For those who aren’t familiar, I run a electronic dance music website where we constantly post the latest music and news in the industry. At the end of January, I decided to take my knowledge of web design, digital marketing, and my knowledge of the music industry to help up-and-coming producers. I will also be cross posting all of the articles here as while the information is made for electronic dance music artists, it can be easily translated into any other industry.
Did you click on this article because of the aggressive clickbait title? Of course you did! If you didn’t, I commend you. Just, please don’t exit out immediately as this wasn’t intended on being a misleading title. In fact, I am going to address it all. This week’s article was going to be about another service. I was going to write about Twitter and how interesting the social media service is in regards to people. Instead, I wanted to focus on something radically different. I want to focus on you, the artist. I want to help you out. I want to essentially take your mindset and completely reset it. I am going to give you the secrets to the most successful artists and people. I am also going to address some of the articles I have written already and even doing something unusual and address another Electronic Dance Music website which is essentially taboo because we want to keep you on our site. Although, they make great points on both sides and I want to address them in today’s post. First, let us look back on the past few weeks.
Started From the Bottom; Now We’re Here
On January 23rd, 2017, I started this series with a post introducing this series, Shaping the Next Big Artist with what I had planned. I did it because I have talked with artists big and small about how they got where they are. I am no producer. I barely consider myself a DJ as I only did it through college for fun. I am more fascinated on how to reach people. I am also fascinated by the music industry. With this series, I wanted to finally combine the two passions to help others. These are topics that people pay for and personally, there is no reason to pay for it. Although, if you see this on Amazon one day for $0.99, don’t hate me. Sorry. I digress. Anyway, I remember seeing this image as I addressed in my first post.
Since the first post, we talked about being a public relations manager with discussing how to make contacts / writing emails. We discussed being a producer in the sense of understanding on how to go about receiving criticism. I talked about becoming a social media networker with the basic overview of social media as a whole and fully understanding the power of Facebook. We understood the idea behind label owners or merchandising heroes when it comes to basic branding as well as planning out your moves. I made being a web programmer very simple by giving you options for the beginner or advanced user when it comes to websites. Now, I want to bring everything I’ve wrote on together before I continue writing more informational articles.
Social Media Sucks
*Queue big taboo moment.* This past weekend, in between me drinking an inhumane amount of alcohol, I spent my time doing some reading and listening to fireside marketing chats because honestly, I thoroughly enjoy that more than anything else currently in my life. Three articles caught my eye along with a few conversations which spurred this whole post. I read Hashtag Blessed: Music’s Unfortunate Social Media Side Hustle by Wolfgang Gartner (he wrote this in 2015), Connected Not Neglected: An Artist’s Online Presence Is As Important As Their Music by Funster who is Mixmag’s Deputy Digital Editor, and finally Fuck Social Media: To Succeed In Dance Music, You Just Need Great Records by Louis Anderson-Rich who is Mixmag’s Digital Intern. Can you see where I am going with this.
Social media doesn’t mean anything. You don’t need social media. Forget about social media. You may be confused now. I am saying social media stinks and you don’t need it, but if you read my other articles, I am being a total hypocrite. Yes, but no. Here’s the thing. I read these two competing articles between Mixmag writers and they all made very good points and valid points. They bring in examples. Those examples work. They also don’t work. I am being very confusing, but stick with it. They work because obviously those examples are proof in the words. They don’t work because they’re not you. I can give you examples all day and I do in all my articles, but at the end of the day, they’re not you. You should not copy them because you’ll fail.
At the end of the day, it comes down to your music. It comes down to your music. It is either great or it stinks. That’s the binary way of viewing it. Outside of that, it is based upon whether other people think it is great or it stinks. Social media isn’t going to make your music better. This is the statement where if The FPIA reads this, he’ll drop names that are big because of social media. You’re not wrong. There are artists who aren’t really artists and they are huge because of social media. We can’t deny that. Hell, those “artists” may not make the music. They may have an agency tweeting and posting on Facebook for them. They will probably be using Instagress or Boostgram to auto follow or comment on social media. Honestly, that’s the truth. An artist most likely didn’t find your photo of you on your account with 100 followers, smiling in a crowd, liked it, and commented a fire emoji. Sorry to break that news to you.
