The social networks step by step (enlarged) have been introduced in the day to day of multiple societies, cultures and businesses. Positively and so to say not so positive, but the idea of this article is not to create a debate between one pole and another, but rather to satisfy that curiosity of how social networks influence in music with the story of the protagonists themselves.
Henna Juvonen is a musician, singing teacher and member of the band Miau from Helsinki, Finland. She says:
“I use social media mainly for networking and exchanging ideas with colleagues. It’s also a way for me to keep up with what’s going on in the industry, and I’m able to tell my friends what kind of projects I’m currently working with.
The influence of social media has been quite huge, both good and bad. It provides many opportunities for promoting your band or a project in a creative way, but at the same time, the way of promoting really needs to stand out. Also, the pace has gotten a lot faster. It’s so easy and quick to communicate with your colleagues whether you are searching for a musician for a gig or trying to find a substitute teacher. The downside might be that it’s often assumed that you are available all the time and that you should react very fast to different inquiries.
In any case, I consider that the influence to my work has been a lot more on the positive side, whether it’s about getting new ideas or discussing about singing techniques with colleagues or seeing all the best cat videos!”
Actions and reactions
It is very likely that most of us think about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn as the first thing, when hearing the term "social media". But the number of channels that exist are innumerable. When Henna talked about "music networking", I think of the old and beloved MySpace, which used to be the main channel to interact with artists prior to Facebook. I'm not saying that does not happen nowadays, but because of the number of users on social networks, artists simply cannot react quickly and totally to the actions of their fans.
Networking remains the keyword, especially when you have the ability to collaborate and receive collaboration with artists from all over the globe.
“Personally I think it's great. Social media has enabled me to be in contact with peers and like-minded people around the world and it's enabled me to collaborate on songwriting with people who I would never have met in real life. It's also the best way to reach a bigger audience, if you're doing something more marginal.” We are told by Pyry Suomala, a musician, composer and member of the band Skip Zone from Helsinki.
Not only are the musicians the ones that benefit from social media or experience its disadvantages, but each artist involved in the music scene: tattoo artists, sound engineers, radio hosts, designers and photographers, like Emmi Kähkönen, also from Helsinki:
“I've done social media publishing for events and festivals. I've got lots of new customers through social media. I think social media is a great way for photographers to showcase their work and get (a wide) audience for the pictures. You might get a lot of attention with a small input. But there are also negative sides, like the fact that people might steal your photos and publish them without giving the photographer credits of the image. It's annoying.”
Does this sound familiar? Stealing artistic material on social networks is headache for many artists and thus the dark side in the sharing paradise. Protecting audio material, photographs and graphics is a long, long topic and many networks like Spotify have managed to handle it well.
Well, let's go back to the positive side of social media. Although the term "globalization" is contradictory for many, to be able to publicize your material and have an infinite world of musical variety within reach, it only tells you that the era of market bureaucracy is falling down. Jack Norton, from Turku, Finland, tells us a bit about his experience:
"Despite the distance, music reaches everywhere; I have been fortunate enough to record in two countries like Spain and Finland and I see that the people in Venezuela are always supporting. But there is so much information, so many bands that you lose yourself in a jungle and that makes it harder to stand out among millions of artists.
In the 80's or 90's everything was produced by big television and record companies and only 80 bands competed, most of which were from the US and the UK. You can already get to know everyone as in Iceland, Finland and Argentina. The market is huge and of great quality. "
This information overload is, of course, something positive, as there is so much variety available. But how do the artists handle the presence in order to interact and fulfill the demands of the followers? Something we had already mentioned earlier and that really seems to be a full-time job. Alex Siegel, a musician from Santa Monica, California in the US, tells us about his solution:
“Social media is a super useful way to give friends and fans a window into your work, a glimpse of life on the road and news about projects. Yet the pressure to share and maintain an online presence can distract from the creative work itself, and being active on social media sometimes begins to feel like an obligation rather than an opportunity. I've found a solution that works for me is: do not overthink it and be yourself!”
As a personal note of reference, to avoid this overload a bit: You must choose the best strategy to be used at the right time on the different channels. It is an exhaustive work to be behind multiple channels updating information, staying actively in touch with the followers and also protecting the material. There are many hours left for creative work and so many artists "disappear" from the media for a while. It seemed to be much more effective, for not to say easy, in the MySpace era and I refer again because of this sympathetic comment from the charismatic musician Gian Olivieri (Gianko) from Buenos Aires, Argentina:
"We come from before the social networks", for the first recitals of Cachicamoconcaspa we only had MySpace. Literally, all the advertising was done there. It was also our direct way to contact our followers. Currently we do it on Facebook and we have the Twitter account practically abandoned. But hey... nothing like the MySpace times!"
Gian Olivieri (Gianko)
We cannot close this article with a moral and we cannot put a balance on the different aspects because the pros of the use of social networks are immense. In my opinion there are more pros than cons and every artist, media or company should be aware when it comes to sharing information and looking for the most effective way to be available to their followers with the appropriate content and the accurate channels.