Don’t Place Artists on Pedestals, They Are People Too
Artist interaction on social media is a slippery slope. It could go great or badly, and we need to remember they are prone to errors too.
Clarence Mac Ebong
●13th April 2023
The music industry is changing a lot. Before, artists could go AWOL for months and come back with a big release announcement that gets everyone off their seats. Nowadays, it is not the same. The impact of social media means that fans want to have daily updates on the artist’s life, their process, and anything that helps keep up the para-social relationship they’ve built with their favorite musicians. We want every update, and we want it all the time; in turn, artists have added socializing as one of their strategies for retaining fans outside the music.
It is a strategy that has worked for many artists. Take Blaqbonez for example, whose constant gimmicks and skits add an extra layer of humanity to the audience’s perception of him. Coupled with his great music, performance skills, and ability to stay out of controversy, Blaqbonez has turned himself into an example that other artists can model themselves off. Now, not everyone has jokes, but it’s about finding creative ways to resonate with your fans and etch your name in their minds.
However, this doesn’t always work. Some attempts by artists to interact with others backfire severely, especially in cases when they give an opinion on a topic that turns controversial. Brymo’s tribalistic comments during the elections did not elevate his already shaky position as an artist on social media. Rema also faced backlash on Twitter during the elections after releasing a promotional video for “Holiday”, with fans expressing their distaste for his use of a delicate matter for content.
These interactions highlight the important fact that these artists are people too. Despite their elevated status, they are just as profound/delusional as the next person, so pedestalizing them is not the wisest thing to do. Nowadays, it seems like just as soon as we begin to like an artist, they give us a reason not to, exposing their inadequacies for us all to see. But the fans are inadequate as well, they’re just out of the bright spotlights.
Fear of fucking up should not hold an artist back from interacting with the fans and audience. It’s essential to fan retention and brand building. We need them to talk because as much as we want to stay updated on their art, we also need to know the type of artist we are interacting with, as well as what they could be capable of. They should be open to correction and praise on an equal scale. And in a cut-throat music industry, artists also have to learn to be immune to the noise and unwarranted criticism because all anybody wants to do is talk.
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