Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images
How Young Musicians Are Using Instagram As A Music Platform
The way music fans consume music has radically changed over the past decade or so, and as younger artists enter the music world, they continue to shift the playing field, finding new and innovative ways to spread their sound and reach new fans. Recently we've seen a new generation of musicians, like young hip-hop artists Jaden Smith and Tierra Whack, turn to Instagram as a new way to expose more people to their music.
Indie music distributor AWAL, or as they call themselves, a "unique alternative to the traditional music label," recently wrote blogged about this new phenomena of the new generation of musicians releasing music on Instagram. They point to 23-year-old Whack who released her entire debut album Whack World on her Instagram earlier this year. She made a video for each song, all of which were just one-minute-long, and uploaded all of them to the social platform the day the album dropped.
She also released the album on music streaming services, including Spotify and SoundCloud, and while views and listens of her music on her social don't provide a direct revenue stream as they would on Spotify and Apple Music, social media (and SoundCloud) allows artists like her to take distribution into their own hands. Her approach makes a lot of sense when you take into consideration the fact that Spotify's algorithms tend to favor male artists and its popular hip-hop centric playlists primarily feature male rappers.
It is vital for younger and emerging artists to find exposure in creative ways to reach new fans. As AWAL points out; "The opportunity cost of a 'free' project, sans ad revenue, on Instagram is somewhat marginal, because if a would-be fan enjoys the sample they spent 15 to 60 seconds with enough, they'll likely generate the bulk of their repeat spins somewhere else."
Smith also used his Instagram to release music this year, a remix version of 2017's Syre. Unlike Whack's Whack World, his Syre: The Electric Album, is not available on Spotify, but can be streamed on SoundCloud, although only with a premium listener account. Visiting either artists' Instagram page and seeing the video thumbnails form the album cover is intriguing enough to click to listen—in this day and age, with more content from more sources and quicker scrolling from consumers, it feels important to find new ways to catch the attention of peoples' eyes and ears.
As AWAL quotes MusicAlly; "The existing subscription streaming giants are primarily platforms for distribution, after all, not interaction – and from an artist's perspective, distribution by third-party corporations is not neatly aligned with the control afforded by social media."
You can catch both Smith and Whack performing at Camp Flog Gnaw in Los Angeles this weekend, which will be livestreamed.