The future of music is digital and will continue to be even after the Covid-19 pandemic, co-owner of video-sharing platform Triller Jaeson Ma said on Thursday, September 24, 2020, during an online conference held via YouTube for the 2020 MU:CON, organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and held by the Korea Creative Content Agency (Kocca).
“Crisis creates creativity and it forces us out of the old and into the new,” Ma said, holding a keynote speech under the title “Anticipating the Future of the Global Music Industry in the Post-Pandemic Era.”
“I really believe we’re just completely going digital. We have to accept it. This is 2020. We’re not going backward. Everything else in the past was the past. The world’s never going to be the same again. It’s not going to be like a year from now we say, ‘Hey, remember a year ago with the pandemic? Man, that was really crazy.’
“No. This is going to be here for the next decade or more, meaning — whether it’s COVID or something else — we have to be prepared as the human race. But it doesn’t mean we can stop making music, entertaining, and getting that music and entertainment out to as many people as possible.”
Ma explained that the current transition into the digital realm may seem temporary, but it signals a long-term and permanent move to the “virtual world” that we all reside in, where content is shared among everyone according to their taste and demographic, not according to place or time.
“We are now on a new digital continent, not planet earth as we know it. We’re living a digital world… a digital continent,” he said.
“In fact, now that we’re in the pandemic, we’re going to be able to get [content] out to more people and reach everyone everywhere at any place and any time through the mobile phone, through digital experience and through this new virtual world we live in.”
Consequently, it will be up to the individual platforms in the digital world to differentiate themselves from others to meet the specific needs of its audience, where targeting its set users becomes crucial. For instance, Triller offers a similar experience to TikTok, but targets an older demographic and also offers musicians a chance to earn money by getting their Triller streams counted on Apple Music’s charting system.
“I really believe that the future is music premium content, digital technology, distribution. And we’re going to see more and more collaborative ways of making music in the midst of COVID and being in your homes. You’re seeing companies such as BandLab, Sound Storm, and Soundcloud, but there must be many more ways to collaborate, take so many music pictures with VR and AR, and other types of virtual ways of interacting with music,” he said.
Korean experts also agreed. Industry insiders took part in a roundtable discussion session titled “Social Media-driven Music Marketing Trends — Before and After Covid-19,” where the leader of creator partnerships and music of Sandbox Jeong Woo-cho emphasized the importance of figuring out the characteristics of each different digital platform and choosing the one that’s fit for different musicians.
“There are so many platforms right now that it’s almost a battle between them,” said Jeong. “There will come a time when things settle down, but until then it’s crucial that we choose the right one for the right audience. Just because mukbang is popular, not every artist can start eating and shooting mukbang. The coronavirus has pushed us online, but I believe that it’s actually opened up a new realm of possibilities. New content can be made and new businesses can be pursued — we just need to figure out what.”