I want to be clear on something that I posted on Instagram a few weeks ago because it strangely rubbed some people the wrong way, and rightfully so. For those not in the loop, every year Spotify releases their Spotify Wrapped feature and it allows the listener to share the stats of their most listened to songs, artists, albums, etc.. Spotify also has a feature that allows artists on the platform to share the stats of their released music. Inherently, this is pretty cool concept for the average listener as it provides deep detail on preferred genres, newly discovered bands, listening times, and so on. The artist feature is equally interesting as it lets you drill down and see how people are listening to your music on the platform, for how long, and shows what playlists your songs have been added to, and so much more. There's nothing wrong with sharing either, and as an independent artist, it could be pretty rewarding to your fans to see that you're out there grinding, getting listens, and making your mark on the digital music scene. As long as you keep it humble, it's acceptable to brag a bit about your accomplishments.
The problem occurs when musicians that you personally know have these outrageous stats and hundred-thousands, nearly millions of listens when their level of talent is questionable at best. Just to be sure, you go and listen to the last few tracks they released and sure enough; it sounds like dog shit. Lyrics are off-beat, the production sucks, and the mix is absolutely horrendous. You confusedly ask yourself how in the hell did this get so many listens? You begin to replay everything that you know about this person in your head, everything from live performances, things they've posted on social media, along with strange inconsistencies you recall from conversations that you've had with them over the years. You want to be happy for them, but something seems really off about the stats they're posting.
Over the years, technology has provided many amazing tools for creators, but simultaneously it's also provided copious tools for complete fakery. One of the worst offenders in my opinion are the companies (aka phone farms) that you can pay to inflate your streaming count, followers, listens, views, likes, and anything else that you could possibly imagine. I guess my beef isn't with these companies, but rather the cats that use them to construct a false narrative of their abilities for clout, especially musical clout. Maybe it's different when you don't know these people on a personal level, but you do, and that's what makes this more bothersome, especially when they walk around with their nose in the air and act like their shit doesn't stink. Again, it's okay to be boastful of your legitimate accomplishments, but to brag and boast about complete and utter bullshit to make yourself sound more accomplished is embarrassing as fuck.
SIDEBAR: I've always loathed when I meet people and part of the introduction includes them telling me how many followers they have on social media.
With it so easy to create music without having any formal training and the simplicity to have said music released to streaming platforms, is there any point to putting genuine passion into what you create? Obviously the answer is yes, but then how to you differentiate yourself from a poser that uses purchased sample and stem packs and then pays for inflate their stream count? The unfortunate truth is that you can't.
The music scene is dying and this is it's death dirge.