These insidious thumbs-ups are keeping DJs/Producers awake at night. Instead of sheep, they’re counting likes. Instead of working in the studio, they’re creating memes, videos, hilarious statuses to keep those likes rolling in – oh and let’s not forget the ample flexing of the credit card to pay for more advertising to get these likes in the first place.
The recent video by Goldfish, One Million Likes, got me thinking. A parody on big name acts, who the video implies are all ‘button pushers’ and only chase the fame and the fans on social media. What struck me wasn’t the message, but the reason behind it – stirring the pot to generate publicity and well, let’s be frank, fame. Nobody can escape it, not even if we make fun of it, we’re all plugged in – slaves to being social.
Let’s get to the root of this issue. Why are our digital gods so concerned about the tally of their fan count on the interwebs in the first place? There’s this assumption that in order to get booked for gigs these days you have to offer not only a fat sound, but also an inflated fan base on Facebook. This assumption’s not wrong, particularly if you’re new to the game. Why should any promoter book you, the new guy/gal when there are well-established artists with well-established fan bases that they can call on instead?
In the eyes of the promoter, those likes are directly translated into ticket sales – that and they know the artists will be promoting their event on their respective pages, thereby creating an oil spill through Facebook. For example, we’ve all seen how DJs make their profile picture an image of the flyer, plus promoters are also known to actively ask their line-up to create certain statuses etcetera, leading up to the event. In a nutshell they’re making their line-up do the promotion work themselves. Clever.
“Dance music has always been one big popularity contest.
All that’s changed is now we have a virtual button to push”
Arguably, the same can be applied to even those at the top – oh this DJ has 5000 more likes than so and so. So what. Does any of it really matter? I know the real fans don’t care.
Also, as people actively involved in the EDM generation should we just accept what we’re being fed? Our culture is about open-mindedness, questioning, rebellion. We will not be silenced, we will not blindly accept. Then why, why do we so meekly follow one of the world’s biggest, most nefarious corporations and place our self-worth – and the value of our scene’s leaders, in its icky control.
Everything is not as it seems. Don’t believe everything you read, and [add another cliché here]. But really, though. When you place an ad, Facebook pretty much guarantees you, oh say, 50 new likes a day. How can they promise this? Sounds fishy to me.
It’s no secret that you can buy likes; and bolster your stock with a host of friendly robots. A DJ friend once said to me that he’d much rather the growth be organic, so that he knows if what he’s doing is working, or not.
The question for both artists and promoters is of course; does the number of likes really translate into ticket sales? Maybe. I do think there’s value in being active in social media, it’s a live plug in for fans and community to interact – but so much of it is noise obscuring what’s really important. The music. I hate the thought of talent being drowned out by a flurry of funny photographs.
Though it must be said, this is nothing new. Dance music has always been one big popularity contest. All that’s changed is now we have a virtual button to push.
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