If we all had a crystal ball and knew the answer to the question we’d all be richer than Simon Cowell and like him or loathe him he is one of the key individuals who control the direction of popular music tastes on this planet and just maybe a few others too!
Because of the phenomena of streaming (Spotify is listing on stock exchanges as I write, worth around US$23 Billion), social media and YouTube access to pop is increasing every day, maybe even by the hour and although most of us have to buy our tunes there are sadly a lot of pirates out there as well. And Spotify launched in RSA this week as well.

The gurus at such publications as Rolling Stone, Billboard, Time and NME are calling where they think it’s all going in 2018. And as usual there’s a marked difference between the UK, Europe, the USA and the rest.

Looking for true talent has become an industry on its own. Think Idols, the Voice, Shine etc. etc. Can Rag and Bone Man really be the name of a new music star? You betcha and the Brits are touting him as one of the next big things.

Latin music is making waves again too and the biggest selling song of all time “Despacito” is rockin’ the clubs and music radio right across the planet. It has had nearly 5 billion hits on You Tube and many of us don’t understand a word!

Whilst Uncle Simon rules, boy bands will continue to grow like mushrooms. This year’s version of Back Street Boys and One Direction will see Why Don’t We, Pretty Much, BTS, Brockhampton and the Latin version CNCO. Their smash “Mamita” has already had 1 million hits on You Tube! Look out too for other Latin break outs from Camila Cabello, DJ Khaled who channels Santana and the return of Shakira, J.Lo and Maluma. Shakira and Maluma’s vid cracked over 2 billion hits!! And J.Lo is worth around US $360 million……that’s no petty cash!

Talking about the ladies look out for Willow daughter of Will and Jada Smith, apart from that pedigree the girl can sing as proven on her smash hit “Why Don’t You Cry”. She’s only 14 years old and has had over 7 million hits on You Tube for this song of teenage angst.
One of the more bizarre claims to stardom comes in the form of K-Pop sensation BTS.

K-Pop? Stands for Korean Pop and along with bands like Shinee, EXO and Seventeen, BTS has sold over 5 million albums, has 30million followers on social media and was the first Korean group to crack Spotify’s Global Top 50. Their mix of Korean and English lyrics, electro backing tracks, coupled with a very slick dance routine and boyish good looks has struck a major chord with teen fans the world over.

EDM is also set for bigger things during the current year. Electronic Dance Music packs out the dance clubs everywhere and the names to get those fingers snappin’ and toes tappin’ include Steve Aoki, Zedd, Martin Garrix and Dave Guetta. The sounds are a mix of great rhythms and synth overlays backing up some pretty cool vocal effects.

The next big thing for this year must be the return of Justin Timberlake who’s new album “Man of the Woods” featuring a live dancing robot on the first single from it “Filthy”, is a very clever visual tour de force and a low key live performance from this star who first rose to fame in the late ‘90’s. The album hit number 1 within a week of its early February release.

And finally let’s hear it for World Cup anthems. Providing Spy Poisoning or any other catastrophes don’t derail it this year sees another Soccer World Cup. This time in mother Russia. No doubt it will spawn the usual crop of songs dedicated to the round ball and the teams that compete for it. Watch this space!! Hasta la vista!

Mike on then Mic.

About the author: Dalene Haugh