In recent years social media has become a handy tool not only for communicating but also for growing your brand or getting your name out there. However, just like any other tool, it has its own (and not so small) downsides like stealing your time, energy, and focus. So no wonder that growing a successful account on social media has become a full-time job. And we mean it literally. It is no news for us that there are dedicated people who manage brands’ virtual accounts, and ‘social media manager’ is indeed one of the most desired career paths. However, do we, musicians and artists, really need to make social media our full-time job? Shouldn’t our full-time job be… MAKING MUSIC? In this short article, we will discuss the pros and cons of social media from a music producer’s perspective and share some tips on being successful online while keeping your main focus on what you love the most – music!
Let’s talk about positive things first, shall we? Of course, we probably don’t even need to tell you that being able to share your music on social media is a huge gift for our generation. The possibility of reaching people worldwide from the comfort of your home is what anyone could only wish for back in the day. When the internet wasn’t a thing, and you had to physically go to record labels, send your CDs to the radio, or try to convince someone that you were ready to have a concert. Nowadays, it’s much easier as social media helps us grow our audiences, receive new and exciting career opportunities, and, of course, earn more money by doing what we love. But besides that, what would be the other pros of social media for music producers?
Social media helps you share knowledge and learn
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced creator, you need to constantly learn and progress to become the best at what you’re doing. We all know that social media is a good tool to contact your friends, but it could also become a great platform to meet other music producers or colleagues in the field who can share their knowledge with you. And vice versa. In other words, it can help you find a mentor OR help you become one. Sometimes you don’t even need to contact anyone. You can simply learn from others by exploring their accounts, studying their techniques, and applying them to your works. Not to mention, social media can educate you on the hottest trends and help you find new tools and gadgets.
“In these days, it’s nice to be connected in one or the other way. Also to have a little chat or laugh or to see something new or to learn. You might even see a patch or a tool that you did not know before, find music u haven’t heard of,” – J.Manuel
Social media helps you meet your audience
You very rarely get to hear feedback after performing or releasing an album. Yes, some critics might comment on your work, but they are not necessarily your audience, right? So there come social media, which gives you an opportunity to hear everything directly from your listeners. Whether it may be good or bad, in the end, you need it all in order to progress. And what’s even more important, you, too, can ask your audience questions and learn from their experiences and thoughts. So, no wonder social media is a great tool that helps you become closer to your listeners, open up and let them learn who you truly are. You can start creating bonds and friendships or simply show them that you care and make music not only for yourself but also for them.
“I like the direct contact with an auditorium and like-minded people. Instagram can be like a never-ending lecture or workshop. We are in a constant creative process, and that can be beautiful,” – ANNA Z
Social media can help you find inspiration
It is a constantly growing pool of artists and ideas that cannot wait for you to delve deeper into it. Just like books, films, paintings, or any other type of art, social media can become a handy tool for seeking inspiration. As people like to call it, it is a new type of encyclopedia. A virtual encyclopedia. Of course, you must be very careful and choose your content wisely. However, if you stay aware of how much time you invest in being online, you will definitely benefit from the variety of artwork and muses waiting for you to find them. There are various channels and accounts that share not only their own creations but the works of classical geniuses. And all of this can be accessed only with a few clicks from the comfort of your home.
“I have a bittersweet relationship with social media. Sometimes it’s really inspiring to see things that other people are working on, but I also have a lot of concern for how it impacts us all socially, politically, and in terms of privacy,” – Emil Smith
Just like Emil, we, too, have some concerns with social media and its negative impact on us. It isn’t a secret that these platforms are constructed to suck us in the never-ending browsing. So, we like to raise questions, such as – when and why do artists decide to become content creators? And by making this decision, do they win, or actually… lose? No matter how good and useful social media sometimes might be, the dark side of it is definitely worth the discussion. Especially if, by talking about this more openly, we can change our perception and avoid making some crucial mistakes. Being aware of the cons can help us save time, energy, and sometimes even money. So we hope this will help you decide whether you, as a music producer, want to delve deeper into social media, considering its flaws.
Social media might not make you famous or rich
Although it is one of the main reasons why artists decide to start being more active on social media, the recent algorithms make it extremely difficult to grow your audiences quickly. It requires a lot of time, effort, and dedication. And, let’s be honest, not all of us have the energy to work on 7 posts a week while making music as well. If you’ve seen some artists go big in a blink of an eye, it’s often, most likely, pure luck or a talented PR team working behind this. Not to forget that there are millions of users who want this online success too. So, the competition is huge, and you might even need to invest your money to get noticed. However, even promoting posts does not guarantee you a successful career.
“I think it can be dangerous and poisonous to follow and fall for the algorithm of social media platforms. Making a movement by yourself is better than only following the tendency, as it can lead to degradation of an idea,” – ANNA Z
Social media can negatively impact your mental health
It has been proved by scientists that social media plays a huge role in our emotional and psychological well-being. From chronic tiredness to distorted self-image, if it affects just a simple viewer, imagine how it can affect someone who spends hours upon hours creating content and trying to grow their online presence. Not to mention the toxic and often judgemental environment in the comments, which can lead one to self-doubt and make them lose self-esteem. Just like your constant comparison to other, more successful or talented creators (or at least how they like to portray themselves). The lack of honesty and humbleness is definitely a huge and ever-growing problem in our social media communities too. All this can make you lose your focus and drive you to emotional and even physical burnout.
