Throughout the Social Media campaigning course I was introduced to new practical fields of the digital environment and acquired valuable knowledge. Being different in its practical essence compared to other Goldsmiths College modules, I think that the Social Media Campaigning module stands out by providing insights that students can apply not only to academic essays but to real life as well.
The frequent blog posts were also an interesting approach that provoked my thinking within all sorts of contexts – from recent protest activity, to the way I use an online platform for video editing.
As a person who works in the music industry, I was very excited to find out that, for the purpose of the blog rubric, students can choose their are of interest. The assumption that I will have to write about classical music in my established Classical Music blog was very pleasing. However, soon after that I realized that some of the topics couldn’t be related to classical music. This was the case with my first blog post but shortly before posting it I thought that music is universal and can find its place in all sorts of contexts.
What I found most motivating in the module was the fact that opportunities in the digital space are limitless. The Internet could provide amazing tips and ways to manage a problem so people should take advantage of this feature instead of using it to search for pictures of cats. This takes me to my main point in this reflective post and that is Crowd-funding. If I was asked which of the covered topic was most interesting, I would point Crowd-Funding without hesitation. Not only because it is perfectly applicable to my area of interest but also because it provided me with insights about my profession in the music industry, where this sort of funding is considered as ‘the next big thing’. After a research, I discovered that this has been a successful approach, adapted by many classical musicians and makes me believe that in a century when less and less people buy CDs paying for a product before its release is becoming more and more adequate. This knowledge was very applicable to my profession and even started a discussion at my office about should this approach be adapted for some projects next year.
The course and the frequent blog-posting provoked me to think further about how to improve my Internet marketing skills. The variety of exercises during classes thought me that there is always something more to learn and that even if I feel that I have a skill it can always be improved and enriched by extending my knowledge. This was the exact case with my Social Media project, where I applied a new targeting technique which was quite successful. In that case, I can assume that the Social Media Course made me escape my ‘comfort zone’ and search for new ideas.
Applying module topics to classical music also provided me with a wider understanding of this particular industry. It showed my area of interest as an evolving industry that is still way behind the ‘digital age’ but, however, is investing a lot of efforts to get closer to the modern consumer.
Applying everything discussed in class to my passion for classical music and writing blog posts about it also helped me understand and remember the material. It seems that passion is the easiest way to acquire knowledge.
Classical Music, just as any other genre is still highly influenced by Piracy. However, a brief analysis might prove that despite decreasing the amount of sold units, piracy has led to certain improvements of the new product development, adapted by major labels.
The first thing that needs to be pointed out when we talk about piracy is Spotify. Many artists claim that Spotify is paying ‘minimal’ royalties to performers with low or middle popularity. However, it seems that no one can question the way Spotify has influenced online piracy.
According to Digital Digest, music piracy has declined with 80% since the launch of Spotify.
And it sounds rather logical, doesn’t it? Streaming is more convenient than ‘owning’ for modern consumers and can be both free and legal at the same time.
One other thing that needs to be underlined is the way physical products changed. Before piracy became popular, Classical Music CDs used to be plain and simple. However, today labels have to create products that can’t be downloaded through pirate websites. Therefore, products look more luxurious than ever before. In other words, when Classical Music consumers see a product like the one below, they would prefer to OWN it instead of consuming it as a pirated content.
By the way, have you ever heard of Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker? Its idea is to facilitate internet users in editing and remixing videos online. No installations, no massive learning curves…and it’s free! Have a look at the video below – Bernstein talking about Beethoven’s 6th…and then playing it.
I just copied and pasted the YouTube links into the platform and edited the video – It’s really easy, in fact much easier than MovieMaker or Lightworks.
Sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it? The social revolution of science – now everyone can participate in research or conduct a research without the support of academic establishments but with the support of online technologies. Citizen science projects are initiatives that use the general public to collect data, for instance, types of animals/trees in parks, air pollution, etc. or initiatives that use the public to analyse data.
