Music has been slowly getting back to being the more social experience that it really should be. The digital music age and hostile iPod takeover of the industry really isolated us in our listening and made music more solitary than maybe ever before. Thankfully things are headed back the other way.
Social networks like last.fm, ping.fm, Pandora, HypeMachine, and a host of others are pushing togetherness back into music. Without going on a rant about labels and copyrights, its fairly easy to see that certain restrictions make sharing music and enjoying it freely difficult at times and contribute to making music less social.
Well, social media is helping artists and fans fight back. Not only are the music-oriented social networks mentioned above pushing toward sharing and community building, but awesome projects by artists and fans are bringing people together around songs. 30 Seconds to Mars did a famous project called “The Summit” to bring together thousands of fans live and online to help with the creative process. The first one went so well that they did it in 8 countries. They had so many tweets afterward saying they were sad to have missed it, that they created a digital version of the track so anyone could get involved.
More recently, crowd sourced music videos have become a popular way for fans to get involved with the artists they love and the people who share their passion. There is a Johny Cash memorial site consisting completely of fan drawings woven into video, a Michael Jackson ‘eternal moonwalk’ project that is all fan-based, and many new music videos that got fans socially involved with artists and each other. These and a ton of others that I don’t have room to list are important projects that are helping to close the gap between where we are with the social world and where we are in the music industry.
Social media is helping music and music is helping social media evolve even further. It will be an interesting relationship to watch as both progress and as artists and even labels become more savvy about the social side of things. Check out the awesome results of passionate fans getting a chance to actively participate in the music they love.