Innovations That Shaped the Music Industry in 2021

2021 was another year of challenges and progress for the music industry and throughout society. The ongoing pandemic continues to affect lives and livelihoods, but the rollout of effective vaccines brought live music back and we understand that even in the face of new variants and uncertainty the tools are there to bring us to the other side. We saw Congress pass the American Rescue Plan, which included essential economic aid to members of the creative community. And we saw more fans subscribe to streaming services, listen to more music, discover new favorites and reconnect with beloved music from the past. The challenges of the pandemic remain on the horizon, and we know better than to guess at what 2022 will bring. Yet we continue to see dynamism, resilience, and strength throughout the industry that creates cause for optimism.

The heart of that optimism remains the incredible, vital, and beautiful music being created by artists and songwriters. Without their music there would be no streaming services. When that music is combined with the incredible innovations of streaming services, connections between fans and creators are formed, value is created, and opportunities arise. As we did last year, I want to highlight just a few of the examples of the innovative products and experiences that were introduced this year by Amazon, Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube.

Amazon Music's in-app merchandise. (Photo: Business Wire)

DJ Mode. Refreshed non-stop streaming with an old school radio vibe, allowing users to intersperse listening sessions with commentary and insights from DJs, artists, “tastemakers,” and Pop-Up Video-style music trivia from Alexa. read more

Artist Shopping Experience. Created a new fan experience that allows them to purchase an extensive selection of authentic artist merchandise, including apparel, music, and accessories. Customers can discover new music, watch live streams, and browse an artist’s merch, vinyl, and more — all from the Amazon Music app. read more

Spatial and Lossless Audio. Enhanced the sensory experience of sound with audio that goes beyond left and right channels and into the realm of 3D – moving above, around, and behind the listener. read more

DJ Mixes. Built a proprietary tool upon Shazam technology to identify rights holders in DJ mixes, bringing thousands of remixes, mash-ups, and DJ mixes into the service that were previously unavailable. read more

AMP Insights for Creators. Introduced a new Track Reporting feature within its popular Artist Marketing Platform (AMP) that gives creators deeper, track-specific insights into how fans are engaging with their songs in order to help them understand their fan base and find new fans. read more

Cross Platform Collaboration. Launched a cutting-edge cross-platform collaboration with TikTok that featured curated site-specific content and listener experiences to create the radio and streaming versions of the platform’s “For You” page, including the creation of hosted playlists featuring popular TIkTok creators, a TikTok Tastemasters series, and a full-time SiriusXM satellite radio music channel called TikTok Radio. read more

Fresh Finds. Launched a marketing program to spotlight independent musicians, including playlisting, out-of-home, and Spotify Singles opportunities, while equipping them with a variety of educational tools, including a “personalized masterclass” and one-on-one mentoring. read more

Lyrics. Empowered fans around the world to sing more confidently than ever with the launch of Lyrics – a simple and interactive feature that even allows listeners to share up to five lines of lyrics at a time with a share card that includes the song name and artist across social media. read more

Shorts. Announced a short-form video experience with the ability to create short, catchy videos using only mobile phones, allowing creators to string together multi-segment clips, as well as the ability to record with music, control speed settings, and more. read more

#YouTubeBlack Voices. Expanded its commitment to Black musicians and creators by announcing its second class of the fund aimed at amplifying Black voices on YouTube, announcing the program’s growth to include songwriters and producers. read more

Be sure to check out our special playlist featuring the DiMA staff’s favorite songs of the year. Stream it now on your favorite platform.

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