Get ready for more disruption.
In 2017, almost nothing was predictable — both inside the music industry and outside of it. Would anyone expect the biggest single of the year to be a Spanglish song featuring Justin Bieber? Were we really expecting a tsunami of sexual harassment allegations that would cross not just nearly every music genre, but nearly every walk of life? Of course not.
But there were some signals that hip-hop and R&B would dethrone rock as America’s most listened-to genre, even before a series of high-profile albums from Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z and Drake pushed it over the top. And there are some signs offering guidance about which way the music industry will turn in 2018, influenced by everything from the #MeToo movement to the end of net neutrality.
Yes, there will be talk of #JusticeForJanet when Justin Timberlake returns to the Super Bowl halftime show. Of course, people are already plotting how much screaming they can do for Taylor Swift’s stadium concerts and the major solo tours of Harry Styles, Niall Horan and probably a couple more One Direction guys. But there are also some other things (and people) that will likely get discussed for the long haul. Here’s a look:
GRAMMYS Music’s biggest night returns to New York on Jan. 28 for the first time in 15 years, ready to celebrate its 60th anniversary with a string of high-profile parties, including honoring Jay-Z as an industry icon and Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz as artists. But the suspense will still center on whether a hip-hop album from Kendrick Lamar or Jay-Z will manage to land the album of the year Grammy.
U2 Somehow U2 has always managed to turn even meh albums like “Songs of Innocence” into stunning tours. Now that Bono and friends have a stunning album like “Songs of Experience” to draw from, their upcoming arena tour — which includes a Nassau Coliseum stop on June 9 — should be nothing short of amazing.
JESSIE REYEZ It has taken the music industry awhile to catch up to young Jessie Reyez, the brutally honest Canadian singer-songwriter. But her time has come. Her single “Gatekeepers” rages against the kind of sexual harassment that Harvey Weinstein and so many others are accused of. Her single “Figures” reworks old-school soul in her own image. And her upcoming solo debut will likely show how much she continues to grow as an artist.
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MY FATHER’S PLACE AT THE ROSLYN HOTEL The idea that a Long Island club could count Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel as regulars or could land Bob Marley and The Police before almost any other venue in the country seems impossible now. But it was true for years, as Michael “Eppy” Epstein brought countless legends to Roslyn at My Father’s Place. Will lightning strike twice in Roslyn, as Eppy returns this summer, 30 years after the original club closed? Time will tell.
CAMILA CABELLO Since leaving Fifth Harmony, Camila Cabello has been trying to find her own style, which she seemed to capture on the sultry single “Havana.” It’s the direction she plans to follow on her debut solo album “Camila,” due out in January, and she is so committed to it, she plans to leave previous hits like “OMG” off the record, as she looks to be one of 2018’s breakout stars.
VERIFIED FANS Ticketmaster’s plan to get more tickets directly into the hands of fans rather than brokers is picking up steam as its Verified Fan program attracts more and more members. Using Taylor Swift’s stadium tour and U2’s arena tour to get fans to join the program is a smart way to build a database of concertgoers who should get early access to tickets. Having true fans at a show rather than broker customers who simply shelled out tons of cash makes for better concerts and happier artists, as well as happier fans.
ELLA MAI The British singer-songwriter has already teamed with super-producer DJ Mustard and toured with Kehlani. But her new single “Naked,” with its Alessia Cara-like, laid-back groove and powerful lyrics, is only the beginning. She has collaborations with Chris Brown and Craig David already on deck, as well as her full debut album.
SINGING COMPETITIONS If 2017 seemed relatively melisma-free while the networks figured out whether people still cared about music competitions, 2018 will be overflowing with big voices. Of course, “The Voice” will continue, with Kelly Clarkson as a coach, no less. But the new Sean “Puffy” Combs-led “The Four” starts Jan. 4 and “American Idol” returns in March.
STATIONHEAD The app that lets you run your own radio station using the vast libraries of Spotify or Apple Music as your music source is set to make a big splash when it debuts this year. The brainchild of Dix Hills native musician Ryan Star and his childhood friend Jace Kay, Stationhead is one of those simple ideas whose time has come — now, everyone who wants to be a DJ can be.
LANCO Expectations are running high for the debut album from Nashville country-rockers Lanco, set to arrive in January. The band, led by Brandon Lancaster, has already hit No. 1 on the country charts with the sweet single “Greatest Love Story” and the quintet seems set to bring the full-band sound back to country radio.