The opinions of one of the biggest trance artists and producers are very worth reading. John 00 Fleming has started a new series of articles with the first discussing the impact of social media on the music industry…
Where ever you go now you are exposed to social media around every corner. Weather it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram the amount of people who use those platforms grows every single hour. It’s an instant way to find people you know, people you knew and even people you don’t. You can make friends with the click or touch of a simple button. No doubt it has changed the environment we live in.
One question which John 00 Fleming discusses in his late blog entry is just what impact social media has had on the music industry. I do really hate the word blog or vlog but then I’m from a period where social media was a crispy copy of razzle which got spread around the classroom at school. The thoughts of John 00 Fleming, who needs no introduction to those of you with a basic knowledge of dance music are ones to really pay attention to, he knows what he’s talking about.
It’s a series of thoughts this as he goes to answers the many question which fans and clubbers ask him each and every week. The first one on social media is a very good read.
THINGS THAT CHANGED ENTRY 1: Social Media
I’ve been DJing and been in the music industry for a long time, so naturally the most common question I get asked from interviews and fans wanting to know what are the biggest changes I’ve seen over this time. There’s far too much to cover in just one blog, so I’ll cover many aspects in a series of blogs ‘things that have changed’. Some will be fun, some will bring tears to your eyes, and you all know me by now, some will be controversial.
Im starting with one from the later, one that instantly stands out for me was the introduction of social media and how it completely shook up the music industry and changed the playing field.
In the early days DJs and producers were judged on how they actually performed, or how well they produced music. It’s was like any other job, say sports or sales, if that team player performed well their careers would flourish, like any great football player for example, people are entertained by a highly skilled player that was an asset to the team and people want to see more of this. In the early days, if a DJ constantly performed well, they would keep pulling in crowds filling the clubs and cause a natural viral buzz of fans that would travel to see more of them resulting in more gigs. The pressure was on to perform well because if you played a poor set and cleared the crowd, you probably wouldn’t get rebooked, it was as simple as that. We all had to up our game to perform to our best ability, constant record shopping to ensure we had cutting edge music preceded by marathon mixing sessions at home learning our tracks. A lot of hard work was needed to invest into our craft.
With the introduction of social media things suddenly changed, it soon became apparent that; fans, promoters, labels, media etc made their judgement on DJs/artists not by how good they performed or the music they produced, but by the results on their social media pages, their eyes heading to how many plays and likes they had. This is what sealed the deal, and unfortunately was manipulated by many increasing those numbers by unscrupulous ways.
It soon became the norm for the next generation of artists having their cameras pointed at the themselves sharing all aspects of their lives in a Kardashian esq reality style. In fact so important that many big DJ’s today employ and fly around the world a full time personal photographer along with paying a five figure sum to social media companies ensuring they hit those click numbers.
In my long experience of working alongside colleagues and artists, the most talented musicians/DJs and studio geeks are not very confident and shy people, having cameras pointed at them makes them feel awkward, writing words uneasy. They also have to deal with online trolls and bullying, something that they find challenging to deal with often contributing to mental health problems.
In todays world, those talented studio geeks are struggling to accept/be comfortable with an open social media culture, they’re in their comfort zone in their studios or performing discreetly in a dark DJ both, they can’t afford expensive social media companies, they can’t think of good posting opportunities, their clicks are low due to this and pay the ultimate price of not being able to get gigs.
Sadly, today if you work in the digital social world or have good knowledge of this, you’re more likely to break a career in the music industry, rather than the shy dedicated studio geek and passionate bedroom DJ, yes it pains me to say this. Unfair playing field going back to my football analogy. We can’t change this, it’s digital evolution, learn and embrace it or lose out.
To somehow put a positive spin on this, I’m one of those shy artists, always been a little socially awkward, I’m happy been shut away in a studio by myself for hours. I hate been lit up in the DJ booth and always ask the lighting guy to make the booth as dark as possible. The introduction of social media was my worst nightmare, it’s took me years to get more confident to post pics of myself. Im still not great, but I’ve got in my flow. Blogs like this are like a therapy session, I like share open and honest experiences away from the shiny glam social world. If I can do this, so can you. Find something you’re comfortable talking about, sharing your geek knowledge and experience is worth a 1000 times more than a filtered big crowd shot. That’s your gold right there.
We can’t change this new world, I admire the big stars that have embraced social media, they are smart, clever and fun to follow. They are pushing electronic music to the masses that in return trickle their way to the specialist worlds, so we need to thank them as it also feeds the underground. As uncomfortable as it maybe for many, you must embrace social media, its your shopfront to your career, don’t get obsessed with click and like numbers, just find your flow and they will organically come to you.
John 00 Fleming