Social media. Whether it’s scrolling through Facebook, posting memes on Twitter, taking selfies on Instagram or sending funny pics with your friends on Snapchat, all of us participate in using social media of some form. In this day and age, social media has become a necessity in our daily lives, as it gives us the ability to freely share our opinions, communicate with people, find out about daily news, watch videos – the list is endless! And its influence on the growth of music is no different.
Other methods of advertising or discovering new music, although still used today, almost seem primitive and hard work in comparison to posting your music in one, single 140-character tweet linked with a clickable URL to whoever wants to listen. Popular music artists, whose validity can be distinguished through a follower count or a simple blue tick, have the opportunity to talk – or argue, as it has been known, with their fans, or anyone who has an account. Since there are 330 million active monthly users on Twitter, 2.27 billion on Facebook and 1 billion on Instagram, it is fair to say that this number can only be beneficial to advertising your music or finding out what people think about you with a simple search. Having this many users active across multiple social media, will allow different demographics and audiences to hear music they have never heard before, whether their friends shared it or they happened to stumble upon it – music is hard to miss! Music artists can also share tour dates, tease an upcoming album, or even promote other people’s music as they have a large following.
It wasn’t always that easy for music artists to share their music to the world though. People that wanted to have a successful career in music would have to start by independently making a record themselves, get it played on the radio by a company that liked what they heard. Record labels would then sign artists from what they heard from the radio so that they could earn an income from music. These days, artists can simply make money through advert clicks that play at the start of YouTube music videos – given that the music video/lyrics fall under YouTube guidelines in order to approve monetization. Which seems easier said than done as most popular music videos and songs these days seem explicit. There was also the method after records, which saw CDs sweep the shelves of every supermarket and shop. Due to the advancement of technology, Artists advertised their music on the television and it was easier to obtain their music through smaller, portable CDs that you could play on a computer or CD player. Despite this technology, social media allowing you to listen and download music through streaming platforms, built-in to your phone reigns supreme in its influence and growth for music. Also, huge amounts of money was spent on promotional campaigns just to get someone heard, however, due to the popularity of social media, a few retweets or likes on an Instagram post would get the views needed. This is the method used by many new popular artists, as a lot of them ended up going viral on social media first in order to come famous.
The streaming platforms (Apple Music and Spotify being the main two) also use social media to hear feedback on how to improve the app, hear any complaints people have or to simply post about new music that can be found on the app. Spotify has accumulated 2.8 million followers on twitter, whilst Apple Music has 9.3 million followers. These two forms of digital technologies are linked and go hand in hand in the rise of music, as streaming platforms allow you to download endless songs (endless being when your phone storage runs out) to your phone all stored in an app in one single tap. While social media allows you to discover the music in order for you to download it in the first place! As it acts as a huge hub where you can advertise, give your opinion, share or search for any kind of music, with each social media platform having a seemingly infinite number of posts for any topic you are looking for. Social media and the topic of music can also allow you to communicate with likeminded people who enjoy the same music that you do. On Facebook, you are able to join groups people have made about anything, from hip-hop fans to heavy metal fans to avant-garde jazz fans. No matter the genre or artist, you will be able to find a community of people who listen to the same music. If you join these groups you can communicate with the people within the group and post music that maybe they haven’t heard, and discover some on your own! What does social media not do?