Music - what to expect in 2015 from a global business that's in turmoil

With the business in turmoil Glenn Gamboa anticipates the people and trends in music in 2015

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 January, 2015, 10:41pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 January, 2015, 10:41pm

The music industry is broken. That became clear when we went 10 months into 2014 without any albums going platinum aside from the Frozen soundtrack. (Taylor Swift's 1989 changed that in one week of sales.)

Something is wrong when Beyoncé's well-received, critically acclaimed Beyoncé album can't score any radio hits, but Iggy Azalea's Fancy gets hyped by radio stations and becomes ubiquitous on the airwaves worldwide - and still the Australian's The New Classic couldn't break into the top-40 albums of 2014 in sales anywhere.

Wanting to create new stars instead of supporting established ones has always been a music industry issue, but it seems that now the search is on for multi-threat artists, rather than pop stars. Luckily, 2015 seems to have plenty of those artists on deck. Here's who (and what) to look out for in 2015:

It seems that now the search is on for multi-threat artists, rather than pop stars

London soul
The growing group of like-minded British musicians had a breakthrough year in 2014, thanks to Sam Smith and Disclosure. Mary J. Blige tapped into it with her London Sessions album, but more is on the way. Mark Ronson and his collaborators, including Bruno Mars, have Uptown Special on its way, while Emeli Sandé is expected to drop her follow-up to Our Version of Events. And there's a new album expected from that little-known underdog named Adele.

Spotify revamp
Taylor Swift's decision to pull her albums from the world's biggest music subscription service has kicked up so much controversy it seems Spotify has to answer the concerns she and her supporters have raised. Look for the service to come up with some sort of a compromise, allowing artists to offer some or all of their music to Spotify subscribers - but not to those who use the service's free, ad-supported service. Artists may also want a higher royalty rate for songs streamed by paying subscribers than for those streamed on the free service. Or, you know, there could be an exodus to Apple's Beats Music service.

Rita Ora
To many, the British singer is simply Iggy Azalea's pal from the Black Widow single, but this year she will move towards super stardom on multiple fronts: she will release her American debut, featuring the current single, I Will Never Let You Down, and stars in the movie adaptation of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey - due out on Valentine's Day, of course.

Matthew Koma
After another strong year of co-writing and singing on other people's singles, the New York native is ready to release his own album. Koma has already sung on EDM smashes such as Spectrum with Zedd and Wasted with Tiesto, as well as co-writing Zedd's Clarity, but his debut album will be more eclectic, with his rock roots showing as much as his success with dance and pop.

She gave the world an early holiday surprise with six songs from her upcoming Rebel Heart album - including collaborations with Nicki Minaj and Kanye West, and an uplifting dance anthem Living for Love as an opening single. But there's even more excitement about a potential world tour this year to support the new album and to mark the 30th anniversary of her "Virgin Tour".

Shakira teamed up with Activia for hers. The BBC rounded up everyone from Queen to One Direction to Coldplay for theirs. And Meghan Trainor worked with HP for hers. They're called "trackverts" - song-length videos that double as advertisements through branding in the video and sponsorship of the production - and there's going to be way more of them in 2015, as it gets tougher and tougher to get regular airplay on the radio. Through a trackvert, a company gets its product placed in a cool setting, and the artist gets the single repeatedly in front of a massive audience.

Tthough the roll-out of their Songs of Innocence album was a little bumpy, you can bet it will all be straightened out by the time they hit the road with the "Innocence + Experience" tour. The tour, which will have an "Innocence" night and an "Experience" night in each city, launches in Vancouver in May.

George Ezra
The British sensation will finally make his way across the pond, releasing his debut, Wanted on Voyage, in America on January 27. The album, which hit No1 for two weeks in Britain, features Ezra's catchy single Budapest and more of his breezy mix of Mumford & Sons and Paul Simon.

Boy bands
The search is on for the next stadium-filler like One Direction. Will it be Australia's 5 Seconds of Summer, who have two sets in New York? The Aussies also have Sheppard, whose Geronimo has been getting a big push. However, the Brits, who know a thing or two about creating Beatlemania-like frenzies, have Rixton and Lawson. Let the screaming begin!