Posted on06 January 2016 4:02 PM GMT

The Future of Music Online 2016

Music IndustryFuture of MusicFuture of Music Online2016 Album Releases2016 Music Trends+-
2016AfBlgJackGarratt700

Solo women ruled 2015 as far as I was concerned - occupying 8 of my top 10 album spots and topping my tracks chart. Despite ongoing rumblings about the value and viability of streaming services and a strange and disruptive year on SoundCloud, music is very much in rude health. Vinyl sales - supported by humongous Christmas sales of vinyl players are still on the rise (just when I’m buying less and less).

 

Looking at the longlists for new artists for 2016, there is no shortage of musical output either. At the outset it does not look like a vintage release year, but you never know really - and March releases should be something to get excited about. There is drama about Apple supposedly removing the standard headphone jack from it’s forthcoming iPhone 7 release which is totally per expectations, and totally a pain in the ass. Most airlines use standard jacks for in-flight media now, so you will have to have an adapter or additional lead for air-travel - Apple again making things simpler for us - not!

 

Instead of waiting for the next big thing, why not make your own contribution? I will be dipping my toe into digital music-making this year, something I’ve always had the mind to do - nothing serious - just knocking together a few tracks. I have bits of Teenage Engineering and Korg kit, but need to wait on a desktop upgrade and platform decision before I decide which DAW I go with - I’m still torn between NI Maschine Studio, FL Studio, Ableton Live and Logic Pro. If anyone has any opinions please fling them my way.

As always the Album Release Schedule below will by updated throughout the year, as may other parts of this page:

 


Top 10 Albums of 2015

 

  1. Art Angels - Grimes
  2. Half Free - U.S. Girls
  3. Drei - Emika
  4. Have You In My Wildernerss - Julia Holter
  5. Currents - Tame Impala
  6. Automatic - Kaskade
  7. Georgia - Georgia
  8. Vulnicura - Björk
  9. Rose - Abra
  10. Blackheart - Dawn Richard

For the full 50 see Best of 2015 Entertainment

 


Top 10 Tracks of 2015

 

 

  1. Damn that Valley / Window Shades / Woman’s Work - U.S. Girls
  2. Flesh without Blood / World Princess part II / Kill V. Maim - Grimes
  3. Make It Up - Tirzah
  4. Can’t Feel My Face / The Hills - The Weeknd
  5. Battles / My Heart Bleeds Melody - Emika
  6. Lean On - Major Lazer and DJ Snake feat. Mø
  7. Sorry / I’ll Show You / Love Yourself - Justin Bieber
  8. Bitch Better Have My Money - Rihanna
  9. Love is Free (feat. Maluca) - Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique
  10. What’s a Girl Got to Do - Fatima Yamaha

For the full 50 see Best of 2015 Entertainment

 

5 Musical Trends for 2016

 

 

2016 will be mostly about music-making for me, inspired be a new breed of one-man bands - like Jack Garratt

  • DIY Music Making - using smart DAWs, Tablet Appa, MPCa or a myriad of smart keyboards and hardware controllers - making music at home and on the move is easier than ever before. I expect to see significant innovations in recording automation this year - with regard to easy track assembly and editing on the go
  • More Independent Releasing - You really don’t need a big record label these days, you can do it all yourself - to a degree YouTube, Social Media and publicity is more important nowadays than the label that represents you
  • Micro Synths - After Teenage Engineering’s brilliant trio of Pocket Operator micro- synth / sequencers, I see this trend very likely to continue this year - with more clever options on group-programming, auto-syncing and daisy-chaining
  • Modern Day One-Man-Bands - We’ve all seen Jamie Woon, Beardyman, MC Xander and Ed Sheeran layer up and loop their music live - creating music with voice, single keyboard or plethora of input devices. Jack Garrat leads the new pack - a Prince-like multi-instrumentalist who plays everything live - drums, keyboards and guitars
  • Streaming Wars - Spotify vs Apple Music vs Deezer vs Tidal etc. - Streaming services are going to have to up their appeal in 2016 to win as well as retain customers. Overall Spotify still edges it slightly for me, will be interesting to see what happens with Tidal this year

 


10 New Artists for 2016

 

 

 

 

