Social Media Has Conditioned You to Be Unable to Distinguish Crap Music from Quality [OP-ED]
In this day and age, social media has become a huge necessity and benefactor for producers and artists who are trying to make any kind of impact on the music industry. But has social media made the producers that we idolize and follow into products instead of musical geniuses?
If the world has proved anything to us, it’s this: money, fame, and sex appeal can win over anything… even talent. Music producers have become the punching bag for extreme critics in the music industry due to the fact that we know exactly what is involved with making a well crafted work of art. Just like film critics, who watches a movie and can see pan shots and wide angles that work or don’t necessarily work for a scene, we as producers can tell the difference between a well crafted record and a record that just doesn’t cut it and sounds like absolute crap due to its over simplification or just laziness. *cough* *cough* DJ Khaled - I’m the One Ft. Who cares? *cough* *cough*
As listeners and consumers, it is time for us to really start taking a deep look at the reality of the situation here. In EDM we are desperately trying to find something new and refreshing to help reinvigorate the genre, but are looking for it in the wrong places. There are plenty of talented dance producers in the industry today, but it's our jobs as the audience to make sure that they are being heard, either through word of mouth or sharing songs on spotify or even Facebook. We have to stop being afraid of being invested into something new and to be confident with our choices of what sounds good and what doesn’t. Just because there’s a recognizable face on a record doesn’t necessarily mean that the track is going to be fantastic, it could be a huge reel in for easy money in which we really have to stop.
The success of a producer is sometimes gauged upon how many followers a certain artist may have or the amount of hits an artist’s mix has gained. Regardless of how the music is, even if it's complete garbage, branding and sex appeal, can help an “OK” track become the next big hit. You’ve seen them before, the Instagram influencer with the black tee with emboldened graphics, sharp kicks that contribute to their “aesthetic.” That’s not music, that’s marketing. And you’re a victim of it.
(If I take one more picture of food, I should gain 500 more followers)
The problem we are having today because the general populace cannot figure out for themselves what is actually a well crafted work. Obviously, choosing what sounds good is a very opinionated topic and everyone is subjective in their viewpoint about what consists as quality music. But too often we find ourselves in a space where we love the record because of the producer, not because of what it actually sounds like.
Hits and views should not justify how good a record is. It is because of this notion that the music industry is considered extremely shallow. I have met with plenty of “artists” who are always saying they have worked with so-and-so and knew artist such-and-such on a personal level. That doesn’t fly by me, because once you realize and get to start to know these people, you find out the hard way that what they have been broadcasting didn’t contain a lick of truth. If I had a penny for every time someone had boasted about themselves as a “somebody” in the music industry, I would be living in Paris right now with a glass of wine sitting on top of the Eiffel Tower eating something expensive. Out of all the entertainment businesses, the music industry is considered to be the most shallowest and now you can understand why.
A prime example of how the media lied to us in order to sell something is Fyre Festival. The festival has now become one of the biggest jokes in EDM history and is now under fire with a 100 million dollar lawsuit, but how did people even get to know about this? Through celebrities, models, artists, and even producers pushing the festival on their own social media by posting pictures of themselves with #Fyre Festival as its label. People were gullible enough to buy and purchase tickets to an desolate island purely due to the fact that the people who were advertising it were famous.
(Don't be sold by marketing tactics like those used at Fyre Festival)
This also directly relates to sales on disposable music. We as listeners take this kind of abuse daily from producers who should be leading the industry with new, smart, and refreshing takes on the music. Instead, they take advantage of listeners by being lazy and throwing a bunch of features on it to cover up all the crap. Remember, if you polish and decorate a piece of crap, it still in the end is a piece of crap that just now has glitter on it.
Social media does have a huge impact on our society and is a way for artists and producers to reach out to their fan base and get to know them on a personal level. Just like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, he constantly uses his instagram profile as a way to connect with his fan base on a mature and genuinely good level. It's the ulterior motive in the end of what you’re trying to receive from your fan base that makes the final judgement on what you’re trying to do that justifies your career. Sellouts like certain artists and producers who are in the music industry today are only trying to make a profit, but in a way where they are taking advantage of its fan base. This is where we need to draw the line and to not let these industry leaders take control over what we want to hear and listen to. Unlike in politics, where we have absolutely no clue what’s going on with the inner workings of our government and don’t know which news outlet to trust, we can actually hear the product that these producers give us and can make a clear judgement on if the record is actually good or not. A lot of times, these celebrities get caught up in their own popularity and forget about the fact of how they got there, which is through us, their fan base who have supported them through their young beginnings.
In the end, social media is an absolute necessary evil. If you want to be relevant in this trendy societal generation, you have to be and keep up to date with the people who follow you, or else you’ll quickly be forgotten and erased from memory. Social media has most likely done more harm than good in our industry due to the fact that the most popular celebrities in the industry are constantly sponsored by brands and labels who help push them out instead of seeing actual true talent that’s being masked amongst this huge imposing cloud. We as the listeners need to stop this and make a stand because our industry, especially in the dance community, are being wrecked by talentless good looking people. We need to be asking more from our industry leaders to keep providing the unending burn of our passion for great music and to create records that are timeless instead of cash ins. Once we are able to independant from our own decisions of what actually sounds good, the music industry overall can really start healing itself.
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Ryan is passionate about the creation of music, and considers it a form of art that can entice human emotions to a level beyond their own comprehension.