We almost can’t believe it’s almost time for another New Year, but looking back on 2021 we’ve realised that it was a year packed with great songs and important music milestones.
We’ve cherry-picked a few that we think define the year…
The controversy over the ownership of the intellectual property for Taylor Swift’s first six studio albums reinforces the importance of having exclusive use of music – which we’ve been assisting brands with for years.
Unable to acquire the publication rights from their current owner, Swift has released re-recorded versions of two early albums, with more to follow. She’s also taken the chance to record and release tracks that never made the cut the first time around.
It’s a treat for fans to hear these early songs with her more mature vocals of today, and Taylor has taken full advantage of the creative freedom afforded by owning her material; the unabridged ’10 Minute Version’ of track ‘All Too Well’ has set a new record as the longest number-one song in Billboard chart history.
Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical
If your brand is trying to connect with a younger consumer and isn’t on TikTok, you’re missing out. Over a billion global users are posting short clips of pranks, stunts, jokes, dances and more – often soundtracked by songs of yesteryear finding a new audience among its key 16-24 user base.
But this year, TikTok was responsible for some entirely new songs too. Back in mid-2020, TikTok user Emily Jacobssen uploaded the original comedy song ‘Ode to Remy’, praising the protagonist from Pixar's 2007 computer-animated film Ratatouille. Then musician Daniel Mertzlufft responded by composing a backing track to the song, and things snowballed.
Before long, users had created costume design, additional songs and a playbill – and on New Year’s Day 2021, a full one-hour virtual presentation of the show premiered on TikTok, featuring Titus Burgess, Wayne Brady and Adam Lambert. The charitable production raised over $2m for The Actors Fund of America.
The return of live music festivals
After the vast majority of shows were cancelled in 2020 and early 2021, we were thrilled to get back into concert venues, nightclubs and muddy fields to enjoy live music this year.
Technology played an enormous part in keeping us connected and entertained during periods of lockdown, but even we confirmed tech fanatics have to admit there’s no substitute for live performances.
Among the earliest large-scale test events was the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, held in Rotterdam, Netherlands in May. The world’s biggest and most-watched song competition was broadcast to a global audience of 183 million people, and was watched by a socially-distanced crowd of 3,500 people in the arena.
An adaptation of the Eurovision format, entitled the American Song Contest, will feature entries from all 50 states, three US territories and the District of Columbia, and debuts on NBC in February 2022.
International acts storming the English-language market
Crossover tracks with heavy Latin influences are nothing new, but several international bands from other parts of the world have made waves in the US and UK over the last 12 months – most notably Korean boyband BTS, who dominated this year’s American Music Awards.
However, we think the act that best sums up much of 2021 is Italian rock band Måneskin. They took maximum advantage of winning the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest; exposed to tens of millions of music fans across the world, their 2017 cover of the Four Seasons’ ‘Beggin’’ went viral on TikTok (featuring in over 10 million clips to date) – culminating in appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and the MTV Europe Music Awards, where they won Best Rock Act.
Wondering how you could use music to help your brand have its moment in 2022? Speak to a member of our team about how we could create exclusive audio for your brand.