Big, big shout out to www.chakdey.com for letting me write this article. You can check out my article and their website here
Firstly, I would like to thank all of the stars who really helped lil old me to write this article by giving quotes. I know I pestered people so much but I would like you to know that it is really appreciated.
This subject has always interested me. So when I was thinking about what I could do a major piece on this was a no brainer. I love Asian music and I’m a social media fanatic. So why not delve into the world of Asian music and social media. There were many areas I could have looked into but I have concentrated on the promotion and engagement/interraction sectors.
As a serial Twitterer it has always intrigued me to know why these artistes use these sites. Why they say what they do on these sites. Is it just for promotion? Is it to engage with fans? Or is it just to cause controversy?
According to Twitaholic.com the top 5 most followed people on Twitter worldwide as it stands in December 2010 were:
1. Lady Gaga
2. Britney Spears
3. Justin Bieber
4. Ashton Kutcher
5. Barack Obama
You can’t help but notice that 3 of the top 5 are music artistes.
There are a number of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, Tumblr, Foursquare, Linkedin and more but let’s concentrate on the 3 biggest. Twitter, Facebook and Myspace.
The whole social media revolution started when myspace was launched in August 2003 and we saw the likes of Lily Allen and Sean Kingston become famous just by posting their music on myspace.
Facebook is social networking site where people can see and chat to their fans on a one to one level, post videos, invite people to events and run competitions. Facebook is ever changing so there are endless opportunities with this medium.
Next came Twitter where you follow the people you find interesting. Up and coming stars benefit from sites like twitter and Facebook as it is easy for them to promote their music and gain free PR.
DJ and music man extraordinaire Parm Panesar pointed out that in his eyes there are both pros and cons: “Social Media Sites offer great networking opportunities for Artists new and old and it creates a wider audience as well as an easier way
Adil Ray (Broadcaster, BBC 5live and formerly BBC Asian Network) says: “Social networking has changed the world for everyone. It allows many artists who don’t have huge industry support to connect using a direct interface with their audience, the media and potential investors. But this will not make up for a poor music product and artists must be careful not to believe the hype.”
Legendary band Cornershops’ Tjinder told me that “Social media has enabled us to connect with fans and fellow musicians in ways that we just didn’t have before, via Twitter especially we’ve connected with South Asians in the US and Canada. Also generally social media sites are a good way of showcasing our back catalogue but and the downside is that it is hard work, requiring nonstop attention”
Beatboxer Ekko from my hometown Nottingham says: “I think Social Media has helped upcoming Artists in a positive way as they can connect with other Established artists and their fans easily. It is easier to do well now then 6 years ago due to the Internet and Social Networking sites.”
Shizzio the rap, rnb and hip hop artist says: “The old way a celebrity is perceived is dead. Growing up people like Michael Jackson, Madonna etc were never accessible. That’s what gave them their star appeal. These days however it’s a full 180 degree U turn. People want to be so involved in what a celebrity is up to these days that not using social media, can in fact, kill your career. As great as it is, call me old skool but this new ‘celebrity’ term for me takes the edge off stardom. However, when in Rome….”
BBC Asian Networks Waqas Sayeed aka Celebrity Wax told me that “it is a great promotional tool to share music and permits musicians to directly connect and grow their fan base” and Dipps Bhamrah says that “Free media allows an artist to express their talents. There can be no excuses about lack of exposure when the power in your hands”
Rapper, songwriter and someone who performed at Radio 1’s Big Weekend this year Mr Menis said: “Everything is more accessible now so people from the media such as radio DJ’s are easier to reach so it means talented artists can reach a wider audience but that also means the rubbish with no talent can get the same audience.”
Singer Navin Kundra says: “Social networks enable us to bring our fans closer to us and interact with them on a level never known before. Facebook and Twitter are practically like giving your fans your mobile number. Now that artist/fan relationship is closer than ever and this presents us with many new opportunities.”
