Is Facebook ripping off musicians?

By ajcolores

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Musicians seem to be getting a rough deal at the moment. From struggling with promotion in a bloated market where differentiating between hobbyists and serious musicians is becoming difficult, to having to deal with 360 record deals where record labels seem to be getting a great deal at the expense of their music. The shifts in the industry are coming thick and fast, and with the internet being a blessing and a torment, it’s safe to say that the industry as a whole is forced to let go of solid, rigid traditional methods and let new waves of creativity wash over them in order to not get left behind on a baron island.

Social media has been, and still is for that matter, and incredible and powerful tool for musicians, writers, record labels and fans alike to share their thoughts, music, updates and news with each other. It’s never been easier to keep up with your favourite musicians and artists, whether you’re mad for Metallica or go crazy for the Cure, everyone’s connected.

Over the past couple of days we’ve seen a surge in musicians posting on Facebook stating that they’re disgruntled about having to pay for promotion. What does this mean? Pay for statuses? Well, this confused me too, but after looking into it a bit further I found out that it’s not for post statuses at all, but an extra add-on where you can ‘promote’ it to reach a wider audience. The fact that each status costs between $2 - $100, depending on how many likes etc you have on your page, then this seems like a terribly expensive method of promoting your news. What did we expect of a company who is now run by a board of directors who have majority shares in the company, and after the shares plummeted after first few days of becoming the newer, limited sort of company it now is?

What Facebook seems to have done is completely turn its back on the very people who depend on it for their marketing. Some bands, writers, artists, photographers etc depend on the use of social media and blogs solely for their marketing as their marketing budgets are tight enough as it is with less revenue being made thanks to illegal downloading, and these 360 deals where record companies take a percentage of ALL income the band makes, not just through record sales alone. Bands across the board are posting up about who they’re going to turn to Twitter as a priority to distribute news and media links to fans, which bodes the question, will the music industry go dark on Facebook all together? Is this the beginning of the end for Facebook as we know and love it (probably too much)? Probably not entirely, but this money-minded road Facebook has gone down, is crippling the already suffering artists.

Masters in France have just posted the below on their Facebook wall:

“Facebook tells us that it now costs £5.00 for 1,500 of our fans to see THIS post. It costs £15.00 for 3,500 of our fans to see this post. As we're not giving you a single penny Facebook, only 400 of our fans will see this post. Internet vs Music.”
I only knew that they wrote this because they posted the link on Twitter.

Casi Wyn, a sensational up and coming Welsh artist who sings in English and Welsh wrote:

“Ma' hi'n costio i bostio statws/lincs ar fy mhejan gerddoriaeth ar Facebook bellach (5 doler y statws!) Er mwyn cadw'n yp-detyd gyda unryw gerddoriaeth newydd/digwyddiadau dros yr Haf, mi fedrwch chi fy nilyn i ar Twitter/Trydar, m'ond os 'da chi awydd. xxx

Facebook pages are now being charged to post statuses ($5 per status to be precise) To stay updated with my music, videos and show dates, you can follow me on my twitter @casiwyn. Xxx”
Only time will tell whether Facebook has taken another step towards its own-ruin, giving more room for the Twitter tempest to reign, whilst giving the kiss of life to MySpace and giving musicians that nudge towards Pinterest. I for one, do not under estimate the passion, creativity and forward thinking of the striving artists of this industry, and whatever corporate giants will throw at them, they’ll find inspired methods of not only overcoming the obstacle, but turn it on its head and use it to their advantage. Here’s to art, and to its continuing journey to prevail over corporate greed.

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