A new documentary that people should check out is about how social media is disrupting even democracy. And to quote the message that the Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff says in the movie “Social media should be forbidden”.
If there is anything right now that is killing the music, it’s social media! I have been wondering why I don’t get new songs? Okay, I’m over 35 and that means that your musical taste is set. I’m working in the industry, so I’m used to getting new music submitted to me since it’s part of my daily business. So if I can't find new music how can a normal fan have any chance of finding it?
Before I never had any challenges finding new music. Since the lockdown on COVID, I realized that all the new good music came from outside. Everything I discovered was through showcase festivals where people had curated line-up’s where I could go around like a smorgasbord and just discover new artists. In addition, I had a lot of great people that are creating new things and work really hard that could tip me off about great new artists and music they had found for me to just access.
During COVID, I have almost found nothing. Yes, I have been on several online events of showcase festivals. Many were really well done and you could see some new artists. The problem is that you are in front of a screen where messages pop up every second minute. The algorithms don’t like it if I stay on the same spot for a long period of time. Then it reacts by giving me the advice to see something new. Suddenly I see messages that somebody totally unknown posted a video on Tiktok. Why give me that advice? I don’t even use Tiktok in that way, it’s like Twitter – who cares about a 60-sec video? Only people with attention issues the same as Twitter, mainly for people that can only write a sentence and has the mind of a goldfish.
So why didn’t the system send it to me? I didn’t want me to be bored seeing a live concert online. To be totally honest, the great events put together by great people were totally destroyed by social media.
It’s not just all that. I also miss all the chit chat you do with people that like music and come up with really great tip-offs of new things. I haven’t had a conversation like that since March and now it starts to take its toll. I REALLY CAN’T FIND ANY GOOD MUSIC!
The algorithms can’t predict what my feelings are unless I start to click on suicide links. So they can’t guess what I’m up for. If I spend yesterday just listening to Queen I don’t need another link to Queen music. I did that because I did a special spotlight show around them for Cashbox Radio. It was work. Now the algorithms are bombarding me with Queen music or bad copies of Queen music. Not a good way to discover new music.
Also, the algorithms are best at giving me crappy music as well. Right now, we just handed over the keys to new discoveries to anyone that likes to cheat. So that artist that really is mediocre but has some money now can easily just cheat the way up with their music into a lot of places. This creates something I already warned about over fifteen years ago. The brown wave! A wave of just no thought through mediocre music. On top of that, you have the platforms with music nagging on to the artist that they should release music at a faster pace. Soon musicians are releasing a song as a Facebook post.
That can never be of any quality! Even Leonardo Da Vinci who was a genius couldn't paint a new Mona Lisa every week. Sure, he could do a decent drawing each week, but never a masterpiece. Why the hell do the platforms think that an artist today should be able to perform that? Even worse now since the artist also becomes interrupted by stupid messages that pop up when the algorithm thinks that the artist is bored but instead tries to find inspiration! That would be like having some ugly little orc sitting next to Leonardo Da Vinci and poke him in the arm while trying to paint Mona Lisa.
So here is the problem. You musicians out there. STOP using social media the way you do it now. The only thing you are going to be is an influencer that also can do mediocre songs from time to time. You will not be a musician; you will be an influencer. Unfortunately, an influencer is just a person doing content for a big machine, not art, just cheap fast content. The art we are doing right now is like calling McDonald's fine dining.
What is happening to me right now is that I’m fed up with music that I already know and like and discovering nothing new. I know there are plenty of great things out there that I should and need to hear, but everything is blocked by evil algorithms that just wait for people to pay them to show who pays the most. Okay if I paid and got to choose between the crap and the good. No, they just give me something and think that it is alright. We don't need new outlets like Deezer or Spotify, Youtube, Tiktok. We badly need an outlet that shows us good music. Not having quantity instead of quality. Can someone please build that?
Now someone just say stop complaining and do something. I did! I became part of th team that started Cashbox Radio where the algorithm can’t influence. The problem is that I’m robbed of my outlet to find new good music for the station because of a virus. I’m just waiting though, soon this channel will be open again, and hopefully, we can provide people with even more good music than what we are already playing of new releases.
I asked around and many people feel the same as me. No good music has been coming their way for a long time. My suggestion is kind of selfish, stop hanging on social media, go to Cashbox Radio and we will present you with some new music among with legendary music that you like and know. Finding tracks you have forgotten. Cashbox has the slogan: “Radio The Way It Used to Be” and we are committed to good music. We should have a way of escaping a bad algorithm choice. Use the app and then put your phone away so you can hear it not see the screen where the evil orcs are trying to get you to change to something new. That is my contribution to the situation.
As soon as COVID is over, we are just going to get more and more things rolling. And I will work more and more to get music out from the static social media. For me, it is still all about the music.
Editor’s Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 30 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals and is an advisor for INES and co-founder of MusicHelp/Discover Sensation. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and Super Bowl. Peter has currently taken up the seat of Station Manager of Cashbox Radio, working with MD, PD and station owner, Sandy Graham. His latest venture is a new Showcase Festival in Sweden, Future Echoes scheduled for February 18-20, 2021.