By Timia Cobb
The music industry is forever changing. Everyday new ways of making music and being discovered are happening. Social media has had a huge impact on this. Anyone can be a SoundCloud artist, make song covers on YouTube, make a viral song on TikTok or get enough likes and retweets to promote a song. Social media has brought a new wave of artist that makes people wonder, is music losing its meaning and becoming a popularity contest?
Fifth Harmony, Kelly Clarkson, One Direction, Fantasia and Little Mix are only a few examples of amazing artists who earned fame by being contestants on world-renowned singing competition shows. Singing competitions have been around forever but when TV started to broadcast them they received tremendous amounts of attention.
Seeing young, talented artists hungry for fame battling it out on “American Idol” or “The X-Factor” instantly became a must watch. So, what makes this different from social media artists simply trying to gain fame and publicity? The fact that they’re from a different generation, and what that generation deems as fame worthy.
Danielle Bregoli, also known as Bhad Bhabie, is an example of how easy it is for someone to gain fame due to social media, even when they don’t deserve it. Bregoli gained fame by being a guest on the network TV show “Dr. Phil” where she’s known now for saying the catchphrase “catch me outside, how ’bout that?” which became a huge parody on multiple social media outlets.
Instead of seeing social media users making fun of her she saw this as a way for her to make money and quickly trademarked the phrase, even though she didn’t come up with it. She made a song titled “Catch Me Outside” and later became a touring rapper under the name Bhad Bhabie. Bregoli gained fame because she was a joke that social media accidently made into a now famous millionaire.
Bregoli is an example of how the power of social media works. However, not all people who gain fame because of social media are disappointments. An example of this is Lil Nas X, a young artist who gained fame by releasing his hit song “Old Town Road” on TikTok. “Old Town Road” skyrocketed and was shared and streamed on multiple social media apps. The song was such a success that it just beat Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day” for having the longest running Number 1 hit on the Billboard 100.
Over the years, apps such as TikTok, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have become great tools for upcoming artists to use for promoting their music, but SoundCloud and YouTube have become imperative to have as an artist.
Multiple top charts artists have been discovered because of having SoundCloud or YouTube pages: for example, Chloe and Halle, a sister singing duo that for years had been doing covers on YouTube. One of the songs they covered was “Pretty Hurts,” originally sung by Beyonce. This cover is the reason they’re now signed under Beyonce’s label Parkwood Entertainment. Chloe and Halle weren’t singing to gain fame but because they had voices so incredible that even Beyonce couldn’t deny it.
SoundCloud has also contributed to giving us various artists because of this. The app is the perfect place for underrated artists. It’s a music app but also a social app that allows you to share and interact with artists. The app has been made fun of for bringing the uprising of SoundCloud rappers but it’s honestly a new way to hear music that isn’t mainstream, and allows artists who don’t have the finances to afford recording studios the chance to make a name for themselves.
The influence of social media on music has had its ups and downs. Its given popularity to artists who make subpar music and will do anything to have their 10 seconds of fame. Although, it has also given us great songs and artists that we would’ve never known about if it wasn’t for a couple or likes, retweets or shares. This “new wave” of artists in the music industry is the way of the next generation and isn’t any different from the adopted new ways in the 1950s or 1990s.
Featured image by Timia Cobb.