Let’s take a step back into time when social media did not exist and obsessing over your favorite artist was different. Besides going out and buying their album, attending their concerts, being glued to the radio or television for an exclusive interview, and standing in long lines for meet and greets, how would you get to know the real person behind your favorite music?
The mysterious side of not knowing every piece of information about your favorite artist, and waiting for them to drop a fire tell-all album that addressed the rumors, scandals, and current event opinions the world is talking about was exciting. One bar or hook created a great conversation piece between fans on what the artist meant. There was no discussion and a choosing of sides, it was just the music.
When Ice Cube decided to split from NWA because he wasn’t being treated correctly, an internal beef between the guys started, which birthed No Vaseline. NWA and Ice Cube went back and forth. Fans had to wait until each party dropped a record to get the other’s side of the story. Mary J. Blige dropped No More Drama around the time she decided to drop her abusive relationship and drugs. Mary J. Bilge fans couldn’t find the man who hurt her and put boot emojis under his pictures on the internet. The fans couldn’t make threads and decide to boycott K Ci’s music. Everyone had to wait until My Life dropped and vibe out with her.
Besides a guessing game, fans were not involved in their favorite artists lives, which created moral boundaries between the artist and their fans. The artists sexual preference, their relationship issues, and their political opinions were none of anyone’s business. Everyone just cared about the music.
Today, due to technology featuring a sprinkle of instant gratification, the privacy wall between an artist and their fans has been shattered. The good founders, Kevin Systrom and Jack Dorsey are not to blame for artists wanting to express themselves, it just is what it is sometimes.
Do We Care More About Their Social Media Accounts Than Their Music?
As opposed to artists remaining mysterious, and a big chunk of their lives and thoughts being private, we have social media to better connect with the artists that we love. Paparazzi harass them, and we get to see pictures of them surface online. Fans record concerts, so we don’t have to physically go to them, and the artist also record their lives on their own social media. They talk to their fans, they post pictures of their family, they address rumors, and they let the world know how they feel about political issues and entertainment gossip.
For artists like Jay Z, T.I., John Legend, and YG, their opinions on certain events add to positive aspect of growing closer to our favorite artists because they speak on behalf of their fans. We agree with their opinions, which makes liking them and their music easier. On the contrary, there are times when conflict comes at us fast, and we have to decipher between our personal morals or being a fan.
The recent Kanye West rant is an example of whether we can enjoy our favorite artist’s music even though they disagree with our sensitive political views. Other artists like The Game and Azealia Banks have been shunned on Instagram for voicing their opinions, as well as Chris Brown’s and R Kelly’s fans for deciding to no longer to support them due to their abusive acts towards women.
If Social Media Did Not Exist, Would We Care As Much?
This is not to say if social media did not exist, the world would never know about the private lives of celebrities, but if social media did not exist, would we care as much? Would we make it an effort to not listen to an album or support a clothing line? It can be annoying to really enjoy an artist, and then he or she tweets ignorance, sides with immoral opinions, or an unbecoming video of them surfaces on social media. Fans then no longer buy records, merchandise, or go to concerts. This turns into sponsors dropping the artists, and this could lead to ending the artists career.
Social media has spoken bad about the late Marvin Gaye, decided not to support Nas, Pusha T, and Teyana Taylor’s albums because of their feelings towards Kanye West, throw shade at Jay Z because of Beyonce’s choice to open up about their troubled marriage, judge Drake because of information from Pusha T’s diss record, and cancel Pusha T because of his diss record to Drake. Marvin Gaye is dead and people still decided to speak on his sexual preference, Nas, Pusha T, and Teyana Taylor are artist that most likely do not agree with Kanye West, so why cancel them, just like other marriages, people mess up, so why give this rapper a hard time because you’re obsessed with his wife? Is social media ruining our fan-artist relationship with our favorite artist?