Probably the best way to illustrate the idea of Citizen Science with an example is: www.zooniverse.org The idea can’t be more simple than the headline on the landing page :’Search through never before seen data to help us discover the birthplace of planets’.
The platform provides a massive amount of image data which is impossible to be analysed by a small team of scientists locked in a room for a week. Therefore, the platform uses the enthusiasm of scientifically driven individuals and offers them the unique opportunity to use their skills and contribute to Science in their free time. Sounds like a game, doesn’t it? I think it feels like that.
Such an approach uses the skills of people who would invest their time in such activities only because of enthusiasm and not because of monetary stimulus. As a result, in theory, the collected data should be the most accurate source of knowledge since it was created because of love. But, in reality, does that happen?
For the last 10 years the Western World has witnessed a rising public demand for opinion leaders and brands to be socially responsible. As a result, we can see a particular change in the way celebrities and brands behave. Airlines build schools in Africa, Oil Companies plant forests and pop singers promote equality.
In fact, this trend has led to the development of websites that specialize in monitoring the charitable activities of celebrities where everyone can see a detailed report on how a particular celebrity is ‘performing’.
But what is going on with the Classical Musicians?
Most of them, who enjoy a worldwide popularity, such as Daniel Barenboim, Anna Netrebko and Lang Lang have proved to be ‘good citizens’ by various charities, emphasising on musical education both in the Western and the Developing World. This, of course is well-advertised on their Social Media profiles, which today might be seen as an evolved version of traditional PR.
Finally, one international trend that the Classical Music world follows without a delay of few years. It would be really interesting to know whether these initiatives are a result of personal, humanitarian motivation, or are just another ‘cool’ idea of an artist PR.
Following our Social Media Journey, it is time to mention the recent revolutions in mapping.
Although FourSquare is quite well-known, it is deffenetly not as popular as other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. But, after all, the purpose of FourSquare is completely different. You can use it as a personalized recommendation system for places to go, for getting discounts at your favourite cafes or even just to check out what other people think about a place you would like to go. Yes, like TripAdvisor, but more ‘local’ instead of ‘touristic’.
And how does Classical Music fit there?
It seems that Classical Music is still trying to put itself on the map. Just like in the case of Facebook being intensively used by classical musicians in the last two years, it takes some time for artists to learn social media.
However, when I typed ‘classical music’ in the Four Square’s search bar, I was expecting to find venues only. Well, that didn’t happen. The result, was in fact, very interesting. I saw more than 30 places in London where Classical music has presence – from venues and orchestra headquarters, to underground stations and cafes where classical music has been played. So, I will definitely check it out next time when I want to find a nice place to sit it.
Crowdfunding is a really interesting thing. In fact, it might be the next BIG thing, especially for the music industry.
At the same time Crowdfunding is a very simple idea – the ‘crowd’ raises funds for a particular idea, in our case, for an artist to publish a CD. A quick Google search proves that this is no longer an idea – It is quickly becoming a whole industry. For instance, here are the 7 best Crowdfunding websites for musicians.
Great, but can Classical Musicians use Growdfunding?
It seems so. There are already some examples of successful campaigns for Classical Musicians, for example, the Complete Symphonies of Hans Gal and Robert Schumann on Avie Records.
Observers point out that a crowdfunding campaign can be either be a success or a disaster. Successful musical campaigns have a lot of thought behind them, they include actual touring, providing content as free downloads and engagement on Social Media. Most of the artists offer various benefits, relevant to the received donation. For instance, if you donate 5$ your name will be included in an online list of contributors, while a 5000$ might name the album after you.
Crowdfunding is something that might give a great chance to young and less-popular artists that don’t have what it takes to work for a major record label. Speaking of young artists, I must share Something by Nils Frahm, who is deffenetly my new favourite contemporary composer. So, let’s start with the Hammers.
I love the idea of Crowdfunding because at the end you pay for what you want to have. It is up to you if the product will come to life or not. We don’t know if that is the next BIG thing, but for sure it is a great new opportunity for musicians. I can say, that I am looking forward to finding a Crowdfunding Classical Music project that I would support without hesitation.