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Jamie Le, Spring 2013 Students

Social media spreads amateur music producers’ sounds

By Jamie Le

Social media is bringing music to new audiences – shifting its concept, production and circulation. Rookie music producers are gaining status on websites such as:

Aaron "AbJo" Nash's SoundCloud

Aaron “AbJo” Nash’s SoundCloud

  • SoundCloud, a music creation and distribution platform.
  • Bandcamp, a site that hosts, streams and sells music for independent artists.
  • Twitter, a microblogging service.
  • Facebook, the world’s largest social network.
  • YouTube, a video-sharing website with one billion unique monthly users.

Aaron “AbJo” Nash, a San Diego-based music producer, said it would be tough to make it as a musician without social media. Nash, who has more than 6,000 followers on SoundCloud, grew popular after he was featured on an influential music blog during the MySpace era.

“It was like they were holding up a newspaper with my face on it and pointed at it and said, ‘This guy is cool,’” he said.

VIDEO: San Diego music producer Aaron “Abjo” Nash talks about how social media has helped his music career.

Nash recently performed at annual music festival Coachella on one of the main stages that featured artists such as Sigur Rós and Portugal. The Man. He said he uses social media for production as well as exposure.

“If I can’t find a record – which would be most of the time – I just rip it off YouTube,” he said.

But ripping songs, although easy and effective, is illegal and has made it difficult for some producers to make money off their music.

Social media for sampling

Charlie Yin released his well-received album, “Needs,” mid-February via free download link on his Facebook page, as well as donations through Bandcamp. Although fans praised him for this deed, Yin admitted he had to release the album for free to lessen his likelihood of being sued. Yin recently signed with Alpha Pup Records and said he will work with his label to obtain legal samples for his next project.

Yin, who performs under the moniker Giraffage, posted his tracks to online forum SomethingAwful.com when he first began producing music. A blogger heard some of his stuff, put it on her YouTube channel and the blogosphere erupted with Giraffage fans. His Facebook page now has over 20,000 fans – a number that is still consistently growing. Despite his fandom, Yin is modest about his success.

“As long as the music is good, I think the fan base will organically grow,” Yin said. “I’m not doing anything in particular to increase numbers.”

Yin is currently on a European tour with 17-year-old music producer and kid prodigy Marcel Everett, who is known to fans as XXYYXX.

Music producer Marcel Everett, also known as XXYYXX, performing at Echoplex, a music venue in Los Angeles in February 2013. Photo by Jamie Le.

Music producer Marcel Everett, also known as XXYYXX, performing at Echoplex, a music venue in Los Angeles in February 2013. Photo by Jamie Le.

Everett attributes some of his popularity to Tumblr, a blogging platform, and admits social media has had a lot to do with his success.

“Without the help of the Internet, I would probably be nowhere,” said Everett, who has nearly 150,000 fans on Facebook — and is still growing.

The future of music and social media

Social media is changing so rapidly that what helped Nash, Yin and Everett gain popularity will soon be outdated.

Twitter recently released Twitter #music, a standalone music app, based on technology from music discovery service We Are Hunted, which Twitter acquired last year.

Spotify’s most recent update, officially known as Spotify Social, turns the music streaming service into a social networking site. The changes are geared towards engaging with other users as well as the artists users listen to.

This universal effort to stay connected has changed the music industry and made it a great deal more collaborative.

Local collaborative efforts

Through social media, Andre Power, co-founder of the music label and radio show Soulection, and his collaborators recruit artists, host events and expand their brand.

Power recently teamed up with local DJs Sasha Marie and YNGN to create CLIQCLIK – a collection of artists who host the monthly event Werk-N-Twerk. Power is also the curator of Art in the Park, a regular event in North Park, San Diego that features up-and-coming local DJs, guest musicians, local art and live painters.

SLIDESHOW: Andre Power discusses how he uses social media in his efforts to promote musicians and artists.

Artists under the Soulection label are working with multi-platinum selling recording artist Ginuwine on his next album. According to Power, this development spurred through a Twitter interaction.

Power said the recording artist’s nephew reached out to Soulection on Twitter and asked for some beats to share with Ginuwine.

“He heard them, he loved them and he set it up from there,” Power said.

Recording artist Ginuwine's tweet to Soulection on Feb. 21, 2013

Recording artist Ginuwine’s tweet to Soulection on Feb. 21, 2013

“We wouldn’t be where we are without it,” Power said. “Social media plays a huge role in our existence and our success.”

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