After getting comments from Asian artistes I threw the question out on Twitter to get their opinions on Asian artistes and social networking and this is what I found.
@Strictlymc – The first thing that comes to mind is of an Asian artist Nitin Sawney doing the electric proms at Camden Roundhouse last year. It was a mindblowingly amazing gig, but not heard anything from him since.
@Brit_asian_girl and @Vinoba had similar views that most Asian artists stick to rnb.. Where are the Michael Buble’s of the Asian world?
@jyojo_b – From a radio point of view it has made artists more accessible and I have managed to make some great contacts. It also made promoting Newcastle’s Spice FM much easier and now artistes based in London and Birmingham know us.
GS Gill says: Mostly, they end up clueless about the potential of social media and use it to announce information about themselves like on a personal profile. This results in most of them being active only when they have an album or single releasing soon or to promote their gigs In turn, they miss out on the whole point of using their celeb status to engage a large number of people and build an active community of their most loyal fans.
So as you can see there is a mixed bag of comments.
From the research I conducted, whether it by speaking to the general public or celebrities, I have found that unless ‘big’ celebrities are going to make an effort and interact with fans it is mostly going to impact emerging artistes who will use it to promote events and music. And why not do that? It is a free medium so it is natural to utilise it, right? But is it being utilised in the most effective way?
Existing stars talking to fans on twitter can really impact their popularity. I asked a fair few people for quotes for my article and some were more than willing to give their input and I really appreciated it. Some didn’t even bother. Are the ‘big’ stars too important to take the time to engage with their fans? Apart from Noreen Khan no females I noticed didn’t take the time to reply. Is this an indication that it is still a male dominated industry? Or that females aren’t likely to engage as much with fans?
Social networking sites are there to interact with the public, the people who buy your music, whose pennies are lining the stars pockets. I do think that some celebrities need to make a conscious effort not just to promote their music but encourage those kids whose parents want them to be a doctor but she or he just wants to be a singer or an actor.
What I would love to see is artistes use it positively. Spelling properly would be a start for those teenagers who cannot go a sentence without using ‘sick’ or ‘blad’. Show those people who think Asian artistes are just ‘ghetto’ that they are not. Artistes will use to promote music and events and that is always going to be successfully as it is a free medium. But it wouldn’t be wonderful to see the artistes be good role models. Promote not drinking or taking drugs. Promote a healthy lifestyle and respect for other people rather than just swearing.
Obviously there will always be artistes (I have been informed by a few people) who use Twitter in the wrong way. This could be by ‘chatting up’ naive young girls, being controversial or just winding up other individuals so there are downfalls to using twitter and I think the nicer you are to ‘your fans’ and engage and interact with them the more people will follow you. There are still a fair few unanswered questions I have. When will female artistes use it more to engage? Are we going to see more ‘Michael Buble’s of the Asian world? And will we have any role models? Social networking is a fairly new phenomenon and we will only see it continue to grow.
Finally, in BBC Asian Networks Noreen Khan’s words:
Social networking is an excellent tool as it helps to stay connected to listeners and fans. If you keep a connection with fans via these sites I think it makes them more loyal to what you do and more inclined then to either tune into your show or for artists to buy their music. On the cons side, you can at times get a few odd fans who expect u to constantly attend to their tweets, facebook messages etc and if u don’t they get upset! But in all honesty I think if utilised correctly these sites can enhance and compliment what you do.
What do you think?
9 thoughts on “Social Media and Asian Music for www.chakdey.com”
I think for new artists, particularly those trying to make it on their own without any existing industry contacts, Twitter can be a great way to network and to put yourself out there.
As someone said in one of the quotes above, if you’re not tweeting/interacting with your fans on social media then you’re losing out. I went to a mela in the summer and I remember checking twitter so see which performers were tweeting about the event and this might sound a bit silly but I made an extra effort to watch the ones who tweeted because I had that connection to tweet them back.