You’re in a marathon and not a sprint. This isn’t a race to get on a mainstage and make a million dollars. Sure, that’s good, but once you realize you can sustain that because you’re constantly relying on others to keep you relevant. This is why artists like Carl Cox are still around. This is why Deadmau5 continues to kill it. This is why plenty of artists have been in the game for 10, 20, 30+ years. Was social media around in the 80’s? No. Was it relevant in the 90’s? No. MySpace was the first company to truly attract artists and relevancy with social media. Music didn’t begin with social media.
Social media is a tool. You don’t have a toolbox full of just hammers. The end of the game is to get your music in front of people. I don’t care if you use smoke signals, tv commercials, or tweet it a million times. The whole point of social media is to use it right. I will do it again. I will break down what social media for you from my basic overview of social media.
First, let’s read how Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “social media.”
forms of electronic communication (as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)
Social media is essentially a buzzword. That said, let’s break it down a bit more. The definition of social is:
of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society
The definition of media is:
a medium of cultivation, conveyance, or expression
If you don’t like Instagram. Don’t use it. If you don’t like any social media, don’t use it. There is a running joke that was visualized by The Oatmeal that slow internet is far worse than no internet. You rather have no social media than half done nonsense. Straight up, don’t even bother. Unless your career is social media, then you better be on top of social media.
Will social media help you get your name out there? Yes. Will it help communicate to your fans? Yes. Will it help expedite you in growing your brand? Absolutely. Is it required? No. So when I saw those three articles, I agreed with all of them. I understand the underbelly that Wolfgang Gartner talked about in 2015 and essentially predicted what was happening in 2017. Do I believe that an artist’s online presence is as important as their music? NO! MUSIC IS PRIORITY. Now, if we’re talking about your brand outside of your music; it is in that case that social media becomes a huge priority.
At the end of the day, people complain about the image I show above because it is hard work to be an artist now-a-days. As DJ Khaled said, you played yourself because anybody who runs any business knows that you need to be able to do everything and anything. The best boss has done the bottom tier jobs and the executive jobs.
You Suck. Give up. Call it Quits. Get a normal job. Be a fan and not an artist.
If you’re not willing to put in the grind, put in the work, don’t bother making music. If I had to guess, you’re not a prodigy and it doesn’t come easy. Nothing does. I don’t care if you’re the best or the worst. Everyone started relatively the same place with knowing nothing. If you don’t want to put in the time practicing your craft, give up. If you don’t want to focus on your brand whether or not you use social media, don’t bother. If you think this is about rock n’ roll lifestyle, just buy some booze and drugs and save yourself the time trying to get that messed up on stage. If you take to heart what others say to bring you down. Listen to them. Just give up.
If you are giving up. Good. The industry doesn’t want you. If you read any of that and you’re still willing to put in hours upon hours in the studio experimenting and trying to create music for you and you to share, then you’re in the right place. Those who are successful don’t care what others say. I am going to use an example of a kid who is new with our team. We’re still vetting him. Although, he said something that stood out to me and this wasn’t the first time I’ve heard it and it won’t be the last. He was telling me that he has been making music for a number of years now. He wants to be in the industry, but right now he doesn’t think it is viable. I asked why. He said his parents and some friends think it is silly and won’t get him anywhere. I asked him did he try. He said no. He listened to them.
I told him to ignore his parents. Ignore his “friends.” Ignore everyone who says you can’t. They’re garbage. I told him to continue with it. Now, I understand if you need to make money and go to school. There are days that you are off and out of the 24 hours-a-day, you’re not busy during every single second of every single minute of every single hour of every single day. I told him focus on it as much as he can. If you start to become successful and have proof, go with it. Your parents and friends will understand then and probably stink up to you a bit.
On March 7th, 2015, I met and interviewed Robby and Freddy of Louis the Child at Snowstorm Winter Music and Arts Festival in Chicago. I wish I still had the interview which was lost (THANKS SOUNDCLOUD FOR SUCKING). Although, I will NEVER EVER FORGET this moment. At the time, Robby was a senior in high school and about to go to USC and Freddy had a few years to go. They’re young. I knew they were going to blow up when I check their set out instead of seeing Trippy Turtle and they captured my attention away from one of the main artists I wanted to see at the time. I asked them the following:
What do your parents think about your music career in regards to schooling
The question is one of my top ones for young artists because juggling a lifestyle like this is very difficult without school. Freddy told it best. Prior to them blowing up, Freddy’s parents told him that he can focus on his career in music and even go to college for it, but it had to be either a second major or (most likely) a minor. Then, they started hitting a million listens on Soundcloud. He said after that, his parents attitude was to go full into music because clearly there was something there.
