The Non-viral Multiverse

There's a whole world of options to be a successful music artist without being an influencer.

I’m sure we’re all pretty much feeling that, after about more than a decade of social media, something is quite wrong. I’m not talking abstract or philosophical, I mean something much more concrete. This is a topic I’ve always been sensitive about because, although I’m a music artist who seeks to create awareness in order to promote what I do, I never quite fit the social media model. For this reason I wanted to make this post because as I started studying the phenomenon a little deeper, it’s incredible how you see that the social media we have been using to get our art out there are the same ones that are preventing our work to be taken the right way.


Social Media

Let’s draw a first and essential baseline: art has always relied on scarcity. Period. The concept of creative art itself exists because that creation I’m observing, listening, touching etc was made possible in a unique (or strictly limited) way, given the individual or collective work of one or more authors. The core value of art is a feeling.

Now, when feelings and creations are industrialized and shot out of a machine gun, we lose the very filter that made art throughout centuries: we shift from scarcity to saturation. The former implies that a fan would connect with the creator and the creation and a deeper level, while the latter does create attachments and bonds (someone might mistake as profound and everlasting) on a more superficial one. That’s why the Rolling Stones will fill the stadiums with passionate fans spanning three generations from all over the world until they’ll die, while most recent top billboard artists will do it for just a few years.

You might have heard how celebrities (yes, I purposefully used the word celebrity instead of Artist) like Jennifer Lopez, Bad Bunny are canceling shows because of poor ticket sales as well as the last Coachella crowd was baptized the most lame ever, since they apparently weren’t so loud and crazy whenever the performer was on stage. Guys, what’s boring is boring. Concerts once were a “catharsis” moment in which people would travel and spend a lot of money to hear GREAT MUSIC and GREAT PERFORMERS. Most of today’s acts are the extension of a celebrity’s life, we all can hear, comment and see daily on his/her social media. If you also keep seeing on stage artists with average to horrible vocals, poor dancers and so on, no wonder people are, consciously or unconsciously, getting bored.

And what happens when we can access someone or something all the time, anywhere? We get inevitably bored. So, the digital marketing gurus tell us we should flood our feeds with posts, reels and stories more than once a day on any possible platform. They call it reaching out: I call it pollution. It's a highly tedious noise of a desperate attention beggar that would overwhelm the receiver (together with more than 10.000 brand inputs we all get daily) and cause burnout to the creator.

I feel there’s something terribly wrong in anyone constantly screaming out to prove he/she exists. I can think of nothing more prejudicial for the artist’s mental healthcare and for driving a true and genuine interest. But you won’t be hearing this from the traditional music industry players because their view is simple: an artist today is an influencer. Simple as that.

And when I say influencer, I mean it semantically: it means “someone that influences choices, tastes, thoughts of people” (of course, all aimed to a lucrative purpose). I agree that if that’s your goal and vision, go right ahead. Social media is where you belong and have to be. There’s no better way to implant needs, ideas and models in people’s minds than to broadcast 24/7 non-stop. The book by George Orwell 1984 says it quite well. Be constantly exposed to someone else’s thoughts and life and you’ll desire things you never actually cared about; you’ll feel frustrations that were never yours; you’ll curse your life while you’re going down trying to live someone else’s life.

So, what is actually social media? It’s a huge, public arena where everyone sets up his own booth, trying to stand out a little more than the next guy. And don’t get me wrong: just like an exhibition where different companies have their own space to interact with people, having your spot in order on social media is just fine. I truly mean it. Now, is it all there? Hell, no!

I’m reading a book called The Creative Spirit by Dave Goleman and, after reading intently a chapter that stressed how creativity is asking the questions no one dares asking, something did click in my mind: what if social media weren’t the best way to create a drive for your art?

Lateral Thinking

Let’s think about it: before all this came, I would get to love (and I mean true love) Michael Jackson, Metallica, George Michael and so on, by listening to records and studying the lyrics, reading articles and perhaps seeing a concert on TV or even live. Just prove me wrong if it’s not like that! What does that mean? The bond is not created by saturation. That's called obsession. I won’t (truly) connect with something or somebody because I’m getting exposed to that all the time, but because I get exposed wisely. Each relationship implies a certain balance between presence and absence, different for anyone and any situation. Such balance must also consider the space (=silence) in which I’m not physically connected or receiving any info from that person. It’s called missing someone. And it’s beautiful because it reminds us how much we love them.

Let’s also not be mistaken: the celebrity culture always aimed to over exposure. If they had had social media back in the day, Elvis Presley would have been a hell of an influencer with his fancy moves. It’s just that radios, TVs and magazines were a little more “human” because we weren’t still living 24/7 connected and we still turned the off, most of our day. Therefore, today’s celebrity culture simply wields the most recent tools. It always will because they’re deeply convinced that mind inception is the way to get people crazy about an artist.

Well, if you don’t, then first face it: if you’re not going for this game, then you’re heading to a different multiverse. That is that rules might be different, results might be different but YES YOU STILL EXIST. Is it that bad to be successful in what you do, be known within your circle, whatever size it will turn to be, but never get the status of influencing planetary celebrity? I don’t think so. On the contrary, it seems amazing to me. Because remember: it all comes with a price. Do you think those up there are “free”? No one does nothing for nothing: when you enter the rich club you’re bringing in more than just money.

In some cases, the price is unspeakable (see Diddy parties and all related businesses and people); in some other cases, you’ll just be reminded that if there are people backing up your face and name worldwide, you owe them too. That’s why you won’t decide when to pull the plug, radically change your life etc because they have hands in what you do and, like stakeholders in a company, you can’t decide on your own, even if it's your face that’s literally anywhere.
I personally use and consume social media, I don’t think they’re evil for itself. I just believe they vibrate very low and have a particular talent to get out the worst of us, as a collective. When you toss too many people in the same (virtual) space, rarely the best emerges. For this reason, I believe we should just call things with the proper name, understand what we can find in a limitless digital space and what, on the other hand, will harm the very result we're trying to achieve. No need to make a tragedy out of this, just to evolve.

At least that’s what I have been thinking for myself. That’s why I have been investing more time, energy and money on my website, my Patreon, a mentoring program I’m launching in a while and other stuff that will be ready in a few weeks. I can already see that for the majority of these things I’m preparing, social media won’t be the best place for me to promote them. Simply because the platforms we use most today have a problem with the attention span and are set for quick hooks. Definitely not the kind of audience to which I’m directing myself and my vision.

There was a time before social media and there surely will be a time after. Everything is impermanent. I will definitely keep digging and asking myself how to progressively detach from this limiting thought that “if you’re not there or you aren’t an influencer, you can’t make it”.

By now, you should have had a clue about me: if anyone says it can’t be done, you can be sure I’ll be looking in that forbidden direction 😉


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