Technically Philly: Social Media and the Music Industry

Concert goers enjoyed the atmosphere at the Radio 104.5 concert.

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Over the past few years social media has completely changed the music industry, but is that a good or bad thing for undiscovered artists?

Social media is making it easier for new artists to be discovered in many ways but Wendy Rollins of Radio 104.5 said, “it’s kind of a double edged sword.”

Vine was used to record local artists at World Cafe Live.
Vine was used to record local artists at World Cafe Live.

It allows undiscovered artists a way to get their name out and a way to be noticed that they never had before. Unfortunately this is something that anyone can do, so artists have to be even more creative in order to stand out amongst all of the other videos, tweets and websites.

“There is more competition for an independent artist now,” Rollins said, “it’s how those really talented artists rise above.”

Now what the industry is starting to see are bands that aren’t that good, but really know how to make a good video, getting noticed while other great bands, who lack those video skills, aren’t getting that exposure. What is becoming more common are cross industry partnerships.

“They get some of their buddies that are amazing at something like that, film students,” Rollins said,  “and say you need to get some experience and I need a video.”

More traditional media outlets like JUMP Magazine are still a great way for local, undiscovered artists to get their name out. Twitter is great because it allows musicians to connect with fans in other cities, but something like JUMP, Rollins said, is “just another avenue for them to get their face out there.”

Local magazines like JUMP are trying to gain access to artists as well so the relationship is mutually beneficial.

People at WXPN radio listened to bands looking to be featured on their station.
John Vettese, eitor of “The Key,” WXPN’s music blog, listened to bands looking to be featured on the station.

“You can only go so far with social networking,” Rollins said,  “and screaming into the void and hoping that somebody thinks your Instagram is cool.” JUMP is right there for people to see. It isn’t something they have to search for on social media.

Some social media platforms are more conducive to getting a band noticed than others.

“I have noticed a lot of bands using Vine,” Rollins said.

Vine allows artists to put together short clips of whatever they may be doing into a short video for fans to see.

“You get a clip of the music and you also get to see what’s happening inside the studio… bands giving fans a view backstage, but mostly exposing them to new music and the process.”

Vine allows people who aren’t musicians that look inside the process. It lets them see what happens between making the music and listening to the finished product.

Kickstarter is a different kind of social media that is growing in popularity among artists. It allows up and comers a chance to share their ideas and potentially gain investors in their project. For making donations investors get music downloads, t-shirts, or other products. This is a great way for the undiscovered artist to get their music out into the industry.

Bandcamp and Soundcloud are other useful tools that artists are starting to utilize. They are music sharing sites that artists can use to make profiles where they can put music for the public to listen to for free.

In some ways social media is making the music industry a smaller place. Artists are able to become noticed in this arena as well as become connected with fans from all over the world. Social media also allows audience members a more intimate view of how their favorite artists are developing their music.