Welcome to the 8th edition of 6MO, our semi-annual report on music industry trends. In this edition, we use three proprietary features—Chartmetric Artist Score, Chartmetric Career Stage, and Chartmetric Track Score—to highlight the most important artists, tracks, and music industry trends from the last six months of 2022, giving you a sense for the future of the music business in 2023 and beyond.
Breakthrough 100: Chartmetric Artists With Career-Defining Moments
Our Breakthrough 100 represents emerging artists who were previously Undiscovered, breaking artists who were previously Developing, rising artists who were previously Mid-Level, and artists entering the stratosphere after enjoying Mainstream success. To compile this list, we scanned our database for artists who started July 2022 at Undiscovered, Developing, Mid-Level, or Mainstream Chartmetric Career Stages* and ended the year at more advanced career stages. From there, we determined which of these artists had the biggest growth in Chartmetric Artist Score* from July 2022 to December 2022. The result is a Top 25 list for each of the four career stages below Superstar and Legendary. In other words, this is a list of 100 artists—at varying stages of career development—to watch in 2023. You can listen to them here as you read.
Mainstream to Superstar: Nigerian singer Rema is a leading figure in the global rise of African music, with the bulk of his Spotify listeners in Mexico, India, and the United States. A remix of his popular Afrobeats track “Calm Down," which features Selena Gomez, has more than 200M YouTube views, and he is currently Nigeria’s and African Pop’s No. 1 artist based on the Chartmetric Artist Rank.
Mainstream to Superstar: Sofia Carson rose to fame thanks to Disney’s musical movie trilogy Descendants. The Colombian-American actress broke from Disney to pursue a career in music, but it was her starring role in Netflix’s Purple Hearts film and soundtrack that helped her music take off. Carson's soundtrack single "Come Back Home" is currently her No. 1 song based on Chartmetric Track Score.
Mainstream to Superstar: South Korean singer Jung Kook is known worldwide as the vocalist of K-Pop’s biggest group, BTS. However, he has also been building a name for himself. His single “Dreamers” was the official soundtrack of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, and his acclaimed performance at the championship’s opening ceremony likely exposed him to demographics beyond his core K-Pop fanbase. Following “Dreamers,” which is Jung Kook’s highest-ranking solo song, he became one of the Top 25 artists in the world based on the Chartmetric Artist Rank.
Developing to Mainstream: Regional Mexican music genres are having a moment, with Mariachi, Banda, and Corrido artists gaining popularity beyond their core fanbase. Grupo Frontera are less than a year old, but they already have 13M+ Spotify monthly listeners across Latin America and the United States. The Texas-based group rose to fame thanks to their Norteño style cover of “No Se Va” by Colombian Latin Pop group Morat, which went viral on TikTok and was used in nearly 1M videos. In just three months, Grupo Frontera made three appearances on the Billboard charts, making them one of the few regional Mexican artists to ever do so.
Developing to Mainstream: NorthStarBoys, or NSB for short, started in 2021 as social content creators, but after getting millions of followers across their social media accounts, they ventured into music with their debut single “you are a star” in 2022. Their 38K+ Spotify monthly listeners are spread around the world, with the highest concentration in Delhi, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur. NSB is also an example of the growing number of Western artists of Asian descent finding popularity worldwide.
Mid-Level to Mainstream: Brazilian Funk artist Dj LK da Escócia saw a spike in popularity in late 2022 as his single “Tubarão Te Amo” with MC Ryan SP, MC Daniel, MC RF, MC Jhenny, and Tchakabum went viral on TikTok. The track, which has been used in 1.4M TikTok videos, has diversified the artist’s fanbase across the world, as he now has more than 10M Spotify monthly listeners across Portuguese and non-Portuguese-speaking countries. His growing international popularity aligns with the worldwide rise of Brazilian music genres.
Undiscovered to Mainstream: Phonk artist ONIMXRU rose to popularity thanks to his track “SHADOW." While the song was released in July 2022, it didn’t get traction until a month later when its sped up and slowed and reverb versions went viral on TikTok. The original track now has 51M+ Spotify streams, helping propel ONIMXRU to the Top 5K artists in the world according to Chartmetric Artist Rank.
Undiscovered to Developing: The second half of the year saw the rise of New Age and Instrumental Undiscovered artists like Rippling. Tracks like “Safe Here” and “Fly” highlight the relaxing nature of his music, and his most-streamed track, “Zero Gravity,” has accumulated more than 1.35M Spotify streams since its release in early 2022. Rippling is showing High Chartmetric Career Growth and currently ranks in the Top 20K artists in the world according to Chartmetric Artist Rank.
