Today, recording artists have more responsibilities than ever before.
In addition to making more music to keep up with never-ending release cycles and touring the world multiple times over, artists are also responsible for upkeeping their digital identity on social media to constantly please their fans.
For some, this process can be extremely taxing. While a show or studio session ends, social media is always on.
Lady Gaga’s show director and choreographer, Richard Jackson, once told me he couldn’t imagine artists such as Michael Jackson or David Bowie willing to take the creative risks they did if they came along in today’s era… An era where the world is immediately providing real-time feedback the artists and their teams are always listening to.
What about the artists that don’t use social media well and still make it huge?
Well, has there been one since social media exploded? Adele’s emergence was prior, which begs the question, is it possible today for an artist to break without being proficient at social media?
As social media became the dominant form of artist-to-fan communication, managers and record labels led the charge by organizing posting schedules and often operating these channels for the artists. With the introduction of instagram stories and snap, social media shifted to a real-time first person perspective, adding pressure to the artist to consistently create and share themselves.
While an artist could be creative in their approach, the fans demanded to look inside the artists’ personal lives – What was lost in mystery was gained in followers. The artists willing to share themselves have largely thrived in the new era, and even many of the most enigmatic artists regularly update their accounts.
It takes more than creating music to be an artist today, but does social media favor the artists who are actually the most talented and capable of being perennial superstars? I don’t know.
However, I do believe there is an ideology needed for artists to understand the importance of social media – Simply put, our artist Thutmose said it best last week: “[Social media is] entertainment”.
Artists at their core are entertainers. People just want to be entertained. While having your own channel to reach fans can be an extensive and at times exhausting responsibility, instead of seeing it as an obligation, it can actually be viewed as an opportunity to do what an artist does best: entertain.
While there surely are artists who have figured out how to build their brands socially and created multi-million dollar businesses without much quality content, art still reigns supreme. Artists need to plan their use of social media effectively in order ensure they are spending the majority of their time creating the music and the art surrounding it. With more and more noise, high quality, well-positioned, relevant content has more power than ever.
However, quantity of releases, posts, stories, etc. are still proving essential to grow content and maximize its exposure.
I have always believed there are unique ways to tell artists’ stories via social media – When our artist ZHU was nominated for a Grammy, he had never posted on social media – not once! However, he is an anomaly.
Unless your name is already Frank Ocean, Kanye West, or Adele, the landscape has changed and regardless of how artists feel about social media, the ones who commit to producing a consistent stream of high quality creative content are the ones winning – both online and in real life.
There will always be artists who do things differently, but if you’re entering the marketplace today, it’s time to think of social media as another instrument or version of your show because it’s the way people are discovering you and your art.