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Social Media

Musicians, Mental Health and The Propagandist Mind Trap of Social Media

Social Media

Social media may have reinvented the wheel for music promotion. Yet, the spokes can easily become nails in the mental health coffin for independent artists as they attempt to negate the most nefarious parts of the necessary evil.

Post-the-pandemic, which many people (myself naively included) thought would bring the best out in people, social media has become even more of a toxic landscape where users are emboldened by their lack of accountability.

Hate speech has only become more prolific, especially towards marginalised groups, including members of the LGBTQI+ community and ethnic minorities. Vindicated in echo chambers, social media contrarians are disinhibited, impulsive, and downright schadenfreudistically obnoxious.

Trolls aside, the comparison trap, spring-loaded with low self-esteem, envy, and the compulsive desire to compete, creates a culture of hostility and negativity as idealised lives are projected for validation. And this is the arena artists are expected to pour their exposed souls, daily lives, and vulnerability into? Gladiators in Rome probably had an easier cognitive time in the Colosseums.

Artists in the brightest spotlights often get the most brutal brunt of social media toxicity after their privacy barriers are torn down by their large audiences. The strain of parasocial relationships can all too easily push them away from their music careers after they see the lack of restraint exhibited by social media commentators who feel free to ridicule public figures as they please as they perceive their success and financial security as a lack of necessity for empathy and common decency. You would be forgiven for assuming that pedestals are only constructed so people can be pelted down from them.

In 2022, Dua Lipa called out the toxic currency of social media following her viral dance video that debuted in 2017. Following a blow to her self-esteem and her decision to remove herself from Twitter, she gained some perspective. Yet, independent artists who need to be constantly on the social media ball to promote new music and tours can’t share the same luxury.

The pop artist Chelsea Cutler also exposed how exhausting it can be to turn daily lives into content, especially when she knows that the time spent away from her phone is when she feels the best mentally. It has been a part of the mainstream consensus that social media can quickly deconstruct mental fortitude for the past decade. Yet, there hasn’t been much talk on how hard it is for musicians and other creatives can protect their serotonin and sanctity while putting themselves out there and finding ways to transform their daily realities into like, comment and share content fodder.

At this stage in the social media game, it is unlikely that any overhauls will happen to moderate online behaviour or that the masses will feel the proclivity to gain a conscience, which puts the onus on artists to be more mindful of how they negate social media promotion.

I won’t attempt to pinpoint the entirety of the musician’s mental health crisis on how social media exposes artists to soul-destroying commentaries on their appearance and other deeply personal facets of their lives. But social media stressors aren’t helping to remedy the fact that in 2019, 80% of independent musicians aged 18 – 25 stated that their careers have contributed to stress, anxiety, and depression.

How Artists Can Protect Themselves from Social Media Burnout

Challenge Your Core Beliefs

All too often, online popularity and engagement are inaccurately conflated against success away from social media. Despite how well our real lives are going, that dread of making a post and tumbleweed rolling across it can deflate the achievements that are celebrated on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter when they don’t garner the same attention as when a popular influencer posts a new vanity shot and leaves followers clamouring over the superficial content.

One of the best ways for artists to stick around on social media without letting it take its toll is to remove the core belief that everyone else is doing better. Even if you are at the very top of your game, there will always be someone with an inane feed that garners more engagement and attention than your music posts. We are in the age of the influencer, not the era of the artist. You can’t play by those fame-trap rules by remaining authentic. Recognise social media as the propaganda of success, not the reality of it.

Learn How Social Media Can Sap Creativity

Creativity requires an incredible amount of emotional, mental, and sometimes physical energy due to the focus required and cognitive function spent on developing new ideas, generating new possibilities, and solving problems. The mind creating new connections can take up major mental bandwidth; that is without the mentally draining toll of taking risks and being outside your comfort zone in vulnerable and unfamiliar ways. As the cherry on the exhaustion cake, the creative process is not linear, which leads to even more frustration.

