Just to make things clear right from the beginning: Michael Jackson isn’t dead. King of Pop faked his own death, he’s alive and well. Just google it if you don’t believe me! And Elvis Presley isn’t dead either. He turned 81 this year.
If you ask a group of young adults who are their favorite artists, you will hear literally everything – from Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Beyonce to La Femme, Oneohtrix Point Never, Phuture and even some Korean band names you will never be able read. I’ve experienced this situation not so long ago. You think you can easily point at that rebellious grunge kid, a metalhead, a loud shower singer who knows the latest top hits charts better than a “music expert”, a crazy raver or a classical music lover. But then you realize that you can often find all of these characters in just one person.
Music genres are blending and people are becoming more and more open for different kinds of music. But we humans are also suckers for nostalgia, so I dare to say that radio stations might keep Bon Jovi forever young at least until his children are still alive. Those awkward teenage boys will keep playing only Guns N Roses (and Smoke On The Water) for waaay too long in their garages, just maybe not on the instruments we use nowadays. Technology keeps changing the world. Virtual reality, 3D printers, sensor networks, virtual humans – you name it! We’ll be able to produce sounds we can’t even imagine right now, with programs that don’t yet exist. Perhaps we’ll even get artists that are based on Mars…
The 2010s, for example, have seen a rise in online subcultures. We got genres like seapunk and witch house, that were created by a group of online musicians with a shared nostalgia for the 1990s culture. Vaporwave, which has to be one of my favorite new music genres of the last decade, is characterized by its heavy sampling of smooth jazz from the 1970s onward. Drenched in nostalgia and outdated retro aesthetics, the genre not only aims to take listeners back to simpler times but also to provide a contemporary critique of consumer culture and capitalism. Like seapunk and witch house, vaporwave incorporates its own visual aesthetic to fit the music. Prominent imagery includes web design from the 90s, outdated 3-D visuals, the use of Japanese characters in artist names and song titles, glitch art, and for no apparent reason, ancient Roman and Greek sculpture (Pedro Bazan, Ten 21st-Century Music Genres Most People Haven’t Heard Of: http://listverse.com/2015/12/09/10-21st-century-music-genres-most-people-havent-heard-of/; Dec 9, 2015). You see the path here?
I don’t want to play Nostradamus or David Bowie, I’m more of a Jon Snow, but if I have to give my prediction on what music will be like in 2026, my answer is: a reflection of time (and us as human beings).
Michael Jackson never died and yes, Elvis is still with us. Just like you’ll always have your brown eyed girl and Madonna will always be like a virgin. At least for the next 10 years.