You can’t just keep rinsing the 80s and 90s forever! As streaming’s tentacles continue to influence the way people listen to music, where ARE the classics of tomorrow going to come from?

You know things are getting desperate when the establishment media start asking the big questions. And no, we’re not talking about the dance music press – if the questions aren’t about drugs or about the latest trend amongst Berlin trendies, you know that Mixmag and Resident Advisor won’t be posing them.

Rather, we’re talking about the British Broadcasting Corporation. Probably one of the most well-known British media organisations in existence, the BBC suffers from the same problem that much legacy media has to grapple with – it’s incredibly conservative and cautious in its nature.

So you know when they ask a question like “where will the classics of tomorrow come from?”, be assured it’s something they’ve probably mulled over in the newsroom before. A few days ago, they published an article all about how streaming is continuing to change the game – such as the revelation that none of the top ten albums in 2023 were actually released in 2023.

Infact, one of them, a greatest hits compilation by Swedish pop stars ABBA, was first released all the way back in 1992. And as they put it…

“With decades of music available at the touch of the button, people gravitate towards the classics. However, that makes it harder for new music to make an impact, raising the question: where will the classics of tomorrow come from?”

It’s a fair question, and not one that anyone seems to know the answer to. Even in genres like dance music, which do far more navel-gazing and harking back to the past than is healthy at the best of times, the trend is being noticed. Right now, the easiest way to get a quick hit in dance music is to simply remix or rehash something that’s been released before.

Some would say it was always that way – and they might even be right. But the difference was in the past that there would be plenty of new releases coming out as well. In comparison, whilst there are many new releases still available now, they’re just not getting the attention that they once did.

Ears To The House has been told by several of our industry sources that the majors are acutely aware of the issue – and have issued orders from above to their A&R departments to find new music and new sounds to develop. But whether anyone will listen to the results – or simply stick to their favourite classics from the 90s – is another matter…

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