Abbey Road Red Talk | Satellite of Creation - How our Music Making is Evolving Online

28th September 2021

In its eleventh Red Talk, Abbey Road Red decided to explore the creator value chain

Sparked by a research report presented by Mark Mulligan late last year, there has been a lot of energy, thinking and evolution around the online creation and collaboration space, driven in no small part by a locked-down environment in which we all became more embedded online

 

How our Music Making is Evolving Online...

It's an exciting time for creators with more digital and online tools for creation and collaboration available than ever before. We've moved very much into a creator first world where new online platforms, apps and instruments are being designed with intuitive fluid use in mind first as well as features that can help with every stage of their creative process from creation to production and distribution.
 
Place that alongside the heavy use of music by fans in UGC on social media platforms, the trend to fans as co-creators as well as the change in perceptions around song lengths and structure, and we're at a point where the nature of music creation is changing.

We were able to convene a group of ground-breaking founders and thought leaders to share their thoughts and experiences as well as an audience of invested stakeholders to discuss and challenge.
 
What made it more exciting was that it was our first IRL event since lockdown and we were able to invite a group of guests into Studio Three again which made it a Red Talk reunion of sorts! We combined this audience with a URL webinar audience to make it our first hybrid online/offline event.
 
Here we will summarise the key thoughts and discussion points. We'll start with Mark Mulligan's update to his creator research in which he flipped the focus to behavioural aspects of creators. We'll follow this up next week with a summary of the discussion.
 

  1. More artists are making more music more quickly!

Mark's first key point was that there is a trend, driven by younger millennials, particularly Gen Zs and Alphas, to quick and early adoption of intuitive online creator tools that enable quick output along with constant self-upskilling.
 
 

  1. Upskilling

A key feature driving growth in terms of both volume and quality of output is a trend to self-learning and upskilling where creators search for tips and educational content shared by other creators on creator platform blogs/communities or content and social media platforms from Discord to YouTube, Instagram and Tik Tok.

There is now a huge repository of knowledge in our online world which we can actively tap into when wanting to learn how to write, record and produce; whether we're looking for tips on which software or hardware tools to use or on how to use them or get the best sounds.

This skills reinvention is reinforced by the behavioural tendency of fans and creators to want to give back to the communities that they learn from.
 

  1. High quality quickly and easily

It's becoming easier and quicker to create high quality audiovisual content. In music terms this can be likened to the advances in smartphone cameras enabling us to take high quality pictures using small high quality lenses and AI processing with a low cognitive overhead, i.e. the quality is high and they're super easy to use!
 

  1. Different level of what 'good' needs to be

On the opposite track to the above trend is a lowering of expectations around what 'good' quality needs to be. Expectations are lowering around the quality of production and recordings in favour of the conveyed writing, performance or vibe; for example the burst of engagement with lo-fi content.
 

  1. Subscriptions and more stuff for less money

Fuelling our creator treasure chest is a move towards subscription access and downwards pricing pressure in general making more and higher quality creator and collaboration tools available to us for less money
 

  1. Intuitive user interfaces

Likening advancements in user interfaces to progress made with arcade games, there is a strong design trend away from '1.0' digital recreations of real world DAWs and tools to a new crop of fluid creator first designs which are intuitive and designed fluid and new approaches to making sounds, recording and production in mind.
 

  1. Investment trends

There is a trend towards private equity platforms buying up smaller companies and creating bigger music creation and distribution ecosystems, then flipping that ecosystem for a profit. That's good for creators because if it carries on bigger and better ecosystems will emerge over time.
 

  1. The ever present USB keyboard

A key driver in the creator space and one which retailers say is playing a major part in their own sales is the humble USB keyboard. It's one of the most prevalent pieces of hardware in the creator value chain and can link to any instrument, sequencer or DAW software, which means that creators have quick access to a controller that can make any sort of sound or control other functions intuitively. Subsequently creators make more music and drop it more frequently.

 

  1. Creator culture

As with UGC in general audiences are leaning in. Fans are learning to create content themselves and manipulate the music artists make and/or make their own in response. When they share those results they are driving a move towards creator culture, in which fans' interactions with artists gets closer to the act of creation and turns them into creators too.
 
 

  1. Social media stream creation

Similar to trends across social media platforms with photo and short-form video, we are perhaps not far off a world in which creators and creator culture fans create and drop music frequently and in short bursts on platforms with content streams similar to social media platforms.
 
Those summarise Mark's key points (find more at https://www.midiaresearch.com/). In our next post we'll take a look at the discussion that built on them and more with our panelists:

Pär Almqvist – Founder and CEO; Tracklib

Meng Ru Kuok – Founder and CEO; BandLab

Will Evans – CEO; Spitfire Audio

Mark Mulligan – Founder and MD; MIDiA Research
 
 

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