 

  • Jack Garratt [Soulful Electro-Pop]
  • Nao [Sharp, Modern Neo-Soul]
  • Blossoms [Contemporary Slickly-Produced Indie Rock]
  • Frances [Emotive Piano Pop]
  • Mura Masa [Slick Modern Electronic-tinged Pop]
  • Billie Marten [Elegant Acoustic Folk]
  • Rat Boy [Punky Indie Rock]
  • Alessia Cara [Slick R&B Pop]
  • Loyle Carner [Fluid Soulful UK Hip-Hop]
  • Mabel [Mini-Neneh, Soulful Pop]

For the full 100+ longlist see my Sounds of and New Artists for 2016 article

 

 

5 Key Sounds / Themes for 2016

 

  • Still more hip-hop / trap influenced R&B - Weeknd, FKA Twigs and Tinashe leading the pack, but plenty of young newcomers to the scene
  • Contemporary updates to 90’s Big Room House and UK Garage will pack dancefloors again this year
  • K-Pop going worldwide - Artists like CL will hit mainstream charts around the world
  • Fusion - Jack Garrat mixes up several influences - definitely pop, but with parts soul and electronic, and fuzzy rock guitar
  • Dancehall - Following big hits from Major Lazer and Justin Bieber in 2015, Dancehall-influenced sounds will be big again this year

 

 

2016 Essential Album Release Schedule

 

January

 

Anderson .Paak - Malibu
Armin van Buuren - A State of Trance Year Mix 2015
Bloc Party - Hymns
Chairlift - Moth
David Bowie - Blackstar : ||Album of the Month||
Harriet - American Appetite
Hinds - Leave Me Alone

Massive Attack - Ritual Spirit

Rihanna - Anti

RÜFÜS - Bloom
Sia - This is Acting
Suede - Night Thoughts
Tortoise - The Catastrophist
Tricky - Skilled Mechanics
Various - Axtone 10
Visage - Darkness To Diamond

Wolfgang Gartner - 10 Ways to Steal Home Plate

 

February

 

Animal Collective - Painting With
Breakbot - Still Waters

Bullion - Loop the Loop

Christine and the Queens - Chaleur Humaine : ||Album of the Month||
The Cult - Hidden City
Elton John - Wonderful Crazy Action

Eric Prydz - Opus

Field Music - Commontime
Foxes - All I Need
GoGo Penguin - Man Made Object
Jack Garratt - Phase
Junior Boys - Big Black Coat

Kanye West - The Life of Pablo

Lion Babe - Begin
Lissie - My Wild West
Matmos - Ultimate Care II

Medina - We Survive
Mýa - Smoove Jones

Prins Thomas - Principe Del Norte

Santigold - 99¢
School of Seven Bells - SVIIB

Soulwax - Belgica (OST)

Young Thug - I’m Up

 

March

 

Alessia Cara - Know-It-All

Delta Heavy - Paradise Lost

Elliphant - Living Life Golden

Gwen Stefani - This Is What The Truth Feels Like : ||Album of the Month||

Kendrick Lamar - Untitled Unmastered

Lapsley - Long Way Home
Miike Snow - iii

Pet Shop Boys - Super
Poliça - United Crushers
Primal Scream - Chaosmosis

Tiga - No Fantasy Required
Underworld - Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future

 

Apr

 

Andy Stott - Too Many Voices

Beyoncé - Lemonade : ||Album of the Month||

Brian Eno - The Ship

Drake - Views

Explosions in the Sky - The Wilderness

J DIlla - The Diary

John Carpenter - Lost Themes II

Katy B - Honey

M83 - Junk

Moderat - III

Niki and The Dove - Everybody’s Heart Is Broken Now

Pet Shop Boys - Super

Xiu Xiu - Plays the Music of Twin Peaks

 

May

 

Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman : ||Album of the Month||

Beth Orton - Kidsticks

Boys Noize - Mayday

Breakbot - Still Waters

James Blake - The Colour in Anything

Jean-Michel Jarre - Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise

Jessy Lanza - Oh No!

