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Ryan De La Rosa

Social Foundations
Dr. Magolis
4/25/13
Social Medias Effect on the Music Industry

Social media is becoming a part of everyones daily lives. People are using them
as a way to keep connected with friends and family, a way to meet new people, and to
post pictures, videos, or even just their own thoughts for everyone to see. They have
become extremely popular in this day and age. It is stated that 73% of wired American
teens now use social networking websites, a significant increase from previous surveys.
Just over half of online teens (55%) used social networking sites in November 2006 and
65% did so in February 2008 (Lenhart, Purcell, Smith & Zickuhr 2010). People can also
use social media on their mobile devices.
But, in the music industry, artists are using these various forms of social media as
a marketing tool to get themselves out there. At first, many people used the TV or radio
stations to reach their audiences but in recent years the social media sites have become
fairly popular for promotion. The emergence of Internet-based social media has made it
possible for one person to communicate with hundreds or even thousands of other people
about products and the companies that provide them (Mangold & Faulds 2009).
According to a Wired article, it was said that Twitter, at first a place to tell everyone
what you ate for breakfast, is now a place to promote yourself, your company or your
product (Silver 2009).
These sites reach millions of people online who spend hours using them, so they
serve as a very effective marketing channel for artists and record labels. The use of these
sites can affect how artists sales go and influence their consumers decisions. Social
media sites also incorporate the use of advertisements which help to get word out. The
thing about social media sites is it allows a more personal relationship between artists and
fans as well. As you can see social media is enhancing the music industry today.
The History of Social Media Sites
The first known social media site came into existence in 1997. It was known as
SixDegrees.com. This site allowed users to make profiles, list their friends, and view
their friends lists. It was used a tool for people to connect and send messages with one
another. SixDegrees attracted millions of users online but couldnt sustain the business
and eventually shut down in 2000. The next big SNS came about in 2001 and was called
Ryze. Others that came along with it were Friendster, LinkedIn, and Tribe.net. Ryze was
created to help people leverage their business networks. They all tried to work together
without competing with each other and that didnt work out very well. Ryze ended up
failing, Tribe.net was holding its own, LinkedIn became a powerful business tool and
Friendster became on of the biggest disappointments in Internet history. Friendster was
created to compete with Match.com. It was basically designed for friends-of-friends to
meet and communicate with each other. But as time went on the site encountered a bunch
of technical problems and had a phenomena with people creating fake profiles which
caused its failure.
In 2003, was when SNS started becoming mainstream. This is when sites such as
YouTube, Flickr, and Last.FM came into existence. MySpace was also created in 2003 in
Santa Monica, California to compete with sites like Friendster, Xanga, and Asian
Avenue. As MySpace caught on, a lot of Indie-Rock artists began to create profiles and
local promoters used it to advertise popular clubs. MySpace then began contacting local
musicians to see how they could help. Bands were not the sole source of MySpace
growth, but the symbiotic relationship between bands and fans helped MySpace expand
beyond former Friendster users. The bands-and-fans dynamic was mutually beneficial:
Bands wanted to be able to contact fans, while fans desired attention from their favorite
bands and used Friend connections to signal identity and affiliation (Boyd, Ellison 2007).
That was when it really began to take off. Facebook then came to be in September of
2005. It was originally developed for college students to create profiles and communicate
with other students, but eventually it caught on and everyone began using it. You could
view friends profiles, post pictures, support your favorite artists, and it was just
something fresh and new no one had experienced before. Twitter emerged in 2006 and
also became a social phenomenon. It was a way for people to share their thoughts, follow
their favorite celebrities, get the latest news, and much more. In recent year many other
social media sites were developed such as Instagram, Pin-terest, Vine, and many more.
The introduction of SNS features had introduced a new organizational framework for
online communities, and with it, a vibrant new research context (Boyd, Ellison 2007).
This is how social media came into existence into todays society.
Benefits of Social Media
Social media plays a vital role in the music industry and benefits it greatly.
Through digital file sharing and social networking sites, musicians mobilize bonded
social capital around their image and music (Sargent 2009).A lot of social media sites
have integrated digital music for users to access easily and even display on their pages
such as Facebook and MySpace. Online social media such as blogs are transforming how
consumers make consumption decisions, and the music industry is at the forefront of this
revolution (Sanjeev & Jui 2012). On Myspace, you can pick your favorite song or even
make your own playlist, or your friends to listen to on your page. According to the
article, Age Differences in online social networking, they state Our results show that
teenagers tend to make more use of different media (e.g. video, music) within MySpace
(Pfeil, Arjan, & Zaphiris 2009). This shows that MySpace isnt only used to track your
friends. Even though MySpace has lost a lot of the spotlight to Twitter and Facebook, it is
still competing. As Fran Vincent said un like the other SNS, The beauty of MySpace is
that it combines the ability to discover new music and keep up on favorite artists with
other fun and useful tools.(Vincent 1)
Artists truly benefit from this technology because now all the people coming on to
your page can hear these songs, and maybe theyve never heard them before and will
downloading after listening. Its a good way for their songs to get heard other than on the
radio and things like that. Social media also makes it easy to follow and tack your
favorite artists or groups. On Twitter, users can follow and track their favorite artists by
following them and viewing their posts. It has also become a very powerful marketing
tool because it allows artists to let their fans really get to know who they are. Also, due to
the fact that a lot of artists post a lot of their music straight on twitter for their followers
to access. Instagram lets users follow their favorite artists and allow them to see pictures
they post daily. On YouTube, artists have their own channels that fans subscribe to, on
which they post their songs, music videos, and even live performances.
All of these sites not only help famous artists but they are essential tools for any
upcoming, undiscovered artists who are trying to make it big. MySpace Music is known
as the most popular social media site for music and is a great example of how artists can
reach their audiences for low costs. It is a place where a lot of people who are up and
coming post their songs to get heard. Over eight million artists and bands have set up
their profiles on MySpace Music (Owyang 2008). They create their own page solely for
their music in which people who go on the page can listen and download their songs.
Their friends can share their page so that their friends can see and so on. They can even
show music videos, communicate with their fans, or even choose to sell their songs as
MP3s. Facebook is a similar concept but probably a little more effective because these
days a lot of people have steered away from MySpace. Twitter is the best way for new
artists to get out there and promote themselves. Twitter is at its prime and almost
everyone today has a Twitter account. Artists can post their music for their followers to
view. Theres the retweet option on twitter which allows followers to share what they
retweet with their friends who dont have to be following you to see. If done enough
artists can draw a lot of attention to their music.
Impact of Social Media on Sales
Many papers have examined whether online word-of-mouth or user-generated
content, such as consumers reviews, ratings, and blogs, have an impact on sales (Chen,
Prabuddha & Hue 2013). Research has found that consumer reviews have a lot to do
with the product sales. For example, if someone on MySpace Music gives an artist a good
review obviously more people are going to give that persons music a listen and possibly
buy their music. Same for an artist on YouTube, the more views and likes the music
video receives, the more people who watch them. Another great aspect of social media is
that artists can promote their personal brands, shows, and of course their music. Many
artists have their own clothing line or sneaker line and things of that nature. You can
usually see on twitter how they will post links to their websites where they sell their own
merchandise. People are then exposed to these sites and potentially buy items from them.
Artists will also post links to buy tickets to their shows and their albums generating
revenue from those who see and choose to purchase them. Promoting themselves is
providing them with revenue and increasing sales among fans.

