Music trends 2022 – how artists can stay ahead of the curve

Image Credit: Viberate

Releasing new music in 2022? Read on for the secrets and tips you need to hear to get ahead of music industry trends as an independent artist this year.

What will be trending in music in 2022? For artists making and releasing songs this year, keeping an eye on what’s popular in the music industry is a must.

Music data analysts Viberate have released their predictions for music in 2022, based on the trends from the past year in the music world. They looked at aspects like how trending music artists used social media and which were the most popular music genres. Within their findings there’s some golden knowledge for artists who want to know what moves to make to be successful over the coming year.

What should artists look out for, and how do you take advantage of what’s trending in 2022? Read on to take your release to the next level.


Image Credit: Viberate

Multilingual tracks are going mainstream

BTS are in the top five of every one of Viberate’s lists of most popular artists. Even on SoundCloud, where the average top artists are American rappers like Polo G, BTS are at number two. Proof that you don’t need to sing in English to win big in the age of worldwide streaming!

K-Pop artists generally don’t get played on the radio, but they rule the streaming waves. For radio plays artists must first pass the “gatekeepers” who decide what gets played. On streaming services, where K-Pop is popular, an artist can upload their music themselves trough a free distributor like RouteNote, and listeners can then take their pick of the millions of tracks on offer.

What this means for you: If you’ve been holding back a multilingual track because you thought it wouldn’t do as well, let 2022 be the year you release it to the world.


Should artists follow trends?

Chasing a trend often seems pointless – once it’s been identified as a trend in the first place, chances are it’s too late to jump on the bandwagon. Jumping on a social media trend is a great way to snag some engagement, but other users can sniff out a marketing ploy a mile off.

TikTok in general is one “trend,” however, that shows no signs of dying off. In 2020 the platform was dismissed as a fad for teenagers – now TikTok is catching up with Instagram and YouTube for popularity, and some sources say it’s the number one place online to discover new music.


TikTok is making artists famous

…And you could be next. 2022 will see TikTok continue to be a career launchpad for musicians. A snippet of a song used in a viral video leads to a boost in streams for the artist; major label A&R teams scour the platform to find the next big thing before anyone else catches on.

If you use the platform well big things could happen for your music in 2022. We’ve got ideas for how musicians can use TikTok here:


Monetize your social content

That personalised fan experience we just talked about? Time to make some money from it. 2022 will see the digital monetisation that emerged in the pandemic become the norm, with artists getting involved in selling NFTs, digital merch as alternative revenue streams.

Platforms like Twitter offer tipping options, where followers can show their appreciation for the content their favourite artists create online. This one-on-one engagement is a two-way street, and the more reactive artists are to their fans the better.


Get personal with fans in 2022

When it comes to marketing, interacting with your fans should come first before anything else. Delivering a personalised experience for your fans is going to be more important than ever in 2022. Fans want exclusive content; behind the scenes access; special merchandise.

Viberate use Twitter as an example, where the BTS Army and Arianators create hype that spreads out to the wider internet and media.


Genres will keep blending together in 2022

As you can tell from our lists of artists to watch for 2022, there is often an overlap in an artist’s genre influences. For musicians and producers this opens up the freedom to be creative when making music, and not stick within genre constraints. 

Does genre matter anymore? Viberate point out that mood-based listening is increasingly preferred over sticking to a specific genre. A listener who is streaming during a study session is more likely to click play on a relaxing study playlist than choose a specific genre like electronic music, for example. Artists can achieve high numbers of streams by thinking carefully about which playlists to direct their music to.

Image Credit: Viberate

Short videos will be big everywhere, not just on TikTok

The unexpected rise of TikTok saw other streaming platforms scrambling to copy the magic formula, spawning Reels on Instagram and Facebook, YouTube Shorts and so on. When a social media platform is pushing a new tool onto its users, the key to getting good engagement is to use that tool!

Artists should embrace short videos – the content can be as spontaneous as you like, allowing a glimpse of your personality without the polished Instagram filters of old. With the help of RouteNote distribution, you can put your music onto sound libraries on TikTok, Instagram and Facebook to use your own music in the background of your posts.


What will be the new most popular music genre?

Over the past few years an unlikely genre re-emerged – pop punk. Having fizzled out in the mid-2000s, a wave of 90s nostalgia on platforms like TikTok led to the mainstream return of artists like Avril Lavigne, with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker encouraging and collaborating with the likes of ex-rapper Machine Gun Kelly.

The biggest example is Olivia Rodrigo’s hit Sour, with its pop punk aesthetic-meets-90s grunge plus a pop sheen. Off the back of the album’s success in 2021, pop with attitude looks set to remain popular this year.

The second life of pop punk is another example of writing the music you love, no matter what genre of music it is. The power of social media, and independent music distribution, can get your music on streaming services, and you never know where that might take you.


For their 2022 trends report, Viberate collected data between December 9 2020 to December 9 2021 – they investigated 50,000 top artists, 100,000 Spotify playlists and 50 million tracks and music videos. Get the full report here!


Did you know you can release your music to Spotify, Apple Music and all the major streaming services around the world for free? Upload your music with RouteNote. There’s no need for a record deal and no sneaky fees.

You keep all the rights to your music, too, and you’re free to come and go as you please. Find out more here.

I write about music for RouteNote, sharing fun stuff, news, and tips and tricks for musicians and producers. Also a saxophonist and hater of marmalade.

Improve your career as an artist with epic Spotify in Focus website

Ready to learn? Spotify In Focus is a huge new website offering Spotify artists support and advice to help you further your career as a musician.

New TuneCore pricing – how does it compare?

With new changes to its price packages, is TuneCore free now? It’s certainly not the only music distributor offering unlimited releases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *