"All young producers trying to not do up social media citing Burial as an example....
Burial was on Myspace. By the time Twitter came around he was big enough to not have to join in anymore.
We would all love to be in that position but you need to rise above the noise first."
"No one needs to be on social media, you either do it because you’re vain, desperate for attention, have no real mates or totally bored. All young producers should just let their music speak for itself, if it’s great it WILL get heard. No need to rise to anything, ignore it."
It developed into a larger conversation, involving LuckyMe and Martyn, but I simply screenshot Jackson's first tweet and shared it on Twitter, saying it was “totally realistic and helpful advice”.
I say this because I think it's naive at best, harmful at worst to suggest that producers simply let music speak for itself. The idea that "if it’s great it WILL get heard" is baffling to me - maybe it will get heard, eventually, by accident, maybe the artist will have given up and moved into a different realm? Yes, music is an art, it's a passion, but people need to live, eat, pay bills, and they can't wait around forever. What he said about social media itself, I can't really argue with. It's often horrible, shows the worst of human nature, allows people to spread harmful views and lets people gang up on others. I'll come back to this.
Anyway. A conversation grew out of my screenshot, eventually finding its way back to Jackson. The bulk of the conversation involved people like The Black Madonna and Eris Drew, and Jackson said "I’d much rather be having this conversation with new young artists and seeing how they feel than veterans of the industry with a large fan base. They might have a very different take on the frustrations of using these platforms". I said I'd ask... Here's a sample of what I got in response:
From my experience, social media is great to connect with ppl but nothing really replaces friends and close circle of ppl that share the same passion &/or hobbies/profession as you.— Design_Default (@DesignDefault_) May 7, 2019
If it wasnt for social media no one would hear my music, litterally no one. And i love discovering new artists i am not sure i wouod be able to find people if they didnt put their music on line.What i dont like is pr ags tell me they gonna send me only stuff i like Asusmtion 🤔— MACHINE ☭ WOMAN (@mmachinewwoman) May 7, 2019
We've found twitter great for forging connections in the underground electronica community and it's been genuinely rewarding. Facebook feels like shouting into the void though... I mean, there's a weirdly transient nature to all social media but it feels necessary to me.— Steve Hadfield (@Steve_Had_Music) May 7, 2019
agreed. in same boat. did three releases where the only place we posted about them was on here, all did really well / sold out fast with zero press or any external support. ( except @normanrecords ) posted next ones on fb etc... made zero difference - so make of that what u will— SDEM (@sss_dem) May 7, 2019
It’s a necessity I guess - but it’s also a trap, it’s also time consuming, and sometimes wasteful of precious time, the more I think about it i want to retract from the networks & regain some privacy back in my life... I’ll always make music regardless.— Mark Hand (@MarkHandSound) May 7, 2019
Also up to the individual how they manage time and curate their experience on these platforms. I never really find them to be too toxic or whatever because of who I choose to follow, and usually i just browse when I’m on a break at work or in the bathroom (lol).— Jake Muir (@_jakemuir) May 7, 2019
Necessary evil but I hate it. I've met some good people which is the best part but feels like you're shouting into the void trying to promote your art and is frustrating.— Eddie Reynolds (@Eddie_TrOne) May 7, 2019
almost no producers or DJs in Sydney are on twitter & I feel v disconnected from the scenes & networks there, many of which go all the way back to high school friendships (I didn't grow up in Sydney & came to electronic music in my late 20s)— hence therefore (@hence_therefore) May 7, 2019
I have found many many artists through social media, esp non-white male artists. I assume many people have found me via social media.— Ciel (@aerielist) May 7, 2019
Pain in the ass, if it wasn’t for music, I’d be off social media tbh.— Aguila (@AguilaOfficial) May 7, 2019
When there’s a better alternative I think we should all use that but for now...this is what we got. I go back & forth a lot but I think ultimately I wouldn’t have found many artists I love so much if it wasn’t for this platform - and I’d like to add none of them are “good” at it— CCL (@chinchillaah) May 7, 2019
Not necessary enough to outweigh the mental health problems it causes IMO. Traditional media is more important, and you can do that without social. A big platform sharing your stuff is always gonna do more than you sharing it yourself.— Semi-D (@mrfrankiegrimes) May 7, 2019
One of the founding principles of Blue Tapes was 'no social media'. It wasn't until I overturned that rule that we actually started selling tapes.— Blue Tapes (@BlueTapesUK) May 7, 2019
I'm actually not sure how else you could it these days.
