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State of Music: 2022 Predictions With Rosemary Waldrip

State of Music: 2022 Predictions With Rosemary Waldrip

When we started talking about predictions for 2022, we couldn’t help but look at trends from the past few years. The pandemic has changed so much about the way we live, work, and play. The music industry and music sponsorship in particular have seen a lot of changes as artists, brands, marketers, and technologists have adapted to meet changing consumer needs and a shift in societal norms.

We talked with our Sr. VP of Marketing, Rosemary Waldrip, about her predictions for music, marketing, social, and tech in 2022. 

She predicts that:

  • Music fans will be even more receptive to brand sponsorships of music events
  • Hybrid experiences (merging digital and physical) will permeate the live music landscape
  • NFTs will be a small part of artists’ holistic approaches to building relationships with fans

Read the full interview with Rosemary below for more insights and in depth analysis of the state of music, sponsorship, marketing, and tech in 2022.

Rosemary_Waldrip_CircleRosemary Waldrip

Sr. VP, Marketing @ MAX



2023 UPDATE: A Look Back On 2022 With Rosemary Waldrip

I predicted that music fans would expect more hybrid experiences that merged digital and physical experiences at live shows. If you attended even just one show this year, I bet you spotted at least a handful of QR codes that gave you access to something of value right in the palm of your hand. This is just the beginning . . .  

I predicted that NFTs would play a small part in artists' holistic approaches to building relationships with fans. This has played out as I expected it would. NFTs are still a relatively tiny part of what most artists are thinking about, particularly as it relates to building relationships with fans. Most artists we’ve worked with have been jumping at the opportunity to get back on stage and in front of real, live audiences—and fans have been waiting a long time for the chance to see live music again too. NFTs and the metaverse in general didn’t present enough immediate value or utility to fans for artists to jump in head-first just yet.

I predicted that the increases of catalog consumption we saw in 2021 (driven by cravings of nostalgia, comfort, and normality) would continue into 2022 and that because of these catalog songs’ increasing value, we’d see more and more remixes, mashups, and covers of familiar songs this year . . . which rang true! 

2022 major releases that were mashups and/or sampled from older well-known songs:

  • “First Class” by Jack Harlow (released April 8, 2022) Mashup with “Glamorous” by Fergie (2006)

  • “Super Freaky Girl” by Nicki Minaj (released August 12, 2022)
    Mashup with “Super Freak” by Rick James (1981)

  • “I’m Good (Blue)” by Bebe Rexha and David Guetta (released August 26, 2022)
    Mashup with “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by Eiffel 65 (1998)


What do you think live music will look like in 2022?

"The return to live music has been a little rocky, but it’s clear that there’s a pent up demand for live concerts. The continued uncertainty about Covid, new variants, etc., means that people will be more intentional about which shows they go see. Instead of going to a concert for an artist that they just have lukewarm feelings about, people will be more selective about which artists’ shows they go to. For artists, this could mean tours with fewer dates, but it also means that the fans who do buy tickets are going to be more dedicated, more likely to buy merch, and more receptive to brand sponsorships that support their favorite artists and enhance their experience."

What kinds of experiences will people expect out of live music events in 2022?

"We talk about hybrid experiences a lot, but it’s for a good reason. The line between digital and physical is blurring, especially in the music world. People expect that their live music experiences will include digital elements, whether that means incorporating QR codes, running SMS based contests during the show, or offering geofenced digital items like NFTs or exclusive downloads. The reverse applies to livestream shows too! People want physical benefits from virtual experiences - access to show posters and other merch for livestream viewers, contests to win autographed items from the artist, something that gives a physical reminder of their virtual experience."

If people are more likely to go to concerts for artists they already know and love, what will music discovery look like in 2022?

"Digital discovery has been the norm for a while now, and this will continue. The effect of TikTok on music discovery cannot be overstated - and that applies to both new releases and catalog. And a lot of artists are being discovered and making their mark through covers, leading to more discovery of older songs, even if they’ve been rerecorded and reimagined."

There’s been a flurry of catalog sales, especially for established artists. How do you see that affecting the music industry in 2022?

"I think a lot of legacy artists, especially those with large catalogs, are looking to cash in now rather than waiting to see if their catalog value goes up more. There’s a lot of uncertainty about when some artists can tour again–a major source or artists’ revenue–influencing those decisions. And these artists are able to get a big payout for their catalog sales right now! An increase in catalog consumption, driven by a craving for nostalgia, comfort, normal times, has made these catalogs very valuable. I predict that this will continue in 2022 and that we’ll also see more and more remixes, mashups, and covers of familiar songs."

On the other end of the spectrum, a lot of artists are embracing NFTs as a way to maintain more control over their work. Do you have any thoughts on how this will affect the music industry in 2022?

"While I do think that there are artists using NFTs with the intent of maintaining ownership, there are also a lot of artists who seem to be jumping on a trend, especially artists whose brand persona is cutting edge or avant garde. It will take a while for NFTs to catch on in the consumer market, and it’s important to understand not just what NFTs are and can do, but also what they aren’t and can’t do. For artists who are working to build a strong fanbase, NFTs could be a tool that they use, but they are not the end-all, be-all, and artists need a holistic approach to growing fan bases and building community.

"I think that there are more discussions that need to take place about how blockchain could and should be used in music, but NFTs are just one part of that larger discussion. NFTs are interesting and sexy right now, and if an artist’s fanbase has an inclination towards tech, some cool things could come out of that, including interesting ways to collect ticket stubs, more digital merch sales, NFTs as direct artist investment tools, etc."


Up Next:

Next week, we’ll talk with our Sr. VP of Product and Technology, Jeff Rosenfeld, to get his unique perspective on the state of music in 2022. And as always, if you have any questions you’d like to see answered by any of our featured experts, comment below or email us at

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