For independent artists, the work is far from over there. In the words of an independent artist

“Independent artists are compared, often to signed artists, but in order to compete on a fast-moving global stage, the artist has to become media manager, publicist, graphic designer/art director, administrator/accountant, booker/plugger/promoter, marketing director, playlist co-ordinator, Spotify manager, etc. etc. etc. I estimate if I spent a week just doing ‘band stuff’ and cut out family/friends, and all my other work commitments, less than 5% of that week would go on actual creative art, songwriting, practice etc. The rest is on promo, gig bookings, management, and all the other extraneous shit that 20 years ago, we’d have a legion of label people to do for us. Now, indie artists have to do all that stuff because it is expected – if you don’t, you fall behind the curve of signed artists and the other artists who either DO do it, or have the money or people behind them to help them do it.”

Now, contemplate how social media, by its toxic competitive you-should-be-doing-better nature, can amplify the feeling of exhaustion, overwhelm, anxiety, stress, and depression. Multiple studies have shown that heavy social media use can lead to self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

Without being mindful of how you are spending your online time, how much time you spend glued to apps, how it hinders your productivity and how you feel when you’re using them, you’re going to smell the smoke from being burnt the fuck out.

Set Digital Boundaries

When you are feeling particularly mentally fragile, know that taking a social media break will never be the end of the world. Especially when the benefits are outweighed by mental health ramifications.

The need to be constantly on top of your notifications is also an unnecessary condition you are putting on yourself. Silencing notifications can help you to take control of your social media habits, which can easily lead to dopamine addictions. Every time we get a new follower, like, comment or share, we get a mini shot of dopamine, but the effects are only fleeting, and the comedown will eventually hit.

Research has also proven that having an unhealthy relationship with your phone leads to mental laziness; our smartphones are rewiring our brains to crave instant gratification. I probably don’t have to outline why that is so detrimental to the mind of a musician. But it goes a long way in proving why viral fame has become so much more alluring than a sustainable music career which allows you to express yourself freely.

Article by Amelia Vandergast

How Has Social Media Affected the Music Industry

How Social Media Has Affected The Music Industry

In the social media beginning, platforms such as Myspace facilitated the rise of many of the 00s greatest metal, rock and alternative acts. You Me at Six, Suicide Silence, Black Veil Brides, Job for a Cowboy, Bring Me the Horizon, Enter Shikari and Taking Back Sunday all owe their careers to the platform.

In 2022, the answer to the question of how has social media affected the music industry is a slightly different story. But for all the naysayers and contemporary social media bemoaners, there is plenty of social media marketing promotion potential within them.

This article will explore social media’s role in the evolution of the music industry in the last few decades. Before covering some of the top social media platforms all independent artists should be active on, and how to maximise your reach on each platform.

20 era-defining MySpace bands: Where are they now? | Kerrang!

How Social Media Affected the Music Industry

Technology has revolutionised every aspect of our lives in the last decade, and the music industry is no exception to that rule. Before it, the only means of communication artists had with their fans were the music, running interviews and speaking to the audiences at shows.

Now, thanks to social media, two-way conversations can easily flow between artists and their fans. This is mostly a good thing, although if you look at the drivel that Noel Gallagher and Ian Brown put out on the regular, it can also be taken as a negative. The adage used to compel us to never meet our idols. Now, it might be more apt to say never follow your idols on Twitter.

The momentous movement has been generated in artists’ careers with the advent of Twitter, TikTok, Facebook and Instagram. Now, there is infinitely less reliance on record companies, meaning that success isn’t only synonymous with signing with one of the big four record companies. Similarly, independent record labels have also found their wings thanks to the reach that social media gives them.

Through social media, bands can build fanbases that can help them kickstart their careers, make touring outside of their hometown a possibility and put real longevity behind their careers and showcase their music by sharing content.

Social Media & The Music Industry in the New Normal

Social media was key to the survival of many artists throughout the lockdowns. When heading to your local venue and seeing your favourite artists was off the cards, artists stepped up to the entertainment mark and entertained us through livestream shows.

Even though the darkest days are behind us, it is clear that the return to normal isn’t normal at all. A study that was published in May 2022 which looked into the impact of COVID-19 on music consumption and music spending highlighted that there is a 45.1% dip in total market spending compared to pre-pandemic levels.

