Thursday, September 26, 2013

How Social Media Has Shaped the Music Industry

Zachary Lansing
SpTp: Digital Literacies
Argumentative Piece

Social Media's Impact on the Music Industry and How It Helps the Record Labels

            The music industry is changing as social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, and Spotify cradle it through major record label crises, such as the extensive file sharing of music over the internet. The breakthrough of these platforms has made the promotion of artists and concerts as easy as sending a tweet or releasing a new music video on the artist’s official YouTube page. With these breakthroughs in the music industry, the record labels benefit from the ever-conductive music scene in social media. It has never been easier for listeners to find music that they love, and promotion has never been easier since the arrival of these social media outlets.
            YouTube is responsible for being one of the biggest promoters of artists. To put the dominance of music on YouTube in perspective, eight of the ten most viewed videos on YouTube are music videos. Six of those videos are controlled by Vevo, a music video website that extensively pushes music videos through the various YouTube channels that are controlled by Vevo. Vevo has ties with artists such as Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and several other mainstream artists. But it’s not only in promotion where Vevo helps the record labels, Vevo also brings revenue to record labels as they have deals with labels such as Sony Music Entertainment and the Universal Music Group, and Vevo shares the profit it gets from YouTube video views with the labels.
            Watching YouTube videos may be free to the public, but it still offers the record companies and artists some revenue with YouTube’s ad system that helps distribute revenue to channels. This is much different than illegally sharing music files through open torrents for there is some profit on the end of the record companies.
            Ads are one way that listening to music can be free, while record companies can still gain from it. Spotify is another music service that is completely free to the listeners that has adopted this system. But Spotify takes it one step further by giving the listener the option of purchasing a five dollar monthly subscription to Spotify to rid the listener of the ads, and a ten dollar monthly subscription to share it through all of your listening platforms(such as your tablet, phone, laptop, etc.), all ad-free. At the same time, Spotify pushes new songs onto your playlist and introduces listeners to new artists and essentially helps the promotion of these artists, saving those involved with promotion a lot of money in the process.
            Promotion has always been a big part of the music business. When an artist drops a new album, it is best to promote that album to ensure listeners know of the new album being recorded for the best results in revenue. Before the age of social media, this was done through means of television ads(which were mostly exclusively music channels), radio ads, and in some cases billboards. All of these styles of promotion were costly and lengthy creative processes to pull the customers in. But with social media came the ability to push information directly to the fans. This is both efficient and cost-effective.
            The one social media outlet that could be cited as the biggest promoter of music could possibly be Twitter, where artists could tweet out to their fans when a new album would drop. Artists would even retweet other artists to even further promotion of an artist’s album. Just a few lines of text and potentially millions of fans could be informed of a new list of songs coming out from one of their favorite artists, simple yet effective.
            This promotion is especially effective for the record companies for they tend to keep most of the profit that is made from the albums and songs sold. 


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