Industry Impact Assignment: Effects of Social Media on the Music Industry Final Report

              Music in the Modern Age

                 James Brown called it a man’s world, Gary Jules called it a mad world, but in this day and age it’s actually, a cyber-world. Don’t believe me? Just look at Facebook’s 750 million users, and Twitter’s 110 million enthusiasts and you’ll understand the magnitude of our investment in social media [1, 2].   One business in particular, which has been fundamentally changed by its interaction with social media, has been the music industry.   

Social Media’s Impact on the Music Industry

                When looking at how social media has impacted the music business, major changes in production and marketing were observed. With regards to production, artists can choose to emulate Justin Bieber, who got his start on YouTube before catching the eye of an industry insider and landing a deal [4]. On the other hand, artists without representation can continue producing music on their own while using social media sites as a means of reaching fans.   

                Social media sites like Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook have also greatly influenced music marketing strategies by giving rise to free modes of self and fan promotion. Newest pop sensation One Direction, experienced the benefits of fan promotion when they arrived in North America to find an established fan base, despite never having done any promotion [5] This phenomenon was associated with the ability of social media to connect people in a way that enables them to introduce others to new music via word of mouth on their online accounts [5].      

Changes in Communication and Operation  

               Social Media has also pushed record labels into survival mode, where they either adapt or die. In the past decade, we’ve seen labels operate by going on the attack as they try to stall progress through lawsuits for copyright infringements and file sharing [3].This hesitation to communicate and collaborate with social media sites, who are very much a part of the modern music industry, has led to negative consequences that close labels off to free advertising and thus potential profit [3].

Industry Opportunities vs. Threats



Scouting Talent Online

  • Can preview talent globally
  • No travelling needed
  • Can assess potential artist success through public comments, # of likes vs. dislikes, shares etc. [6]
  • Decreases risk of investing in failing product [7]
Labels can’t/don’t adapt to social media  

  • Incur financial losses from declining album sales and availability of free music [9]
  • Labels will be demoted to  marketing/support teams as opposed to the leaders with final say [7]  


Worldwide accessibility and distribution of product [3]

  • Greater fan reach enhances chances of financial success


Negative word of mouth

  • 77% of internet users frequent blogs which are platforms for people’s opinions[1]
  • Word of mouth has proven to be integral to success in the cyber-world
  • Bad reviews could be detrimental  
Music sharing online

  • Decreases financial expenditures on CD production, packaging, distribution etc…  [3]
Free self and fan promotion campaigns online [3]  

  • Replace expensive advertisements and save money
Better quality music industry

  • Anyone can create and distribute creative martial via social media = diversity and options for fans [8]
  • Less restrictions imposed by labels
  • Freshness keeps fans interested [8]  
More control for artists

  • Less label control [7]

 There you have it readers, it seems that social media has and will continue to alter the music industry, whether for better or worse you decide!




Until the next post!



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