However, the demand for digital entertainment is still booming, which makes subscription platforms, such as Patreon, a vital source of income for independent artists looking to finance their careers in an industry where the fault lines are becoming impossible to ignore.

Patreon has been helping fans to support artists since 2013; when the pandemic struck its plaguey blow in March 2020, the platform saw the biggest surge in creators and subscribers in its history as 35,000 new creators signed up on the platform.

The platform isn’t for everyone, but all artists with a dedicated fanbase who can come up with unique selling propositions should consider using it as a potential revenue stream.

The 5 Top Social Media Platforms for Independent Artists & Bands

1.       TikTok

TikTok now has its own music distro and promo tool, SoundOn, developed to help artists grow their fanbases and fuel their careers away from the platform. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just an annoying and problematic platform where teenagers share their dance crazes and self-harm trends. On TikTok, with the right content, anyone can go viral. For your best chances, collaborate, post covers of your favourite songs, get inventive with your instrumentation, and share behind-the-scenes footage between posting your songs and clips of your music videos.

2.       Instagram

Instagram isn’t the same beast as it used to be. Before its major 2022 update, it was primarily a photo gallery app. Now it’s trying to follow in the footsteps of TikTok with its reel-based content and stories. For your best shot at Insta-fame, or at least some attention on the app, go live regularly, post clips of your music videos, and help your fans to get a more intimate view of you as an artist.

3.       Facebook

Users on Facebook are far more likely to appreciate longer-form content. So, it is the perfect place to share your full music videos, share your reviews and interviews and write long-form statuses updating your fans on what you are up to in your music career. Facebook may be losing its popularity amongst the younger generation of music fans, but it is still one of the best platforms to network on, spread news of shows by creating events and live stream gigs.

4.       Twitter

Twitter isn’t for everyone, but it can help witty artists looking to amass a fanbase with a similar mindset by weighing in on trending topics. Your hashtag game needs to be on point here, and for any shot of success, you’ll need to dedicate ample time to tweeting, retweeting, replying, and liking to build a fanbase. Although the platform is now in Elon Musk’s possession, there is no guarantee that it won’t be an absolute dumpster fire by the time this article has been published.

5.       Bandcamp

Bandcamp falls into the grey area between a social media platform and a music streaming site but given its merit in the contemporary music industry for the ability for music fans to support and follow artists on it, we’ve included it on the list, nonetheless. You’re fairly limited in what you can share on Bandcamp in the form of updates, but it stands as one of the only platforms with a viable profit-share model.

Article by Amelia Vandergast

Call You Mine: Daniel Heyn fondly recalls that deep love on Why Did I F*ck It Up

As he reminisces about that special human who he cherishes so intently, Daniel Heyn wonders why he messed everything up when this was the only person in the world that he wanted to be with on his lyric video for Why Did I F*ck It Up.

Daniel Heyn is a youthful indie-pop singer-songwriter who has amassed an extraordinary total of over 500k social media followers.

Showing us his hunger to be signed to a record label, Daniel Heyn shall take your heart up into the clouds and into a romantic relationship that shattered in half when the opposite was supposed to occur. Honest in nature and steaming with passion, this is the kind of single that will have you gazing back into your memory bank.

Why Did I F*ck It Up from the 21-year-old indie-pop singer-songwriter Daniel Heyn is an emotional story that will strike the heart of all those who veered away from something so incredible. With pleasant vocals that will warm up your ears, this is a song that is packed with a contemplative aura that might take you back into a time and place you wish could be reversed.

On a catchy beat that might have you nodding your head for hours, this is a release for anyone who regrets when they messed up something so beautiful.

See this new lyric video on YouTube and find out more via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Is TikTok the New Myspace for (Not Just Gen Z) Unsigned Artists?

If you experienced Myspace, no matter what TikTok does (we are talking about the platform here, not the creators, before you start bemoaning the dance moves and the lip-syncing proclivities), it will probably never scratch the nostalgic itch.

