2018 Music Forecast: 9 Trends and Artists to Watch - Rolling Stone
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2018 Music Forecast: 9 Trends and Artists to Watch

From Kanye’s comeback to the new crop of boy bands and the death of ticket bots

2018 forecast

Read our rundown of music trends, artists and stories to watch in 2018, from Neil Young's expanding Archives to the rise of Latin pop.

With news of a massive lawsuit against Spotify and the release of several high-profile festival lineups, the year in music is already off to a busy start. As 2018 gets underway, here are nine other stories, artists and trends to watch, from the possible return of Kanye and the Stones to the rise of Latin pop.

2018 forecast

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Stones in the Studio

2018 might finally be the year for the Rolling Stones’ long-promised follow-up to 2005’s A Bigger Bang. Keith Richards recently said the band is readying “a really good original album,” which was put on pause for 2016’s covers LP, Blue & Lonesome. Richards even called sessions with Mick Jagger “really fun.” 

2018 forecast

Lyor Cohen and Chance The Rapper

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YouTube Enters the Music-Streaming Game

The company, with 1 billion hours of daily streams, is planning a music-streaming service that could launch by March. “If it does blend video and audio in one service, interchangeably, why would you use Spotify?” says industry vet Jim McDermott. Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s head of music, thinks it has a shot: “I want to show the industry that we’re capable of finding those most likely to subscribe and [lead] them to a subscription model.” 

2018 forecast

Cardi B

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Hip-Hop Loses Chart Dominance?

2017 was a radical year for the charts, with Number One hits going to hip-hop newcomers like Cardi B and Post Malone. That may change in 2018 when Billboard adjusts its guidelines, giving less weight to free streams and YouTube views in favor of paid subscribers’ listening habits. Hip-hop, with artists who accumulate huge numbers on free services, may take a hit. “Rap singles will have less impact on the charts,” says A&R expert Jeff Vaughn. This has angered YouTube, which stated the plan “[says] the only music fans that count are those with credit cards.” Some experts say rock will benefit because its listeners tend to pay for music. 

2018 forecast

Illustration by John Hendrix for Rolling Stone

You Can Finally Score Face-Value Concert Tickets

It used to be impossible to score good seats to big shows, with brokers using bots to snatch roughly half the tickets. But in 2016, Ticketmaster launched Verified Fan, which uses an algorithm that weeds out fishy sales. It worked. Only three percent of tickets for Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway run were resold, and 70 artists have joined in. “We’re doubling down on it,” says David Marcus, a vice president at Ticketmaster. Taylor Swift signed up, with a twist: Fans who bought merch or watched her videos got priority. Others may follow her lead. “Ticketing has been lacking that sort of innovative thinking,” says Larry Rudolph, manager of Britney Spears. 

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