04 Jan 2013

Social media and the music industry in 2013

This generation lives in a cyber-world, where

04 Jan 2013

This generation lives in a cyber-world, where anyone and everything is at the very tips of our fingers. Looking at the millions of people integrated in Facebook, Twitter and YouTube just shows the magnitude of investment in social media. One particular industry that has completely changed is the music industry.

Major changes have taken place within the music business particularly in the manufacturing and marketing aspects of artists. Individuals with a ‘passion’ for music have the ability to emulate the likes of ‘Justin Bieber’ and ‘Connor Maynard’ by flaunting their ‘talent’ on YouTube and Sound cloud, where music labels may possibly be scouting for new and fresh talent. Social media has made it easier and quicker for upcoming artists to become famous quicker; if they want to succeed it can give them the upper hand. The main ingredient is talent however, social media has offered the ability and platform for musicians or artists to connect, engage, and interact with people with the intention to create a strong fan base without even being signed to a label yet. It allows artists to promote gigs or concerts to millions just by a quick upload or post, gone are the days when it was word of mouth when people or fans would find out where and when an artist was performing. Gone are the days when people purchased CDs, vinyl, mix tapes and tapes, and also when you would hear a song on the radio and head down to the music store to buy the record. In this virtual world people are able to consume music in numerous ways, engage with artists and other fans, but also share music with the simple clicks of a button and ask for direct feedback.

For an artist, uploading tracks on sites such as Sound cloud assists artists in gaining exposure but it also allows fans to experience a more intimate or personal connection with the ‘upcoming’ artist because messages, music and videos posted up directly by the artist makes fans feel as if you are talking directly to them, it may seem unfair to allow people to listen to your music for free, but in the long term it may pay off, just like it has for Justin Bieber and Rebecca Black. Twitter practically emphasises this connection between the artist and the fan. It encourages that feeling and connection for the fan, it makes people feel as if they’re rubbing shoulders with an artist because they tweet them or talking to them on a more vulnerable platform or personal level. Social media allows people all over the globe to discover an artists or band’s music, that’s why upcoming artists rely heavily on social media to promote their music.

X-factor winner James Arthur, is an artist who used social media to create a fan base before he even auditioned on X factor. The James Arthur Project is a site whereby James was able to showcase his own original music talent and allow fans to listen to his music for free. Fans were able to gain some insight into his background; subscribe to this project and he also had accessible links to other social media sites; Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. One Direction established an American fan base without a single bit of promotion or advertising due to the ability that social media has to connect people others to share and discover music across the world. This is just a couple of examples of how an unknown artist or band can use social media to become famous.

With social media the necessity of a music journalist, direct publicist or music critic has decreased somewhat. Fans instant access to artists may possibly make the jobs of an artist’s publicist, or journalist inadequate or obsolete although they can still have a major role to play once the artist is established. This pressure of integration on social media but also the easy access to an artist has affected the revenue of albums and singles because of piracy and people sharing content for free. The old-fashioned instruments of an artist’s success due to single and album sales, television appearances and radio plays are less relevant nowadays because social platforms deliver an artist to the front door of a huge fan base if the artist is popular like Rihanna who has 27million followers on Twitter, 64million likes on Facebook and 37million instagram followers. Due to 5,632,075 YouTube views a man who created a song about a fish that costs £1, now has his very own music video. This is just one example of how anything that a mass of people on social media are intrigued by can cause the average person to become famous.

In my opinion I do believe because of the cyber-generation that we are living in now, it has definitely affected the music industry, the business industry, the advertising industry and much more. For businesses, labels, musicians, journalists, photographers and others from the industry it really is a case of embrace digital media or fail.

This is a guest post written by an intern called Olivia Lynch.

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