it’s not worth what it does to my mental health, plus I think our collective reliance on social media is damaging more broadly, e.g. labels/promoters needing release/ticket sales pay for ads on FB rather than music pub, resources and energy get funneled away from music culture...— xin (@xxxiiinnn_) May 7, 2019
and not too damaging to my mental health, but i wish i felt more free to use it however, not always as a means to exposure/profit. some artists take that part way more seriously than i do and their online presence is insufferable. selling themselves constantly...— ʂҽʋҽɾιɳҽ (@trancefem) May 7, 2019
Pretty much worthless. I mean I'm glad I met a label I relate to on here, but I've been doing this for 25 years. I've promoted through social media since 2001.— Eric Hoffman (@erichdusk) May 7, 2019
It's done jack shit for me. $7 revenue in 25 years. Just ate up my only commodity, time.
Honestly, I think unless you’re already established, or you’re Traumprinz, it’s impossible to gain a footing in this industry without it. I’d love to be proven wrong but I don’t really see a viable alternative, unless your management + agency are willing to handle the brunt work.— Dolorum (@DolorumMusic) May 7, 2019
As you can see, it got a big response. HE VALENCIA started his own thread on the subject: “As someone who exists relatively outside of a lot of big scenes and circles social media has allowed me to network, travel and or tour diff places and meet up with people. Pull off the impossible.”
These are real benefits to social media, which shouldn’t be ignored. But as said several times above, it’s not always beneficial for your mental health. I hadn't tagged Jackson in my original tweet for a few reasons. I don't like him. I don't like arguing with people online - that kind of confrontation makes me feel sick and anxious, leaving a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. It's easier to share these ideas with people inside your own echo chamber, certainly. Jackson accused me of having an agenda - maybe I did? If it was it wasn't anything more than showing up what I think is an antiquated view on things, which doesn't help anyone. He subsequently said:
Is there any harm in suggesting less competitive ways to try and get their music out there? I can think of numerous new artists & labels with little or no social media presence that work, to their advantage perhaps?
If the market is more competitive now than it was in the past, it's only because there's simply more music. Everyone needs an angle. Some people leverage their obscurity (Jackson mentioned Wah Wah Wino, who are famously quiet online - although bear in mind they released music under other names before they arrived at their current state, and are distributed by Rush Hour, which must help). Some people are busy on the 'gram (naming no names, draw your own conclusions).
One thing I've learned from putting out a compilation recently is that nothing is guaranteed - knowing someone who writes for a site is definitely going to help, providing a foot in the door and the possibility of some coverage. That isn't possible for noobs, and what better way than social media to make a few friends, make a few connections? Especially if they're not based in London or Berlin.
Further, when it comes to finding music, social media is great because people simply share what they like. Looking around, there are fewer sites than ever uncovering new music. I saw a tweet recently that summed up coverage of ambient music as "techno producer makes ambient record or Brian Eno album reissued". If you're not already a known quantity, it's unlikely you're making headlines. Everything is news from a press release, a premiere/video/mix/interview led by a PR campaign, listicles of influences.... I know I'm a part of that, and I apologise. But it's hard to be mad at someone looking for a way to get themselves heard.
What’s the conclusion here? I don’t have one. Don’t take potshots at people and expect them not to read it?
At the end of the day, I think Jackson and I both want to share good music with a receptive audience. If there were more people trying to do that, maybe the ~industry~ wouldn’t be in such a state.