Music Trends in 2018, Vol. III

This is the third in a series of predictions for the new year — see previous two weeks for the rest of the list.

BTS; photo:

Music trends in 2018 include K-pop

Korean pop bands (or K-pop) like BTS, pictured above, continue to make headway in American culture. No music executives exclaim surprise, either, considering the scene’s impeccable branding, knack for grooming musicians as characters, and flair for dramatic, plot-driven music videos.

Affinity Magazine notes: “Based on the success of bands like BTS, Shinee, EXO, Seventeen, etc. it’s safe to say that K-Pop will still be influential and successful. Furthermore, the band BTS made their U.S. TV debut at the 2017 American Music Awards performing DNA and also became the first Korean act to crack Spotify’s Global Top 50. On Feb. 9, the Winter Olympics start in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which can be something to give more exposure to K-Pop, as well.”

A tidal surge of synthwave

Vangelis, Jean-Michel Jarre, Michael Oldfield… These aren’t the rising stars of 1980 — these are the major influences of the 21st century. (Just ask UK MondoTunes artist Vaughty, who’s been making waves with his own popular brand of synth since the year Mondo began). writes, “Epic orchestral music continues to grow in popularity, but the synthwave soundtrack to Stranger Things has seen an even greater boost, as synthwave sound has increased 494 percent … Synthwave continues to dominate — likely based on the incredible score to Blade Runner 2049.”

Music trends in 2018 point to reggaetón

As mentioned in last week’s list, Latin artists will spearhead this year’s pop sound. The five most-watched videos of 2017 on Vevo were all by Latin artists: Luis Fonsi, Shakira, J.Balvin, Maluma and CNCO, and Camila Cabello. However, the engine behind these artists is not so much el ritmo Latino as it is reggaetón.

The Independent UK says of this, “The underlying reggaetón beat has ingrained itself into modern pop music, so I’m sure there will be plenty more mammoth hits over the course of this year.”

Artists looking to get ahead of the curve might try blending rap and hip-hop with traditional roots or reggae music. This mix forms the sound which began in the early ’90s in Puerto Rico. No español required (but it helps!).