Could Social Media Be Ruining Your Music Career

Social media has certainly opened a lot of marketing doors for musicians, but keeping up with your online presence in addition to maintaining the rest of your music career can be a challenge


Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

Social media is [literally] a job in itself. Balancing a music career with your engagement efforts online can be more complicated than many are willing to admit.

There is a moment in every superhero origin story where the protagonist fails. Maybe there is a bomb in an amusement park or a plane falling out of the sky two-thousand miles away, and for whatever reason, the hero cannot save the day. These moments are viewed as character building events because the hero’s response to failing often signals how they see their responsibility to protect others moving forward. Some double down on the heroism, but others choose darkness.

The lesson is always the same: No one can be everywhere all the time, nor can anyone expect to do everything. Even the strongest and most gifted among us are incapable of perfection, including you.

The music business tells us something different. Music industry experts often say that every artist is a business and that every business needs social media to survive. You need to tweet your specials, post Instagram updates featuring your product, and offer timely responses to fans who comment anywhere you have a presence. The music industry also tells us that we need to create original content for every channel that utilizes the space allotted to us on each platform. That means vertical videos for Instagram Stories, 280-character bursts of genius for Twitter, and something ‘Likeable’ for Facebook, and so on.

Experience teaches us that the music industry experts are mistaken and that our culture’s current obsession with social media is not a good enough reason for artists to become update slaves. No artist, but especially no up and coming artist, can hope to build a lasting music career when they are throwing away countless hours trying to develop a following online.

Don’t get us wrong. It would help if you had fans, and having a presence online can be essential to engaging with your audience. It can also help build an audience in places artists cannot travel themselves and open doors that may otherwise remain off-limits. However, if making a following online comes at the cost of doing something artistically rewarding that brings joy to those whose passion is music above all else, it may be time to rethink how we view our relationship with social media.

On the season premiere of Music Biz, host James Shotwell explores the cost of social media versus its impact on a musician’s bottom line. There is an easy way for any artist to how much time they should focus on social media, as well as where those efforts are most effective, and James reveals it in this video. Check it out:

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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  1. So glad to hear this! I have only made pennies in song royalties for 2019 even though Facebook peeps say they like my music … they’d rather share other music with me or have an off-topic conversation on Messenger, no matter how much I ask them to help me as an artist by at least sharing my songs. Asking them to write a positive review on a site that sells my digital music has been fruitless. And worse was my recent meeting with a local Bible leader who said I have a public profile to promote me instead of my music! This was very depressing to hear. How do we sell our art with the right intention so we don’t come across as me-me-ME?

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