Viral 25: Chartmetric Tracks That Went Off
Our Viral 25 represents tracks that trended across multiple platforms, from TikTok to YouTube, Spotify to Shazam. To compile this list, we scanned our database for tracks that had the biggest growth in Chartmetric Track Score* from July 2022 to December 2022. The result is a Top 25 list of some of the hottest tracks on the internet in H2 2022, which you can listen to here as you read.
Thanks to the power of dance challenges, Luclover's "L$d" quickly went viral as influencers Charli D'Amelio, Noah Beck, and thousands more posted the track to their profiles. The song has now been used in 6M+ TikTok videos, bringing it to No. 1 in countries like the U.S., the U.K., and Canada. As a result of the track's success, Luclover racked up 2M+ YouTube views, nearly 2M Spotify monthly listeners, and playlist placements on Apple Music's Viral Hits and Spotify's Top 50 Viral Songs—all in just a month's time.
After finding success on the London club circuit, Eliza Rose's "B.O.T.A. (Baddest Of Them All)" went viral on TikTok, where it gained 250K+ likes and landed Rose nearly 4M Spotify monthly listeners. With the ascent of “B.O.T.A.” during the fall of 2022, Eliza Rose became the first female DJ to lead the UK Singles chart in 20+ years.
As Steve Lacy's "Bad Habit" climbed its way to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 2022, the album Gemini Rights served as another sparkling example of how much popular music norms have changed. Released on July 15, 2022, the project's soulful, Afrofuturist sound quickly broke through mainstream barriers and blew up on platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
Kordhell’s breakout track “Murder In My Mind” is the product of one of this year’s biggest TikTok trends. Phonk is a subgenre of Hip-Hop and Trap that draws upon—and distorts—old Memphis Rap tapes and samples from the '90s. Following its release in 2022, “Murder in My Mind” amassed 560K+ TikTok posts and 200M+ Spotify streams.
After her initial rise to fame as the runner-up of American Idol season 14, Jackie Miskanic, aka Jax, skyrocketed to stardom with breakout track “Victoria’s Secret." Critiquing the deep-rooted misogyny and body shaming in which the eponymous lingerie company sowed its seeds, the track found viral success on TikTok as millions of listeners identified with Jax's lyrics: “God, I wish somebody would've told me when I was younger that all bodies aren't the same.”
Stephen Dawes' “Teenage Dream” plays into the 2000s nostalgia trend that we saw dominate TikTok in 2022. By reimagining Pop sensation Katy Perry’s 2010 hit, Dawes has managed to net 1.8M+ TikTok videos, 50M Spotify streams, and 7.5M+ YouTube views for his version of the track.
As we discovered in our 2020 analysis, YouTube channels like COLORS, VevoDSCR, and NPR's Tiny Desk can have a career-defining impact on the artists they feature. The trend remains the same for Oxlade, the Nigerian Afrobeats artist who debuted his summer single “KU LO SA” on a COLORS show, growing the track’s Chartmetric score by 1.1K in just three months.
Rising Philadelphia rapper Armani White made a lasting impact on TikTok this year with his high-energy track “BILLIE EILISH.”. Featured in dance trends, skate compilations, and videos of all kinds, the track’s success landed Armani White his first Billboard 100 hit, along with an exciting record deal from Def Jam Records. It's an interesting example of an artist brilliantly capitalizing off of another artist's fame—not through plagiarism or anything nefarious but through search and recommender system optimization.
2022 Music Industry Trends and 2023 Predictions
If past is prologue, then the budding trends from the end of 2022 are likely to carry over and bloom in 2023. Based on the Breakthrough 100 artists and Viral 25 tracks for H2 2022—plus six months of observations and analysis on the Chartmetric blog—these are the top music industry trends we've identified from the second half of last year.
A New Age for Instrumental and AI Music
Of the 25 previously Undiscovered artists who had reached a different Career Stage by the end of 2022, five are classified as either New Age or Instrumental, suggesting that the pandemic's acceleration of ambient music, which we examined in an article about COVID-19's effect on the global music business, hasn't slowed down. That said, these artists are largely relying on streaming engagement to buoy their career growth, eschewing—intentionally or otherwise—a significant social presence or digital fandom and relying instead on algorithmic success.
