Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The trouble with super-fans/social media and music...

"In a world in which musicians are encouraged, if not forced, to cater exclusively to their most passionate followers, likewise a world in which music fans listen exclusively to music most passionately loved, we lose this important but overlooked capacity to connect. The world shrinks. Something about being human is lost."

"I suspect many musicians will be unhappy when they find that time and energy that once could be devoted to writing and performing must now be deflected into other endeavours and activities that may have little to do with music."

The above is the concise crux of this illuminating blog post, which has managed to articulate a lot of what I've been thinking lately.

The piece touches on a lot of hot air to do with this idea of "1000 true fans" (essentially, 1000 people all paying £50-100 a year on one band = sustainable career), flaws in the economics of small fanbases, how digitalisation is really cannibalizing the music biz, the dangers surrounding the evangelism of the Imogen Heap school of marketing/investing your life in social media for minimal return-on-time-invested. Plus it explores the issues to do with making music intended for a small audience (see also: my dislike of nofi) and mentions the ballsack-lickingly shoddy music that comes from artists being led massively by the expectations a cluster of (sycophantic/psychotic) fans.

But mostly, it's about how all this talk of a new dawn of "fan engagement" has ignored or simply forgotten that the most important fans of a band and of music in general, aren't the diehards but the casual 5CDs-and-a-festival-ticket-a-year consumers. In losing focus of the bigger picture, we're in danger of disengaging the masses and in doing so, we're likely to be pulling the plug on funds which feed the machine and the oxygen the ecosystem of music needs to survive.

He also says one thing I keep repeating, regarding a sense of patronage rather than consuming:
"I am much happier when I feel as if I'm pushing money to my favorite artists rather than having it pulled out of me."
Well worth a read. http://fingertipsmusic.blogspot.com/


Andrew McMillen said...

Thanks for the link, Sean.

Jeremy said...

I appreciate the thoughts and the link, Sean. People may want to know that they can read the essay in one piece here. (On the blog it's broken into two sections, with the second part, now, first, as per a blog's backward chronology. So this link may be easier.)

Related Posts with Thumbnails