Music

'The UK will win Eurovision' and more predictions for music in 2023

What lies ahead for music in 2023? Our resident music critic gets his crystal ball out

Music in 2023. Taylor Swift is due another big year

With 1989 (Taylor’s Version) and a mega tour to come in 2023, Taylor Swift is due another big year. Photo: INSTAR Images LLC / Alamy Stock Photo

This time last year who’d have guessed that one of 2022’s biggest hits would be a song from 1985 – Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill? Or that Beyoncé would release an old-school house album? Or that the UK would not come in the usual last place at Eurovision, but a dizzying second? The 12 months gone by prove once more that making predictions in music is as ill-advised as Kanye West’s Donda 2. And yet, I’m going to gaze into my crystal ball and make a few predictions for music in 2023 anyway. Am I feeling unusually wise? Or lucky? Or do I just enjoy making a fool of myself in public? Who can say? Here are six events, trends and departing musical greats to watch out for in the year to come. 

The UK will win Eurovision (sort of)

Following Sam Ryder’s near-triumph at Eurovision in Turin in May, the UK has the privilege of co-hosting the 2023 music competition in Liverpool, in partnership with last year’s winners Ukraine. Whether or not the UK manages to win for the first time since 1997, as an occasion it’ll undoubtedly be triumphant. How could it not be, as the city which brought us The Beatles meets the country that brought us tinfoil-suit-clad techno-folk transvestite and Eurovision legend Verka Serduchka.
Eurovision, May 9–13

Ticketmaster will finally face a reckoning 

In its relentless mission to gouge every penny out of passionate music fans, US global entertainment monopoly Live Nation and its ticket sales wing Ticketmaster failed to account for a formidable foe: Taylor Swift fans. After tickets for the star’s first US tour in five years went on sale in November – crashing the corporation’s creaky, labyrinthian and cryptically priced online sales system, causing many fans to miss out – the Swifties didn’t just get mad, they got organised. A group of 26 are suing Ticketmaster for, among other things, fraud and price fixing. Separately, the US Department of Justice has opened an antitrust investigation. After decades of shoddy practice, Ticketmaster might finally be forced to clean up its act in 2023. Thank team TayTay.

Christine and the Queens’ Meltdown will melt boundaries  

Following in the footsteps of David Bowie, Patti Smith, Scott Walker, David Byrne and Grace Jones, Christine and the Queens will curate this year’s prestigious Meltdown Festival, a mixture of ticketed shows and free outdoor concerts on London’s South Bank. A boundary-pushing event at the best of times, it promises to be more explosive than ever in the hands of the critically lauded gender-fluid French art-pop act (currently going under the name Redcar), with a line-up of artists TBA who have influenced his musical identity over the years, and who continue to help shape it today.
Meltdown Festival, June 9-18

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Elton John will play his final, final, honestly final, UK show

It was back in 2018 that the Rocket Man announced his latest tour would be his last. Four years and over 300 shows later, he’s still on that same tour – although he swears that the closing date of the final UK leg next summer, a headline slot on the Sunday night of Glastonbury 2023, will definitely be his last ever UK appearance. The sun is finally going down on one of British rock’n’roll’s most successful careers, after a whopping 61 years. Really, this will be it. We promise. No more Elton. Probably. Possibly. Information correct at time of writing.
Glastonbury, June 21-25

Lewis Capaldi’s new album will go ballistic 

We saw a lot of Lewis Capaldi in 2022. He appeared everywhere from the cover of The Big Issue to a nationwide billboard campaign which pictured him stripped to his pants, sipping a cocktail. There’ll be plenty more music where that came from in 2023, as the top Scot prepares to release his new album, Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent. It’s the rhyming follow-up to his debut Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, which was the best-selling LP in the UK for both 2019 and 2020, and has racked up an amazing 25 billion streams worldwide to date. Can Capaldi top those numbers? You wouldn’t bet against it.
Broken by Desire to Be Heavenly Sent is released May 19, 2023

TikTok will eclipse Spotify as a driver of music discovery in 2023

With over one billion active users across 154 countries and counting, TikTok is rapidly growing while Twitter and Facebook are stagnating. This year proved the video-based social media platform’s power for breaking music, as 10 of the 12 UK singles chart number ones had a viral moment. While Spotify remains the dominant streaming platform, increasingly it’s TikTok videos that are feeding it, by connecting people with the songs they love.  

Malcolm Jack is a freelance journalist

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income.

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