It’s not unusual to wake up and scroll through your Instagram feed and spot Miley smoking a joint, Chris Brown firing back at his ex, or Selena sporting a barely anything. It’s funny to think about how a few years ago, artists were attacked by the public for questionable things the media captured them doing. Drugs and alcohol caught on photo were heavily scrutinized by fans and the younger the artist, the worse the backlash was. However, the rising of social media and its ubiquity has transformed how fans view artists; social media gives artists a platform to connect with the public on a personal level that is free from media intervention. The line musicians have through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat engage fans in a way that traditional news coverage never could in that they provide unfiltered, real content directly from the artist them.
However, the uncensored stream of content has its concerns to many artists’ PR teams. Some artists do not manage their social media accounts as they do not have time for it or just don’t want to while others have complete control over theirs. This is where issues start to arise, as artists post whatever they want whenever they want without any consulting. Miley Cyrus has used social media to help transform her Disney Channel, good girl image into the crazy stoner image she now has, posting pics of herself with blunts on Instagram almost daily. Sky Ferriera broke away from her teen pop-star image by projecting her new badass and IDGAF vibes across Instagram and Facebook as well.
Despite the fact that artists are posting more controversial things on their accounts, they are none the less reaching mass audiences in a super efficient way. Celebrity subtweeting has become somewhat expected from those in the entertainment industries, and it’s no surprise when Kanye or Nicki Minaj get in senseless fights with other artists. The interesting thing is the amount of traction that these scandalous photos or petty tweets gain. Fans thrive off of every new post made by their favorite artist, so following them across every social media platform becomes key. The more racy or controversial the post, the more people will talk and the more attention these artists will receive, increasing their fanbase with minimal effort.
As Harriet Gibsone discusses in an article published in The Guardian, the reason behind artists posting these attention-grabbing photos is up for debate: do they post them because they feel artistically inclined to, just as a form of self expression? Or do they post them to attract greater media attention, build hype, and perhaps promote their content? Obviously artists use social media to promote their music, brands, clothing lines, and anything else they want. Social media is heavily used as a marketing tool and artists aren’t afraid to express that.
However, the fact that social media is used for promotion is key. The question we should be asking is is social media helping the music industry or damaging it? It’s clear that social media is powerful enough to create hype for an album that won’t be released for months on end, but reckless usage by artists who believe that anything they want to post is fine and dandy might not always be the way to go. Artists amass many fans through social media, however, they also tend to attract many ‘haters’ through the hateful, biased, and sometimes blatant lies they post. Social media is a double edged sword and artists must be sure to use it carefully, as it can either boost their success and profitability, or taint their image and discourage people from buying their music.
Harriet Gibsone’s article: http://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/feb/19/social-media-damaging-music-industry-pr-twitter-kanye-west