Band's Instagram is hip, but how's their music?
I think my new favorite Instagram account is SocalityBarbie.
It's hilarious because it's so similar to a lot of Instagram posts I see these days. Good looking pictures of interesting locations with trendy filters. The difference is, she's not a human. She's a Barbie.
Everyone's got great Instagram accounts these days. Especially bands. A new band will post really cool pictures of themselves doing really cool things in really unique ways. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Heck, I do it too.
But then I listen to their Music.
Just this morning I saw a band on Instagram with some good looking pics, and realized I followed them, but I had never heard them. So I went to their (really sleek) website and hit play on the first video I saw.
I was let down big time! Sounded just like everyone else. O.K. playing, O.K. singing, O.K. song. Honestly, it was unnecessary. It didn't add anything to the world of music. And this isn't the first time this has happened to me when looking for new music. Because I've heard these kinds of songs before, and I'll hear them again. Just with different words and different beautiful Instagram pics.
Now, this is entirely subjective. I don't claim to be the gatekeeper on what is good music and what is not. But I would bet that you've felt the same way at some point or another. "There are plenty of bands out there who will never make it, and that's how it's always been. So what, Dave? Why get beat up about it?".
I think too many bands spend way too much time developing a brand, and not enough time creating necessary, new, exciting, meaningful music. Why do I think this? Because I've done it myself. I've been caught in the social media trap of scrounging the web, trying to find new music apps to put my music on. I've spent hours editing photos until they look just right. And I've realized that all that matters at the end of the day is the sound coming out of the speakers. Is it moving people? Is it quality? Is it thoughtful art? As it turns out, It's a lot harder to make good sound than to make good images. I'm guessing socalitybarbie couldn't record a good record.
If 90% of artists "Music" time was spent on writing the music, I think we'd have a better quality of music overall. I think about the days when everyone recorded to tape, and how you couldn't auto-tune a vocal. People got good at their craft rather than relying on "crutches" created by technology to make you sound better than you are. They HAD to be good musicians. Next time you listen to older records, think about the fact that often they would play and sing LIVE for the entire record. And they nailed it, because they were good.
So, music friends, please focus on making good music. It's your craft, perfect it. Spend late nights not perusing the latest 'grams, but fiddling around on the guitar. Try free-writing. Say something you've never said before. And don't be drawn into the black hole of social media madness. Anyone can do that. It's the people that make good music that will stand out.
Also, please know I'm on this journey myself, and I'm talking to myself as well :)
P.S. What does our culture care more about, sound or image? Just look at the size of tv screens over the past 10 years compared to the size of speakers over the past 10 years. The best speakers people have are their phone speaker (yes, singular). But I'll write about this soon :)
I am a musician, producer, and engineer based in Knoxville, TN. Check out my music site here.