Guest Article by Nicole McCray
As with anything in life, nothing is ever all good or bad. That’s why music and social media can seemingly have love-hate relationships. Social media for many artists and creative individuals has helped launch their careers. On the other hand, making it doesn’t necessarily mean the same as it used to. You can go viral in today’s world, which has amounted to producing many of the same types of songs.
If an influencer uses your audio for TikTok, that could be the start of your life. It also may have some unwanted associations. So, let’s talk about what social media has done for music, both in a positive and maybe negative light.
Becoming More Discoverable
TikTok, Instagram reals, YouTube shorts, and social media, in general, has made it much easier for talented artists to become discoverable. Justin Bieber is a great example; he uploaded his content to YouTube for many to see. And even more so now, with audio being saved to make popular TikTok dances, it’s becoming increasingly easy to go viral.
This is a definite upside for artists who don’t have the connections or money to fly out to a record label and start producing their own albums or music. 24KGoldin, a singer who created the popular “Mood” song, is just one example of many who used TikTok to gain notoriety.
The downside to becoming a viral video is that some artists may experience flash flame. The opportunity doesn’t allow artists to rest on their laurels. Fans will quickly move on to the next viral hit if artists don’t continue to produce hits.
Recently, John Mayor opened up in an interview about it being different today as an artist. It may have been harder to make it as a pop star then, but now there is more competition than ever. Seemingly everyone is famous on social media. This can create a lot of pressure to stay relevant, whereas before, once you made it, you made it.
Artists Are More Connected with Fans
Being more connected with fans is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you can develop incredible loyal fan bases like Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez have. On the other, it doesn’t leave room for any privacy.
Taylor Swift has been very successful because she has been able to connect with her fans and bring them on her journey. And when you are so in touch with what your fans like, you are able to produce more music that will be a hit. Having feedback can be incredibly valuable at times.
For as many people that will love you as an artist, there are a lot of haters as well. This has had an incredible impact on many artists’ mental health. Everything that they do is analyzed and criticized, so knowing when to shut off the comments is important.
It’s also not great from the standpoint of making music that is for your fans and not for yourself. Sometimes the popular music that is viral may feel more generic to some. It may make you money and popular, but it may not also be the music you were hoping to produce at first.
Is Social Media Music Taking Over Streaming?
The way music is being made, in general, is changing. It wasn’t until the early 2000s that many of us were still buying CDs. When the music industry was disrupted and changed to streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, many artists were unsure if they liked the direction music was going. Now we have another disruptor with social media.
Warner released financials this late November explaining that social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, and Snapchat have had growing revenue from music at an exponential rate. Faster than their numbers from streaming.
How does this change things?
Social media companies are going straight to artists and producers, offering a lot of money to pay for rights to their music over streaming companies. This may not only change the financial position that an artist is willing to consider but also impacts the way they produce music. The catchier a song is, the more likely it will be used by those who use social media.
As an artist, you can also take more control over your music by learning how to license music for YouTube. Whether it’s copywriting your own music or getting permission to use someone’s copyrighted music, it’s a must. This will save you the headache of getting your videos flagged and taken down by YouTube.
Going With The Flow
If there is one thing we know to be certain, it’s that nothing ever stays the same. So, equating music to be all good or all bad with social media would be a misstep for artists and those in the music industry. If you are able to adapt quickly, then companies have shown that it is a major cash cow and provides plenty of opportunity for artists, producers, and labels. We have already seen a number of big players, like Sony, strike deals with major social media companies.
And for artists that are capable of dancing, this becomes an even bigger opportunity. Most of the time, music that goes viral is associated with a trend or dance. If you are the one to make it up, you can gain a lot of exposure to different audiences around the world. Simply put, continuing to be creative and adapting your work style will serve you well in an ever-changing music industry.