Facebook and Soundcloud, two most popular platforms for promotion and communication in dance music industry, are rapidly changing the rules of their game. Artists and promoters see their opportunities to stay connected with the audience shrinking in a blink of an eye. Constantly declining reach and the need to pay for a chance to be seen and heard is perceived by many as a bolt from the blue – but wasn’t it too obvious from the very beginning? There is too little altruism in this world but too much idleness, and now people are simply reaping what they have sown.
It will be much harder to draw attention to new music, to arrange competitions, to put people on free guestlists and in general, to share cool vibes...Facebook is getting rid of “overly promotional” posts – those that were created with the only aim of pursuing people to buy a product or service, install an application, enter marketing activities, like and share.
Taking effect in January, this innovation will close many doors for DJs and promoters. It will be much harder for them to draw attention to new music, to arrange competitions, to put people on free guestlists and, in general, to share cool vibes.
If someone wants to promote something via Facebook, they have to buy ads and pay for it. What’s more, posts that use the same content as ads will be regarded as “overly promotional” and thus have very poor reach. In other words, Facebook makes you pay double: first you have to promote your page and gather following, then you are supposed to pay for each post separately so that your following can see it. What a brilliant example of how one can step twice in the same rivers.
Soundcloud is reported to be giving 3-5% stakes to major labels (Universal, Sony, Warner) in exchange for not being sued for copyright infringement. Earlier this year Universal notoriously started removing content from Soundcloud without any oversight and without any explanations to account holders. Just because the major thinks you had no right to use a sample from a certain song in your one-hour long mix, your account is flagged. And you can’t even get to know which song or sample it was – Universal is the decision-maker, and there is nothing Soundcloud client support can do about it.
The service which once was considered as a cool tool for discovering new music and fresh talents will become as stale as YouTube...Such policy will most likely lead to asymmetry: big artists who signed contracts with majors will have more rights and a better exposure, while the small and independent ones will keep loosing their content and maybe their accounts as well with hardly any compensation or justification. The service which once was considered as a cool tool for discovering new music and fresh talents will become as stale as YouTube (which, by the way, also gives some majors the right to take down undesirable content). Now that Soundcloud is introducing advertising in non-premium accounts, the similarity will be yet more visible.
Artists and promoters were by no means wrong when jumping at the promotional opportunities presented by social networks. The big mistake they made, however, was relying too much or even exclusively on these services without thinking of the obvious consequences.
If all the promotion, branding and communication are done solely in social networks, you become dependent on these networks. At first sight, this didn’t seem to be a disaster: all in all, we rely on qualified doctors to cure us, we expect professional armies to protect us, and so why can’t we let services that specialise on promotion do the job for us? Simply, because their conduct is not restricted by any democratic procedures and owes no accountability to public.
Neither Facebook, nor Soundcloud or any other network was developed as a means for making the life of society more comfortable or better organized. There are businesses, and the goal of every business is to generate income – not for its users, but for its owners. In accordance with this goal, social networks behave like drug pushers: they let you start for free, but as soon as you get addicted, they make you pay through the nose. Paraphrasing the slogan of a popular party, “It’s all about the money”.
Social networks create fake values. Why should an artist care about the amount of like and shares? One e-mail with a heartfelt story from a fan might mean much more for him personally than a hundred likes...Social networks create fake values. Why should an artist care about the amount of like and shares? One e-mail with a heartfelt story from a fan might mean much more for him personally than a hundred likes. Facebook stats should be relevant only for social media managers, but somehow it happened so that more or less everyone got obsessed with them. Neither should we forget that behaviour patterns developed in socnets go far beyond online environment and efficiently translate into offline world.
Soundcloud lets people comment any single moment of the mix, thus interfering into the flow of music whenever they like. Facebook encourages users to be as active as possible and produce likes, shares and comments in non-stop mode. Moreover, on the next level it encourages the artists to encourage the users to be as active as possible, so that the content they upload can get a maximum reach.
As a consequence, when people come to a club, they subconsciously feel the need to do something more interactive rather than just listening to music and dancing. That is, let’s rush to the DJ booth and try to touch him, talk to him, distract him! The highest praise for that activity would be a real-life equivalent of the DJ himself answering you comment – that is, the DJ nodding to you, smiling to you, talking to you…or maybe pushing a speaker on you. A whole generation was nurtured along these dubious principles, no matter if we like it or not. Every major change in the policy of online grandees impacts our thoughts, believes and actions in quite a profound way, but it is normally noticed only in retrospect.
Here at I Voice we are not so affected, to be honest, by the changes of someone’s policy. We never attached too much importance to social networking and have always tried to exist by our own strength. Long before Soundcloud was created, we started to stream snippets on our site – just click on any music review to see how it works.
Letting others control your identity is ridiculous from the ethical point of view and from that of common sense as well. Don’t complain and lament please, just start to do your own streaming and your own promotion through your own site...We strongly recommend labels and artists to go the same way and create their own websites with theirs brands and their policies. Letting others control your identity is ridiculous from the ethical point of view and from that of common sense as well. Don’t complain and lament please, just start to do your own streaming and your own promotion through your own site.
Another way out is to discover and start using alternative projects. For example, Soundcloud ex-devotees may explore and sign up to Mixcloud, Bandcamp, Hearthis.at, Blend.io, 8Tracks, Dropify or Mixcrate. These services can offer plenty of perks: they develop mobile apps, provide enough free space, pay royalties, let artists give away their music for free or sell it at any price they want. But for sure these services should be used as add-ons to one’s own web presence, and not as a substitute for it.
DJs, labels and promoters are spawning everyday as we speak, but they hardly bother anymore to create their own web sites. In the meantime, promoting your brand presence by having your own site first and foremost is what internet is supposed to be. Your brand and your personality are your most precious assets, and you should never give anyone else full control over it. Using the illusory free opportunities of social networks might seem as a manifestation of freedom, but in fact it is not. Nothing in this world is free, and this is the bad news for today. The good news, though, is that it’s never too late to work on your own identity independently.
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