Challenges of Using Social Media
There are also some challenges that social media puts on the industry. Some say that
social media is helping decrease album sales due to the digital music used on these sites.
A lot of record labels are reluctant to start using social media more frequently. More
labels need to utilize social media to generate buzz for not only upcoming artists but
artists who are already out there. It would also benefit them by creating a sense of
community with their fan bases. Another problem with global music sharing is the risk of
piracy. There are too many ways today to download music illegally, such as torrents, file-
sharing programs like Limewire, Frostwire, Bit Torrent, and even Google can provide
you with a way to get music. With all these easy ways to get music for free its costing
record companies millions of dollars. In the article Piracy on the high Cs, they stated
We document that downloading reduces music purchases, by roughly one fifth of a sale
for each recent download and possibly much more (Rob, Waldfogel 2004). People who
choose to download rather than buy are affecting the welfare of sales. Since it is so easy
to just download music for free a lot of people tend to do it and it is overall hurting the
music industry. There isnt much too do but to crack down harder on people who commit
these offenses. But, in the long run the pros outweigh the cons.
Social media and the music industry have a significant relationship with one
another. The emergence of social media has provided musical artists with the ability to
further promote themselves and become closer with fans. There are many benefits to
artists who are unsigned and looking to become big and even for those artists who have
already achieved fame. As social media is benefiting artists, it is also hindering them
when you take online piracy into thought. Over time, the problems will be fixed. Overall,
without social media today the music industry would be missing out on all the upsides it
has brought. It has made the music business a far more successful industry in todays
society.







References
Boyd, D., Ellison N. (2007) Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00393.x/full
Chen, H., Prabuddha, D., & Hu, Y. (2013). T-enabled broadcasting in social media: An
empirical study of artists activities and music sales.
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2201430
Dewan, S., & Ramaprasad, J. (2012). Music Blogging, Online Sampling, and the Long
Tail. Information Systems Research, 23(3), 1056-1067.
Gillen, P. (2007) The New Influencers.
http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=CzircQKXvG0C&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=
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Lenhart, A., Purcell, K., Smith, A., & Zickuhr, K. Social Media and Mobile Internet Use
Among Teens and Young Adults.
http://web.pewinternet.org/~/media/Files/Reports/2010/PIP_Social_Media_and_Young_
Adults_Report_Final_with_toplines.pdf
Mangold, W., Faulds, D. (2009). Social media: The new hybrid element of the promotion
mix. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0007681309000329
Pfeil, U., Arjan R, & Zaphiris P. (2009). Age differences in online social networking A
study of user profiles and the social capital divide among teenagers and older users in
MySpace. Pgs 643-654.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563208001714
Rob, R., Waldfogel, J. (2004). PIRACY ON THE HIGH Cs: MUSIC
DOWNLOADING, SALES DISPLACEMENT, AND SOCIAL WELFARE IN A
SAMPLE OF COLLEGE STUDENTS.
http://www.nber.org/papers/w10874.pdf?new_window=1
Sargent, C. (2009). Local Musicians Building Global Audiences.
http://web.ebscohost.com.navigator-bloomu.passhe.edu/ehost/detail?sid=3d623944-79d7-
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Vincent, F. (2011). MySpace for Musicians: The Comprehensive Guide to Marketing
Your Music Online. http://franvincent.com/myspaceformusicians/54197_00_FM_pi-
xvi.pdf

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