For younger independent artists oblivious to the culture of Myspace, there is little hesitation to jump on what became the most visited website in 2021. You can see it as a sad sign of the times that users spend more than 850 minutes every month on the app, or you can also see it as one of the best opportunities the internet has extended to artists looking to cast their digital net wider.

Just about anything can go viral on TikTok, proven by the sea shanty trend in 2021. And for anyone that thinks TikTok is for ingrates who blasphemously appropriate music culture, think again. 40% of active users of TikTok have a monthly music subscription, compared to 25% of the general population. Even more remarkably, only 9% of the general population frequently buy merch; for TikTok users, it is 17%. That is before you consider how many users get inspired by music before putting it into their posts.

TikTok has become so vital to the music industry that publishers change track names to how they are referred to on TikTok. And don’t forget about the deal signed between UnitedMasters and TikTok in 2021. 

What We Can Learn from the Legacy of Myspace

Myspace used to be one of the best platforms for music discovery. Facebook may have left it dead and buried but social media is still the number 1 method of discovering music for Gen Z and Millennial music fans, followed by YouTube videos, recommendations from friends, radio, TV shows, and soundtracks.

In 2022, TikTok is as renowned for its viral video humour as it is famous for launching new artists’ careers. Lil Nas X, Tai Verdes, Loren Gray, and Baby Ariel have TikTok to thank for their stratospheric fame and revered positions in the music industry.

The other remarkable feat of Myspace was its networking capabilities; it became a place for artists to create genuine connections with fans, other bands, venues, and other figureheads in the music industry.

Newsflash, it is still easy to create connections online. The real issue with music promotion in 2022 isn’t the inability to make those connections; it is the undeniable oversaturation in the music industry; there are more artists on Spotify than people living in Hong Kong. The fault does not lie with the technology of today. The fault lies within the cramped confines of the industry, filled with fame-hungry chancers looking for adoration and easy money. The good news is that these narcissistic hacks are easily separable from talented artists. The difference lies within the art and the effort to ensure it is heard. Now, there are more platforms than ever to expand your reach and collect royalties.

How the SoundOn Feature Became a Game Changer for Unsigned Artists

In 2022, TikTok launched its new SoundOn initiative across the US and the UK to support unsigned artists. The feature allows artists to licence their tracks for use on the platform via the partner streaming service, Resso. 

The SoundOn feature enables artists to upload music and earn royalties. In the first year, artists will receive 100% of their royalties; after that, it drops to a still very reasonable 90%. As the cherry on the self-promo cake, the feature also offers a range of promotional tools and support.

Anyone Can Go Viral on TikTok

TikTok has become one of the ultimate equalisers of our technology-driven times. Forget Twitter, which leaves sycophants in a frenzy every time the object of their infatuation Tweets about their breakfast and bowel movements and ignores the voices that deserve to be heard.

Forget Facebook, which will all too happily effectively leave you screaming into the void while you are attempting to promote your new single, album, merch or tour. To go viral on TikTok, you don’t need thousands or millions of followers at your disposal or a massive social media marketing budget; all you need is a little creativity; which should be something that artists have in abundance.

How to Create Viral Worthy Posts to Promote Your Music on TikTok

Keep it short and sweet. TikTok may be a great platform, but it can’t lengthen the tragically short attention span of social media users. 8 – 15 seconds seems to be the sweet spot. So, share the hookiest segment of your new track or the most eye-grabbing fragment of your new music video.

Stay in trend. Even if you don’t bow to the mainstream trends with your music, if you want TikTok success, you might have to make an exception to that rule. Head to the discover page to find out what is trending in your niche and make the algorithms take your content to new heights.

Don’t use generic hashtags. When finalising your TikTok posts, don’t be tempted to use the most obvious tags. Do a deep dive on the trending tags for your niche on the platform itself, and utilise sites such as

– Collaborate with popular creators. Influencers, including TikTok influencers, are becoming increasingly valuable for independent artists looking for effective music promotion. As the adage goes, if you can’t beat them, join them! Offer your music for other popular creators in your niche to use in their videos.


