Social media has forever revolutionized how we communicate with one another. Whether it is for personal reasons, business efforts, or promotion, social media has positioned itself as the dominant means of communication for a wide range of industries.
The music world has not been immune to this shift. The rapid growth of social media has allowed musicians, specifically those who are up-and-coming, to raise awareness of their existence in a way that was nonexistent merely 10 years ago. Musicians who have yet to make it are able to share their work beyond the scope of their own social circles and cities. Through the use of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube, young artists are able to post their work and share it with the entire world in effort to achieve their ultimate goal, a deal. “Facebook is my resume,” said Aj Curry, an up-and-coming hip-hop artist from Rochester, NY. Not only can artists share their music, they are also able to market and create an image of themselves and the songs they represent. Considering that the current state of music is more fixated on production and marketing and less so on lyrics and quality of the composition, social media provides a necessary tool for the young musician to appeal to the capricious industry.
Prior to the explosion of social media, musicians were forced to do some serious legwork to achieve the results that YouTube or Facebook are capable of. Young musicians had to physically go to their potential audiences. Whether it was handing out CD’s on a street corner, or incessant phone calls to bar managers in hopes of securing a venue, musicians had to put forth a great amount of time and effort to get their music out there, a strategy that is very time consuming and expensive. Social media has relieved artists of some of that burden. Artists are now able to reach a wide audience through more convenient methods. Evan Prewitt, a guitarist from Rochester, NY, said that his Facebook page has allowed him to easily promote upcoming shows. “I could not imagine trying to promote my shows without Facebook, I love it,” said Prewitt. “It’s the only way you can be in contact with everybody without being in contact with anybody,” said Curry. According to Curry, the use of social media has generated a faster growth of his fan base than when he originally began making music almost 10 years ago, a time when social media had not yet burst onto the scene.
But is this shift in the way we communicate truly beneficial to an artist who has yet to make it? The extreme popularity of these sites and the excessive amount of information posted everyday makes it easy to comprehend how a young musician may struggle to become noticed. How can an artist distinguish him or herself from the masses that constantly saturate social media sites with their work? It’s a daunting task to say the least, but one that is necessary in today’s world.
Curry noted that the accessibility of these sites has resulted in a large quantity of bad music being posted on the Internet. The voluminous amount of poor to mediocre music being pushed on social media websites has made it hard for good music to get noticed, a truth that has frustrated the young musician. But, according to Curry, persistence is the key. “Facebook really allowed me to prove my musical capabilities,” said Curry. Despite his frustrations with the continual exposure of subpar music, Curry credits much of his current success to his use of social media, attributing much of his recent fan growth and hype around the Rochester area to the quotidian postings of his songs and music videos on his Facebook page.
Prewitt expressed a similar sentiment. He too is frustrated with the mind-numbing music filling social media sites that make it difficult for quality, underground musicians to make a name for themselves. But ultimately, Prewitt feels that if you are good enough, you can separate yourself from the artists who prematurely release their work online. “I think what it boils down to is you can’t jump the gun until the product is right, especially if you’re just starting off,” said Prewitt. Much like Curry, Prewitt has increased his fan base and been offered to play gigs around Rochester because of his social media usage.
To learn more about Aj Curry’s or Evan Prewitt’s music, please visit their Facebook pages. You can also follow Aj on Twitter @AjCurry.
This guest blog was written by PRowl Public Relations staff member Evan Galusha.