In several academic works that have just been released, we see how the new music industry is developing. The hard part here is that we are more or less going for two different choices for artists, and it seems both will not be attractive to them.
In an interesting video (I link it in below) the indie artist Bernth tells how he makes 10 million streams on Spotify and how much they pay. It’s interesting. But what is more interesting is how he views Spotify and how he is doing it. First, he treats Spotify like other social media platforms. And totally right, Spotify is just another social media platform, just much worse off being social. Like he says the album format is pretty dead. It’s like releasing 12 posts on social media every second year. Instead, it has to be a continuous flow of music to keep the followers interested.
Already here, I question are Bernth an artist or an influencer. Or should I say an influencer with a guitar? You have had this dilemma since before. If someone remembers the comedian Stephen Lynch, is he a comedian or a music artist? A bit both the songs are pretty simple but with a funny theme. I would say it’s a comedian just doing a song instead of standup. Same thing here Bernth is more of an influencer than an artist. Is it bad, not really, but my opinion is that being an influencer and all that work that is put behind just being an influencer will stop you from making any better songs since you have to release material like you doing social media posts.
We can look at the biggest stars of Sweden for the moment they are also influencers. Rasmus Gozzi has been around since 2017 and has released a song a day since then. The cool part you can follow his development as a songwriter and producer. The bad part is, no you don’t write a hit song every day. But occasionally you might hit a note. So, he did last year and got a viral hit with “Rid mig som en dalahäst”. Of course, it didn’t become viral on Spotify. My guess is Tiktok was the culprit in this case with a speed-up version sounding like chipmunks. More interesting is that Spotify has now taken it off and the rumor is that they have cheated on the numbers. Doesn’t really make sense, why push a song that was a hit at the beginning of 2022? Maybe the TikTok wave went over very fast, and the payments are low. At the same time, the numbers for it are kind of low for being that big on other platforms like YouTube. Still, the hits he has made are not particularly good. It will never be any classics, they might stay in mind like Alvin and the Chipmunks, but not consider any higher quality.
And I guess here is the thing. I won’t make an epic movie with quality by filming small clips that are just social media posts. Social media posts are things to be consumed and then forgotten. If we start treating songs like social media posts, which we are, the music will be just a background for everything else with no deeper meaning. Social media is what it is. It’s fast and it should be entertaining. A song like Gangnam Style has an easier spread than “Nothing Else Matters” with Metallica. In this new format, my guess “Nothing Else Matters” wouldn’t even become a hit.
Does it matter? In the long run, yes. The music like I wrote will just become background. It’s like David Lynch just uses music as a way to write coming standup. Maybe because his standup doesn’t really stand on its own. He needs some tunes to be able to get the jokes ready. New songs will just be done in a couple of minutes and then just released. I don’t know how long it took to make “Nothing Else Matters”, but I know it was not just one day. Soon AI will be able to do that tunes at a fast pace.
So, will there be an influencer artist category, and then a normal artist that doesn’t use social media? I don’t know. But what I can see is how the industry is building right now stuff to help those normal artists to keep up speed with the influencer artists. Like we have fast fashion will we have fast-made music?