For artists pursuing a Pop trajectory, high engagement and low follower conversion is usually not a great sign. However, artists releasing New Age and Instrumental music represent a new model of success. Chances are they won't be touring much or selling expensive merch, so the calculus is much different when it comes to marketing. Rather than trying to capture active listeners, these artists are getting a tremendous volume of passive listeners who likely enjoy these compositions as context-dependent soundscapes. While it's been almost four years since Warner signed AI platform Endel to a record deal, if you couple that deal with the rise of passive, contextual listening and the GPT-3 phenomenon, you have soil that's ripe for AI music to quickly corner the New Age and Instrumental market.
The Glocalization of Mainstream Genres
For a while now, Pop and Hip-Hop have been the dominant genres of the global mainstream. That's not likely to change in 2023; however, these mainstream genres are showing signs of huge transformation as a result of globalization. According to sociologists like Roland Robertson, a key effect of globalization is glocalization: Rather than globalization developing a monoculture around the world, local influences end up augmenting global exports in unique ways—and vice versa—creating hybridized forms of culture at both the global and local levels. This is true of everything from McDonald's to popular music, and the rise of regional Latin and Afrobeats music is the perfect illustration of this phenomenon.
As Pop and Hip-Hop have reached into virtually every corner of the connected world, Latin music—including regional Mexican music genres and Brazilian music genres—and Afrobeats—including artists like Asake—have reached right back. Regional genres from Latin American and African markets are increasingly influencing what's at the top of the global charts, with a quarter of the Breakthrough 100 artists, and roughly half of the artists who went from Mainstream to Superstar or Legendary, having some sort of regional Latin or African influence. Thanks to glocalization, rather than Pop and Hip-Hop losing their edge on the global stage, the locus of influence is instead shifting from the Anglosphere to other markets with their own versions of these mainstream genres.
TikTok Trends Can't Stop and Won't Stop
Reiterating how much TikTok has disrupted the music industry seems like overkill at this point, but you really can't ignore TikTok trends if you want to make smart music business decisions moving forward. So, here are three significant ways in which TikTok is continuing to exert its influence on music.
Composition and Community
Whether it's putting remixing capabilities in users' palms or creating spontaneous pockets of music communities, in just the last six months of 2022, TikTok gave rise to the Nightcore, Slowed and Reverb, and Phonk phenomena. The virality created through these organic trends has, in turn, given music industry professionals new ways to market music. From ONIMXRU, at No. 2 on the Breakthrough 100: Undiscovered, to "Murder on My Mind," at No. 14 on the Viral 25, or any number of sped up and slowed down remixes helping artists and tracks blow up, it's worth looking out for TikTok's ongoing effect on composition and the communities that form around new scenes.
Something particularly unique to TikTok as a platform is the contradictory relationship it engenders between users and time. As short-form video contracts music consumption duration, it simultaneously expands release cycle timelines. In a weird way, as minutes and seconds start to matter more, days, months, and years start to matter less. In our last 6MO report, we investigated the growing window—from 18 months to a decade or more—of frontline releases and the revolutionary way labels are able to revitalize older tracks through TikTok. However, new tracks have also benefited from TikTok's ability to capitalize on nostalgia. Jax's "Victoria's Secret," a critical reconsideration of a quintessential 2000s brand, landed at No. 1 on our Viral 25, while Cole Swindell's "She Had Me at Heads Carolina," which draws upon a late '90s track by Jo Dee Messina, landed at No. 18 on our Viral 25. Many sped up and slowed down remixes also tend to draw upon 2000s-2010s nostalgia, suggesting that as you look forward to 2023, it might also be worth looking back.
Long before TikTok was a twinkle in the tech world's eye, Netflix totally upended the television and film industries. There's no question about that. However, when it comes to the music industry, TikTok has become integral to the sync ecosystem. From Sofia Carson's Purple Hearts moment to The Cramps' Wednesday surprise, Netflix might have provided the gasoline, but TikTok lit the fire. It might not be the easiest thing to land a Netflix sync, but when you manage to do it, connecting the dots across platforms is crucial to ensuring success at the track- and artist-level.
*Chartmetric Artist Score is a global popularity index that condenses more than 50 metrics from 16 social media and streaming platforms into one number.
*Chartmetric Career Stage is a long-term career view calculated according to the median of the past 360 days of an artist's Chartmetric Artist Score.
- Legendary: Top 1.2K artists who started releasing music more than 30 years ago
- Superstar: Top 1.2K artists who started releasing music in the last 30 years
- Mainstream: Top 2K-8K artists
- Mid-Level: Top 8K-30K artists
- Developing: Top 30K-1M artists
- Undiscovered: Top 1M-8.5M+ artists
*Chartmetric Track Score is a global popularity index that includes all relevant track performance metrics across seven music platforms, including Spotify, YouTube, TikTok, Airplay, Soundcloud, Pandora, and Shazam.
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