the one artist who’s nominated for all three prime all-genre Grammy classes — album, file and track of the yr — as we head towards the Jan. 31 telecast. That doesn’t imply she is a shoo-in for the kind of sweep Billie Eilish loved final winter. (Eilish truly swept all 4 genre-crossing marquee classes, together with greatest new artist, however Lipa can’t win that final one; she already did, two years in the past.) It’s simple to think about a state of affairs for the 2021 Grammys by which every of these prime three awards going to a distinct artist — with, say, Lipa’s “Don’t Begin Now” prevailing for file of the yr, Taylor Swift’s “Folklore” wining album of the yr, and Beyonce getting her due for track of the yr for “Black Parade.” If Lipa did go in opposition to all expectations and win all three of thee massive ones (and doubtless some pop style classes in addition to), there’d hardly be any disgrace in that; she made the closest factor to a note-perfect dance-pop album we’ve had this century. However recognizing a fuller spectrum of the ladies who’ve lengthy been stepping up can be a fair higher search for the Grammys. —CW
• The Weeknd could have his vindication when the 2022 Grammy nominations are introduced this fall.
In an effort to atone for his scandalous 2021 Grammy shutout, the Recording Academy will nominate the Weeknd for a file 20 nominations — smashing the file set by Michael Jackson and Babyface with 12 — together with nods within the pop, R&B, rap, rock, nation, gospel and jazz classes…? —JA