As people, we are constantly changing and like everything else, musical tastes shifts with us. Your taste in music can change at different points of your life because of things that happen to you. One day you’re really into hard rock and then later decide that hey, I’d rather listen to jazz. In any case, our experiences, pop culture and the state of the economy are likely to affect what we are listening to during that time period.
Currently, I see a shift toward more genuine music that emphasizes vocal abilities, musicality, and unique sounds (in the case of Gotye). The popularity of Adele shows that simply singing great music without being flashy appeals to audiences. People connect with Adele’s music because the feelings she expresses in her songs are relatable and emotional. In these rocky economic times, people want to hear music like Mumford & Sons or The Civil Wars to go back to simpler times or they want to forget their problems and listen to Skrillex. More indie/alternative rock groups and musicians are finding success with mainstream audiences which is evident with top songs on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart going to acts like Gotye and fun.
Along with all this, the DIY and Independent music scene are growing because people want to be in charge of their own paths and the direction of their music careers. Just last week, The Jonas Brothers left Hollywood Records and reclaimed their catalog of music. An example of success by an Independent musician is indie folk singer-songwriter Bon Iver. Bon Iver has found success with his drifting quality music and won the 2012 Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album.
What shifts do you foresee in music? For Musicians, I advise you to follow this piece of advice that I’ve heard from many industry professionals: Focus more on writing quality songs instead of chasing after a trendy, disposable song. Wouldn’t you rather have someone remember your song 10+ years down the road instead of having a hit song that is forgotten within a couple of months to a year?