Before social media there were few times fans could interact with artists. Outside of hearing your favs' music the only time you would see them would be on television, radio or in concert. TV shows like MTV's Making the Video and VH1's Behind the Music took you behind the scenes to see the artist as a person.
Radio interviews were and still are a great medium to get an understanding of the artist as a human. Those were the only outlets. Then social media was born, and some of the mystique died. Fans and trolls get to see what their favorite artist is doing outside of album mode. Muscians can interact directly with their fans via likes, comments or clapbacks for the trolls. Entertainers will share pictures of friends and family, preview new music snippets and also post a great amount of normal daily interactions.
This is great for the fans, right? Being able to see your favorite artist on demand is game changing. Also, it keeps fans engaged who have low attention spans, largely due to social media. Artists can get a direct response from consumers to determine if what they're posting is accepted or not. This is the best thing that could happen to the music industry, no need for focus groups or “industry gurus” the artist can now post a video and get that answer in a few minutes. Or at least that is what some current industry executive wants you to believe.
Something intriguing, mysterious, and tantalizing will have you stop in your tracks and investigate further. Something you have seen a million times will have you not lose stride and glaze over what you have already seen many times before.
There are pros to social media, the direct access to artist can be good. Promotion costs are less expensive, and promotion is done through a free medium. Some musicians decide not to do a promo run anymore which was paramount before social media. An album, video, song, can be released on a single click.
The cons outweigh the pros. Some of your favorite entertainers have the worst personalities. Ever experience someone outside of their profession and wish you didn't? They say never meet your heroes.
The artist could be lame as all hell, unfunny, boring, annoying, corny, insensitive, arrogant, corny, unintelligent, and/or corny. Before you had this vision of how the artist was in your head and once you get a dose of how they actually are it lessens the respect you had for them. The music still will be loved but the energy is different. The music is admirable but not the person.
Financially, it has cons as well. Releasing a response to a rumor via clapback comment or post doesn't make you any money but responding on an album does. Pusha T waited years to respond to Drake and only did it on his latest album and then Drake responded to the child rumors on his album initially, not on social media. JAY-Z has always addressed his life through music. There's no need for a reality show about The Carters.
Lil Wayne previously over-saturated the market and himself during his peak he was featured in over 430 songs. Future and Gucci Mane can release up to 3 albums in a year. It's microwave or temporary music. There is a reason Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, JAY-Z, Nas, Beyoncé and others can go years without releasing an album and then be number one on the Billboard 200 without any promotion.
There's power in expectation. Don't get me wrong you can be as low key and mysterious as possible but if the music is trash, the marketing approach doesn't matter. It's a divine combination when anticipation meets expectation.
“If you have too much water you’ll drown. You want to keep that mystery, keep things quiet so you build up to that next movie. Branding for an actor is being good not being known. Your brand whatever you did, is it any good? Not how many likes you got.”-Denzel Washington