I don’t want to get all Dr Pepper on you, but what is the worst that can happen if you choose to invest some of your time in promoting your music on the platform? In 2020, 70 unsigned artists snagged major record label deals, which may not sound too impressive, given the number of independent artists releasing music. But getting signed to a label isn’t the be-all and end-all for artists anymore. With a loyal enough following, there is no stopping independent artists from being able to fund their music careers and running things on their terms.

Amelia Vandergast


Losing Sight: Frannie B searches for the all-important meaning again with ‘Downfall’

After understandably letting the addictive forces of the internet control her for too long like so many, Frannie B emerges from the other side with a harrowing story that should serve as a wake-up call for us all on ‘Downfall‘.

Frannie Brown aka Frannie B, is an indie dark-pop/dance and RnB-fused PJ’s-loving singer-songwriter who truly sings from the heart. She makes that inspiring blend of memorable melodies that is real and from life experiences, in this controlled world which can suffocate you forever if you aren’t too careful.

This song was written during lockdown last year. It was recorded in Frannie’s bedroom and produced over Skype with Danish producer Mört.” ~ Frannie B

Her lusciously projected vocals are excellently laced with so much pureness you can’t help but support her message, with a likable beat that gets your moving graciously and thinking deeply about how much you consume online. The lyrics are thoughtfully written and with such insightful meaning – each sentence leads you deeper inside her mind – to see how she feels about this vitally important topic, that seem to have been unintentionally forgotten.

To me this song is about any form of addiction, including how damaging the internet is and how much young people (myself included) allow it to control almost every aspect of our lives. Addiction is an area that is attached to a lot of negative stigma but has really personally affected me so I hope this can help anyone struggling with it to feel less alone.”- Frannie B

Downfall‘ from the wonderful indie dance-pop artist Frannie B, is that stark reminder that one more swipe can really have you lose your true path, as you turn into an anxious zombie and worry about things you really shouldn’t. As social media and the internet has so many losing their soul just for some meaningless likes and follows, this is a striking message that needs to be heard far and wide. With so many impressionable eyes locked on their screens, there must be a better way to live and avoid getting sucked into a world that unfairly compares everyone.

Sung with a true care and love from someone who has lived the emotional journey, this is a catchy track to truly think about what content you absorb. Surely living life happily is about being outside in nature, with genuine human and animals, far away from our addictive phones.

Hear this fantastic new single on Spotify and see more news via her IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Time to ditch the filter: Gybz (feat. Madslee) is the truthful warning about the perils of social media in modern day society on ‘Plastic Kisses’

Gybz (feat. Madslee) is the debut song from these two incredible creatives and they send us a message that we all need to heed on ‘Plastic Kisses‘.

British-Asian musician/producer Gybz joined forces with Ecuadorian artist Madslee for this catchy new indie pop/electronic single that they have been keen to release for a while now.

After becoming friends while attending University in Manchester, they formed an unbreakable bond after shared music interests and also of this very important topic of a different life on social media for some. They explore this scary world on a tender song you will find hard to ignore, as the simmering beat and exhilarating vocals seeps into your body perfectly.

Social media can be so fake and its so great to hear a message like this about a subject that is often ignored and swept under the mouse. Being real to yourself and your friends is so vital, otherwise you can get lost under the filters and never emerge like you were before again, lost to the real world forever.

The sad reality is that somehow so many have been brain-washed into thinking that you need to look like Insta models to be liked when actually, that is so far from the truth. With the personal touch, these two talented musicians bring light to such a vital topic on a song you will want to play again and again.

Plastic Kisses‘ from UK’s  Gybz (feat. Madslee) is a truly defining song of current and future mental health warnings for those that have unfortunately been taken into the social media space ship. Having honest friends and family around you that can steer you into the right direction, has never been more important than it is today.

Ultimately you don’t want to be with someone that was so incredible before and kisses you with their tender lips, to then be consumed by their looks and return to be somewhere else when you see them again. Staying in reality is the only way to be truly happy long-term after all.

Hear the realness on YouTube and see the social journey on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen