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Facebook is the most powerful community the world has ever seen. It has re-shaped the way we consume music and follow our favourite bands. On the surface you would assume this tool has been good for the music industry, or…. has it?

 

Everyone can be published

Positive: Lots of bands we love would have never been or become popular if not for social media. You no longer have to wait for Rolling Stone to send a carrier pigeon to seek an interview to launch your career, you can just go ahead and publish your profile and a link to your music, and if you’re good, you can reach millions of punters with the click of a button.

Negative: This can lead to oversaturation and listener fatigue. Now instead of a great band working their way into your magazine and stereo, anyone and their dog can get a logo and claim to be the real deal. It has also diluted the worth of being published – now there is less excitement about seeing who got the cover interview on your favourite magazine.

 

Direct feed to fan base on the daily

Positive: Instead of relying on traditional media or the circulation of demo tapes, you can post a song or interview yourself with a phone and post it in seconds. Many artists indulge in daily videos that include album sneak peaks and what they are having for breakfast. This is great for fans seeking constant access, something usually reserved for the biannual DVD (behind the scenes) section on disk 2.

Negative: This means bands and artists are sometimes not inclined to follow the steps in releasing a proper quality of release and instead resort to online EP’s and demo quality tracks. This can be great, but often leads to sub par quality music. Would have John Lennon maintained the same mystique and respect if we knew what him and Yoko where having for breakfast each day? If he had released snippets of ‘Imagine’ as it was being written, would have we loved it as much? Sometimes artists, good and bad, over expose themselves and this can distract from their art when it actually comes time to listen to their album.

 

Cutting out the middle man / woman

Positive: in essence any musician can sign themselves to a distro deal, become their own publicist, do their own photography and video and manage themselves for FREE. Don’t get it wrong, most real deal bands will still have distro deals and management, but a lot just say ‘we just do Facebook… man’. Facebook has empowered bands to become their own agent, a truly remarkable advancement of our industry.

Negative: These middlemen and woman are the life blood of our industry and do that job well for a reason, generally, those going it alone are not putting out a highly professional product. Also – bands can become lazy and reliant on Facebook, never looking to do anything beyond it to further their music.

 

Measureable data

Positive: Musicians now have incredible power in their access to Facebooks data. They can see what their fans want from them in terms of likes and comments, they can watch their numbers grow and decline daily and get invaluable feedback to new music in a matter of minutes.

Negative: Sometimes we measure bands by how many likes they have instead of their music. A strong and successful social media presence doesn’t always correlate to good music either, so sometimes the celebrity and success goes to the most prolific Facebook poster ahead of the best musician.

 

No filter

Positive: You can post to your fans and the public without being filtered, edited, monitored or silenced.

Negative: You can post to your fans and the public without being filtered, edited, monitored or silenced.

 

Outcome:

All things considered the music industry would not have grown like it has over the last decade without Facebook. It has given creative control to the artist, which is undoubtedly a good thing, so the result is ‘Facebook is a positive thing for the music industry’. However, oversaturation of the industry, limiting the impact of controlled media, and making a demo tape almost insignificant, are some special elements of the music industry long lost to us, which has been collateral damage in the advent of Facebook.