“I think social media has a tendency to cause a feeling of either insecurity or unnecessary competition, which in some cases can be unhealthy, but more importantly, I find that the most popular social networks are the most averse to privacy and the most likely to contribute to social collapse through malignant content algorithms… I’d say that’s a definite ‘con’. Before I stepped back from trying to maintain a musical release schedule and ’networking’, social media was a massive creative drain. I was too worried about people and drama, and it was time I’d rather have spent making music. Since then, I’ve found social media to be quite inspiring creatively. I use Reddit and Instagram to keep up-to-date on specific topics I’m interested in,” – Emil Smith
Social media can be distracting and time-consuming
Just like we said, social media takes a lot of your time and energy. You must constantly engage with your audience, create new and interactive content, generate ideas, etc. But the more time you spend writing that new post or filming that short video on your five favourite albums, the less time you have left for what is the most important to you – making music. This distraction can become a reason for your slow creative progress and even leave a negative impact on your career. Instead of focusing on improving your techniques, you might find yourself booking a place at a workshop on ‘How to become big on social media’. And we see a huge problem here. Not to be too dramatic, but you have decided to be a music producer and not a content creator for a reason, right?
“Yes, it can lead to comparisons and stuff like this. Not the art itself but how we view someone else’s life or productivity through a looking glass. Even if all of this is faked or just a glimpse of reality, it’s just envy or false ideals. We try not to care too much about it. It is dangerous how much time it can consume or what kind of consumption it can be. Yes, all this can negatively affect the creative process. But that is up to us as in many other things,” – J.Manuel
So, we have discussed some of the pros and cons of social media, and we feel that it’s time to give you advice on starting and/or growing your online presence. Nothing too big but, at the same time, very crucial. We hope it will be useful and help you not to lose your creative self in these constantly growing and changing platforms.
Be true to who you are. After all, your social media channels should first and foremost be about you and/or your art. You don’t need to follow trends or copy other creators to succeed. Honesty and individuality always win. So stick to what you are good at and make your own rules. You want to post your dog’s reaction to your new song? Go for it! You feel like sharing your dinner with your favourite music in the background? Why not! As long as you don’t overthink it and do it from the heart, you will find like-minded people who will fall in love with your personality and art.
Save your time. Make sure to monitor how long you work on growing your online presence. Set your boundaries and follow them. Look for ways to make your social media management more effective. Try scheduling your posts in advance and focus on quality, not quantity. No matter what social media coaches have been talking about, you definitely don’t need to post daily to grow your channel as long as you make quality and engaging content. Keep reminding yourself that your main focus should stay on making music, and social media is simply a tool to help you reach your audience.
Choose the right platform. It is important to do thorough research before choosing the social media platform that works best for you. Think of which platform you like. Ask yourself: when does my audience engage the most? Do they prefer hearing short snippets, seeing a picture of my setup, or listening to an hour-long performance? If you decide to work on a few platforms at a time, make sure to link them together and even use the same username to make it easier for your audiences to find you.
Here are some platforms approved by music producers:
“I use telegram a lot for music searches and a lot of personal discussions (music-related) without official charts or adverbs. Soundcloud is also a nice platform for hearing mixes. Instagram for direct communication with people,” – ANNA Z
“I use Reddit and Instagram, and that’s pretty much it. I deleted Facebook last year. Reddit is great because there are communities there for even the most niche specialist subjects, and I find the format tends to promote meaningful discussion. Also, the content algorithms are transparent and somewhat governed by the users, which is pretty much the opposite of the insidious algos used on sites like Facebook. Instagram is pretty much the last ‘real’ social network I use, and I mainly use it as a place to document things I’m making and get quick inspiration from others,” – Emil Smith
“Instagram (and sometimes Twitter on the toilet). Youtube for learning and digging. Here and there, a forum if we have a question that’s related to the topic 🙂 I use eBay kleinanzeigen for selling and buying stuff – lots of scams and idiots – still, it is great. Modular Grid for reading and following discussions,” – J.Manuel
Have you noticed any additional pros and cons of using social media as a music producer? Which platforms do you usually use and why? Please share your thoughts with our community in the comments section below!
I enjoyed reading this article. It captures the essence very well. But I am missing hints to the Fediverse. In the Free/Libre Open Source Software community it’s more of a standard track. Since the beginning of this year, when the birdsite has gone nuts, more people start switching to it.
As it’s decentralised, meaning everyone can choose an instance or create his/her own, it doesn’t matter if you join FOSStodon.org, Musicians.today or Zirk.us. It’s an inter-connected social media of multiple servers (comparable to email). That means there is no single commercial company in control, no algorithms manipulating trends and it doesn’t matter what compatible software you prefer to use.
Personally, I’d never considered social media, if there wasn’t such a thing as the Fediverse. Especially, from the perspective of software freedom and privacy. For beginners I recommend fediverse.info and you can find me via @firstname.lastname@example.org