In response to some of your points/questions:
Spelling will always be an issue with twitter because of the 140 character limit, still there are some people who spell things wrong even when they have the space!
I’ve found with female artists (the ones I follow anyway), Twitter is more about saying thank you to the fans that compliment them (by re-tweeting the compliment) rather than engaging in conversation topics like this one. Maybe they’re too scared to share an actual opinion because they have images to maintain?
Obviously yes Twitters character limit does make it difficult but Facebook does not have a limit? Even just in real life would be great to see them speak properly but then I guess it is all a part of the swagger right?
Yes, I agree about the female artists..I remember complimenting a certain females hair and thats probably the only time she replied back so yes maybe it is an image thing? not even one replied apart from Noreen who does seem to engage especially on Facebook.. but like you said about the mela wouldn’t it make you more loyal to them if they replied… I think it would?
These are just my views and I think this topic can be discussed for hours and theres so many areas to be delved into so think it is going to need further research and a part 2 to the blog post x
A good piece and raises some interesting questions and the need for more research on the use of social media. From the Asian users and potential users (Fans not using social media) perspective would be good in the future and to get their views.
I have been using Social Media to transmit events conferences, seminars etc – and my experience suggests use of Social Media by Asian and Black communities has been low, although seen an increase in the last year, maybe this is down to a lot of other factors.
For people who live in the sticks like me, Social Media becomes an important communication and networking tool with communities across the UK and Internationally, but more so to stay in touch with Asian news and events, which we tend to miss otherwise, and the impact can be seen on young Asians who have not retained contact with their culture.
Peace and Best wishes for the New Year
Just for you I have removed the comments, just for you, so that you, the only person who disagree’s, is happy
I have to say that I enjoy your blog very much. You have a way with words that make me laugh, yet I’m still able to learn something useful
Great topic Priya.
I personally don’t think individuals within the music industry have quite figured out Twitter to personally benefit them yet. We only see the negative stories in the media and therefore puts people off actually engaging with audience or fan base.
I’m not sure if artists make use of the ‘share an audio’ feature where they can post snippets of their music to Twitter for their fans to sneak preview. Or post a link to their album etc.
I’m not sure if artists asks their followers for feedback on their music. Which tracks do they particularly like? What lyrics they enjoyed? Which track do they sing in the shower?
Imagine if there was one artist who made a track based on lyrics crowd sourced via his/her fans? Now that’s powerful.
I havent ever heard about the posting music tool on twitter? Where can I see that?
When you say ‘her’ fans only one female replied to me… do you think that shows they are too busy worrying about what image they are portraying rather than having an opinion as someone pointed out in an earlier comment?
But definately there is so much potential in twitter and people do not realise it. I could have rambled on for hours on this subject.
Maybe you should run twitter coaching lessons for these artistes who want to use it properly?
Ha! I suppose artists just need to get ‘clued’ up on how to promote themselves better and think with a bit more intelligence when it comes to marketing.
As for the female artist, my opinion is that maybe they are just not socially or tech savvy. Maybe females require a different approach where 140 characters is not a limit. Ha ha!
The audio app I am talking about is http://tweetmic.com/. This is just for the iPhone but there are apps everywhere for all devices which allow you to post audio files to Twitter.
An artist can then measure the success of a track by how many times it gets shared (goes viral).
Easy when you know how.
Don’t think it’s just the music industry, I thinks its a wider community and society issues where they have not understood the power of social media.
I think there is role for raising awareness among communities and professionals of what can be achieved by the power of Social Media.
I am doing this in Cumbria with rural communities using informal Social Media Surgeries (http://socialmediasurgery.com/) in the evenings, run by volunteers who use Social Media to support those in the community who want to know more and learn how to use things like Twitter or set up community pages or sites and it works. Check out the site they are happening all over the UK.
Let me know if anyone wants more info on this.