(The seventh annual GRAMMY Camp, produced by the GRAMMY Foundation from July 9–18, is a residential summer camp for high school students with a focus on providing hands-on instruction about careers in the music industry. For the first time ever, GRAMMY Camp will also be held in New York Aug. 2–8. GRAMMY.com will feature select blog entries from camp participants relating their firsthand experiences from this unique educational opportunity. To apply for GRAMMY Camp in 2012, click here.)
By Alexandrea Kern
Social media has played a huge role in the music industry with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter having helped fuel the discovery and promotion of many unsigned artists and bands, as well as the promotion of currently signed artists.
During the July 12 GRAMMY Camp panel titled Above The Noise, campers received a firsthand lesson in the importance of social media and networking. The panelists included videographer Levi Maestro; Jaime Sarachit, Director, Communications, Media Relations & Social Media, The Recording Academy; Tatiana Simonian, social media manager, Disney Music Group; and pop/R&B duo VanJess.
All of the panelists were examples of how experience in social media can help a person advance their career. For instance, VanJess used YouTube to showcase their singing/songwriter skills, which has made them an Internet sensation and brought them closer to their dreams of scoring a label deal.
Campers were divided into nine groups to work with the panelists on ideas to improve the social media outlets musicians use. The group of campers that worked with Maestro brainstormed ways to improve Myspace. The recent acquisition of the network by Specific Media for $35 million has sparked new interest in the social media platform. Potential ideas discussed to enhance Myspace included improving the functionality of the site and offering users free downloads.
Other groups were given various obstacles that could arise in the social media world and brainstormed possible solutions. One group discussed a scenario in which Apple's Steve Jobs shuts down iTunes because he was "tired of making money," and how they could create a new music download service. They came up with the idea for iTunes Indie, a music download service allowing artists could place their music for free, even if they're unsigned.
"We could promote on social platforms like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Myspace, and blogs," said Tanner Grandstaff, a participant in GRAMMY Camp's Electronic Music Production track. "We could make partnerships with Pandora, too."
Though some of the events discussed may seem unlikely right now, it was a good exercise for the campers to think of ways to help the music industry, and maybe even their own careers.
(Sixteen-year-old Alexandrea Kern is currently a junior in high school who hopes to one day major in journalism at USC. A drum major in her high school marching band, she also writes about the experience for her town paper, the Crockett Signal, and is the biggest band geek ever. She dreams of being a music journalist and making it big in the music industry.)