Social media is taking over the music industry


Instagram, @markambor

Just one example of the artist Mark Ambor advertising his music with Instagram reels.

In the span of only a couple of years, music lovers have found “pop” radio songs spiraling into an entirely new era of music: one that is almost entirely controlled by social media. 

Tuning into Contemporary Hit Radio, one would be hard-pressed to listen to just three songs without at least one of them stemming from its rapid growth in social media trends. For example, the song “Until I Found You” by Stephen Sanchez—which has a wonderful melody and message on its own—became especially viral due to the romantic lyrics. Couples began overlaying Sanchez’s lyrics over their own romance compilations, and the trend expanded from there. 

With the romance theme, “Golden Hour” by JVKE gained popularity in a similar fashion, and “Ceilings” by Lizzy McAlpine was able to attract many YA book lovers with the lyric “but it’s not real, and you don’t exist.” Once one person posts about a relatable lyric in the song, others are quick to hop on the trend and make clips of their own. 

I would never fall in love again until I found her. I said, ‘I would never fall unless it’s you I fall into.’ I was lost within the darkness, but then I found her. I found you.

According to a 2021 study by MRC Data, music lovers are almost 70% more likely to pursue their interest in a song after seeing it on social media in comparison to other means of discovery. Even if a social media user has never listened to the complete song, they’re guaranteed to know the chorus to one of the songs mentioned above. 

Other artists and bands attract an audience through their “point of view” prompts, reposting covers that other users create, and sharing videos of friends reacting to their latest compositions. Considering the current outreach that these 60-second clips have, these strategies are arguably the best networking tactic. 

From personal experience, I was introduced to five new singer-songwriters in the span of one hour on Instagram, including Eva Westphal, Mark Ambor, and Alfie Castley. I love watching the videos of these younger artists because, in addition to the messages their words convey, their sound is raw and passionate—pouring their hearts out to every person that happens to scroll by their voices and guitars. It’s exciting to have access to such a variety of new music and be a part of the beginning. 

The best part is the community that comes together to support their favorite artists; the comments are consistently full of praise and gratitude for the lyrics that leave an impact. Never before has uploading new music and accessing it been easier. With social media, many artists no longer need a record label to be successful; instead, they find an independence that allows them to make music however they want. 

For those who were bigger fans of the music released before the rise of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and other brief videos, have no fear. The biggest names in the music industry will continue to captivate the world’s attention, but even artists who found fame before have also created an extensive presence on social media. 

Altogether, this change in the music industry is a beautifully universal shift. From creating connections with fans to simply advertising their craft, social media is now essential to being successful in the music industry. Now more than ever, music is in the hands of the people.