Lone - Levitate

Pantha du Prince - The Triad

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

Tourist - U

 

Jun

 

Avec Sans - Heartbreak Hi

Bjarki - B

Broods - Conscious

Deerhoof - The Magic

Garbage - Strange Little Birds

DJ Shadow - The Mountain Will Fall

Kenneth Bager Experience - Premiere Classé

Kraak & Smaak - Juicy Fruit

Ladyhawke - Wild Things

Nick Jonas - Last Year Was Complicated

Nite Jewel - Liquid Cool : ||Album of the Month||

Paul Simon - Stranger to Stranger

Plaid - The Digging Remedy

Red Hot Chilli Peppers - The Getaway

Samaris - Black Lights

The Temper Trap - Thick As Thieves

 

Jul

 

AraabMuzik - Dream World

The Avalanches - Wildflower : ||Album of the Month||

Bat for Lashes - The Bride

Blood Orange - Freetown Sound

Clams Casino - 32 Levels

Jamila Woods - Heavn

Kate Simko & London Electronic Orchestra - Kate Simko & London Electronic Orchestra

MSTRKRFT - Operator

Nao - For All We Know

Róisín Murphy - Take Her Up to Monto

Shura - Nothing’s Real

Zhu - Generation Why

 

Aug

 

Britney Spears - Glory

Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion: Side B

Cassius - Ibifornia

Crystal Castles - Amnesty (I) : ||Album of the Month||

De La Soul - And The Anonymous Nobody

Frank Ocean - Blonde / Endless

Lindsey Stirling - Brave Enough

Marconi Union - Ghost Stations

 

Sep

 

Aluna George - I Remember

Banks - Altar : ||Album of the Month||

Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition

Die Antwoord - Mount Ninja and Da Nice Time Kid

Izzy Bizu - A Moment of Madness

Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch

M.I.A. - A.I.M.

Nicolas Jaar - Sirens

Solange - A Seat at the Table

S U R V I V E - RR7349

Trentemøller - Fixion

Yello - Toy

Zomby - Ultra

 

Oct

 

Empire of the Sun - Twin Vines

Ennio Morricone - Morricone 60

Iggy Azalea - Digital Distortion

Jamie Lidell - Building a Beginning

Kings of Leon - Walls

Lady Gaga - Joanne

Monolake - VLSI

Norah Jones - Day Breaks

One Republic - Oh My My

Tove Lo - Lady Wood

 

Nov

 

Alicia Keys - Here

Bon Jovi - This House Is Not For Sale

Bruno Mars - 24K Magic

DNCE - DNCE

Dragonette - Royal Blues

Efterklang - Leaves, The Colour of Falling

Enigma - The Fall of a Rebel Angel

Justice - Woman

Little Mix - Glory Days

Robbie Williams - Heavy Entertainment Show

The Weeknd - Starboy

Ulrich Schnauss - No Further Ahead Than Today

Yagya - Stars and Dust

 


TBC

 

Above & Beyond - Acoustic II
AlunaGeorge - TBA
Amanda Mair - TBA
Annie - TBA
Ariana Grande - Moonlight
The Avalanches - TBA
Blood Orange - TBA
Brazilian Girls - TBA
Burial - TBA
The Cardigans - TBA
Chic - TBA
Chromatics - Dear Tommy
Crystal Castles - TBA
Danny Brown - TBA
Daroc - TBA
Desire - TBA
Dev - TBA
Dua Lipa - TBA
Frank Ocean - TBA
Garbage - TBA
Glass Candy - Body Work
Gorillaz - TBA
Gwen Stefani - TBA
Hard-Fi - TBA
Iggy Azalea - Digital Distortion
James Blake - Radio Silence
Jean-Michel Jarre - Electronica Part 2
The Killers - TBA
Kings of Leon - TBA

Kygo - TBA
Labrinth - TBA
LCD Soundsystem - TBA
M.I.A. - Mathaddatah
M83 - TBA
Major Lazer - Music is the Weapon
Moko - TBA
Mylo - TBA
Nite Jewel - TBA
No Doubt - TBA
Portishead - TBA
Radiohead - TBA
Rihanna - Anti
Robyn - TBA
Sky Ferreira - Masochism
Solange Knowles - TBA
Tiga - TBA
Tinashe - Joyride
TLC - TBA

Zara Larsson - TBA

Stefan
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