While music industry churns, artists need higher standards

In the last few years, promotion for music has exploded on social media. Many artists use social media to communicate to their followers about new music and understand what their fans expect from them. 

Justin Bieber recently posted a picture on his Instagram that read: “If this gets 20 million likes, Justin Bieber will release an album before Christmas.” The post currently stands at 11 million likes two weeks later, with celebrities like DJ Khaled and Logan Paul resharing the post on their accounts. Bieber hasn’t released an album since 2015’s “Purpose,” and this post acts as a test to see if his fans will deliver.

Bieber captioned the post, “I gotta see the demand. Your support will make me move faster.” While this may be a harmless marketing tactic, it comes off as a bribe to get fans to almost beg for new music in the form of Instagram likes.

Artists typically become motivated to work on new music because they are creatively inspired. Ideas for songs and albums often come about through life changes and milestones that push artists to make art about it. It is okay to take your time for yourself in between albums, as Adele hasn’t released an album since 2015 and fans are eagerly awaiting new music from Lorde since her 2017 release “Melodrama.”

But, giving an ultimatum on social media for fans and relying on likes for motivation undermine the artistic process and make music more of a commodity than it already is. 

The rapper Desiigner found himself in an embarrassing scenario last year when he asked for 50,000 retweets on Twitter in exchange for his new single. The tweet garnered 1,800 retweets 72 hours later, not the result that he was anticipating. As an up-and-coming artist, it is important to develop a closer relationship with your fans to expect them to flood support toward your new music. Even Bieber couldn’t get his fans, who are very passionate, to like and share his post enough times to reach 20 million.

Bieber’s language in his post suggested that him making music is affected by the number of social media likes he gets. While many artists use social media to promote new music, basing your artistic process on something as insubstantial as Instagram likes takes away from the craft itself. Also, it’s not the best way to communicate with fans if their support is being used as a marketing technique.

Making music is a process that takes time and effort and can’t be popped out of thin air. Support is never a given and artists should strive to challenge themselves and make music that they are inspired to make and that their fans will like, rather than relying on how many people come across an Instagram post and double tap.

In the case of Desiigner, whose hit “Panda” blew up and became certified five times platinum, his new music failed to receive that much attention, showing that social media popularity doesn’t translate to guaranteed success. 

Using demand as the inciting motivation to make more music puts it on the level of a product for sale, rather than as a result of artistic innovation and skill. Additionally, measuring support from fans in the form of social media likes trivializes their passion and dedication for an artist.

There are many tactics that artists use to promote their music and share their life experiences with their fans. While asking for retweets or likes in exchange for new music is a playful move and doesn’t pose any harm, the artist assumes that their music will perform well if there is an overwhelming response.

Artists should release music because they are proud of what they’ve made and want to share it with the rest of the world, not solely for the support they will receive. A viral Instagram post can have an impact, but doesn’t say anything about the music or how it will resonate with audiences.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Targum.

Support Independent Student Journalism

Your donation helps support independent student journalists of all backgrounds research and cover issues that are important to the entire Rutgers community. All donations are tax deductible.