ARTICLES

Artists/Feature Story/Reviews/News

The Problem With Social Media Porn

In: NEWS
Like Up: (0)
Like Down: (0)

The Problem With Social Media Porn

Submitted By Peter Åstedt

I read another column from “mainstream media” as a pillage Trump voter would call it. They just saw a chance right now to get rid of one of their biggest competitors. Social media has taken over what people read. They don’t read normal newspapers instead they scroll through social media posts and there the algorithms feed them whatever makes them tick. If you are totally hooked on cat pictures you will get cat pictures. You will probably almost never discover something new you like instead you will fall into the rabbit hole of cat pictures.

After the storming of Capitol Building in Washington, now mainstream media sees their chance to deal these competitors a blow. I wouldn’t be surprised if they want to be able to tell the social media companies to not use the algorithms in the way they do.  Probably by creating laws around it. Also, they are calling on the politicians in power, pointing out that their power is declining with these social media companies and they should change the laws in many ways and force them to control and monitor what is said on the channels. My guess that this fight can be remarkably interesting, but I also see how social media has affected the people, to get clicks you need to be extreme or just put your whole life online. Like one of my bands that doesn’t use social media so much anymore called it - it’s just “social porn”.

My guess though is there will be changes, slow changes but changes.

So, what does that has to do with the music industry? A lot. Social media created a fast easy way to stardom without really showing that you did anything, except put your whole miserable life online. They are called influencers, just pointless opinion machines. What they manage to do is to take the leading role from youth culture from the music industry. Twenty years ago, fashion, trends, and also politics were a big part of what the music industry was producing. All this is now in the hands of the influencers. It’s on their platforms; the latest trends and created.

I can understand it. To be a musician you need talent and you need to put work into both writing great songs and to be talented at what you do. Of course, an easy way to be an influencer is just does stupid things, have no talent whatsoever, and just pump numbers, and voila you are semi-famous. No gatekeeperss, nothing, you just become somebody. The problem is that the bars are so high in stupidity that you probably have to ruin your life to become something in the social media channels.

The music industry has also taken a part of this. My whole feed on social media is filled with suspicious companies selling PR campaigns for playlisting. They tell us all the time that if you get your numbers up you will be famous. Of course, all of these companies are cheating. Spotify just kicked 750,000 songs from the service over "Fraudulent Streams". They said it was not at any particular company. Though not any of the major labels or bigger distribution services were affected.  Instead, it looks like all the songs came from one aggregator, an aggregator that Spotify even has small shares in. What probably happened was that this aggregator has been using a service that more or less cheats as a paid option in their service program. Sure Spotify knows that there are so many using these services (mainly since they get feeds in social media that is what they have to do) but these services are usually not that dominant as it would be if an aggregator started to use them in a regular form. My guess that this was Spotify's way to just to warn them to stop selling this crap. On the other hand, Spotify might tell the aggregator that while they let all the others cheat as much as possible.

In the end this is a big problem that affects a lot of areas. My guess is that the new millennium will be where we really start to see and control all this fake news, streams, viewers, and so on. That of course will kick off more than 80% of all artists on the top chart. Right now the top list works like the feed on social media, it’s just pinpointed  to the people that cheat the most, if  music is not just being a soundtrack in the background of your life. We need to start showing that music actually means something.

Editor’s Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 30 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals and is an advisor for INES and co-founder of MusicHelp/Discover Sensation. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and Super Bowl. Peter has currently taken up the seat of Station Manager of Cashbox Radio, working with MD, PD and station owner, Sandy Graham. His latest venture is a new Showcase Festival in Sweden, Future Echoes scheduled for September 16-18, 2021.