I may or may not have slightly butched semantics, but the point I am making is that people change. Perceptions change especially when you have proof. It is difficult to see someone work hard and picture them doing well. It is another to see them working hard and succeeding. In the case of Freddy, they encouraged him to continue, but wanted to have a major that was a backup. In the case of our new guy, he needs to ignore his parents. Get berated for a bit. Use that as fuel to increase your passion.
I can post motivationals all day long like by Casey Neistat (and Max Joseph) who really takes what I have been saying here and puts it into an awesome video:
Learn to tell people off. Tell them off and focus on what you love. Everything else will fall into place as long as you really put the effort and passion in.
Does Social Media Suck?
If you have made it this far from my clickbait title and my rants, congratulations. I commend you and thank you for sticking with me so far. If you watched the videos to enhance my content as well as read the other articles, you’re awesome. Although, you want answers. Well, it depends on you. Do you like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, or whatever social media there is out there? If the answer is yes, social media stinks. If you like one over the others, focus on it. Develop content around that using your brand and your music. Don’t put your eggs in one basket it unless you’re relying on your own website. Look at Vine. Vine stars had to switch outlets or become unheard of. Now, most are on Instagram. Look at people who relied on Snapchat, they’re on YouTube. Your fans will follow you. Your fans will find you if you love the social media and treat it like the site is developed to be treated. That is how it works. It is a tool you’re using to broadcast your brand and in turn your music. They come for the music. You provide the music. Content is king and in this case, your music is your content.
Do You Suck?
Yes. 100%. You stink. If you listen to me, you have bigger problems because I am not stopping you from continuing. I can tell you that you stink all day long, but if you’re scared of what I tell you or what your parents tell you, then you’re feeding into that rather than what you believe. In which case you shouldn’t have to ask if you need to give up, because you should already have done it.
If you think you stink and your work stinks and you’re afraid to share. YOU ARE YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY. There is no such thing as perfection. Perfection is a figurative expression. It doesn’t exist. Put out that work you’re sitting on. One of the funniest things I saw recently was Deadmau5 released a new album, W:/2016ALBUM/. If you’re familiar with the EDM world, you would know he disliked his album.
i don't even like it. it was like… so fucking rushed / slapped together. but i mean… hey, if you like it i wanna like it too, just dont.
— dead mow cinco (@deadmau5) November 20, 2016
Although, people enjoyed the album. At the end of the day, it is the market aka fans that determine if your album is good. Obviously, you want to put out the best work possible. If you’re not going to release your work at all, then your work can’t be even told it is good or bad. The good news is if your work is bad, well, you know how to go up from here. We all take criticism. We need to learn how to receive criticism. Use it to be better. Use it to grow. Don’t let failing stop you. It should have you grow. We all are afraid of being hated, but you should appreciate it.
Plus, who cares what people say that are random in the internet? What are they going to do to make your life worse or better? Seriously. Answer that question.
Should You Give Up?
Yes. Although, if you ignore those of us who tell you that you stink. You keep grinding out. You ignore those who tell you to quit and just do something that is proven, then you’re on the right path. Will the be right? When you give up and prove them to be right will the only time they will be right. Sorry to tell you, there is no right path. There is no wrong path.
That is why I grouped these topics together because having social media or not having it doesn’t matter. It matters on whether or not you’re creating music and not letting anyone especially yourself stand in your way from doing what you love, trying to make a living off what you love, and succeeding by sharing your music with the masses if that is your goal.
The best part about all of this is you’re going to stink in the beginning and that is when you’re going to get the most hate. This will exist with anything – the gym, school, work, sports, anything. The best part is the journey of getting better. It is about the hours learning, it is about the hours of experimenting, reading, testing, trying, sharing, and developing. Stick with it!