Written by: Preksha Banerjee
Music to many is like a sphere – their world revolves around its melody and beauty. Others delve into music to seek solace; in search of a temporary escape from life. Music is also a remedy, reviving those who are physically drained or emotionally bruised. For a rare few, music is so natural that its effects have become invisible. As for millennials, music is a way of life.
With the emergence of social media, artistes can now expand their reach further than anyone can imagine. Nowadays, music is no longer about making a record and promoting it through traditional media. It is beyond just making music – it’s about broadcasting the entire record making affair, releasing teasers and showcasing bits of your life in the process.
In fact, new musicians such as Shawn Mendes and Khalid have been discovered through social media. The transparency artistes have towards their fans is immense, and this provides us with a sense of “belonging” in the world of the celebrities.
Looks are also a quintessential part of music, highly shaped by beauty trends and ideals. Celebrities’ exercise regimes or beauty routines are now publicised and over-glamourised all over the web, causing impressionable fans to want to follow suit. The more recent ‘get ready with me’ videos illustrate exactly that, with famous vloggers painting unrealistic lifestyles.
This phenomenon gives artistes potent influencing power. One Snapchat of someone singing their new song could get 100,000 views in a minute! For instance, Selena Gomez’s birthday post on Instagram earned 1 million likes in under 13 minutes and came to be the most liked post on Instagram.
However, with power comes responsibility, and one wonders whether the content artistes put out actually create a wholesome, positive impact on society. Having a ‘perfect body’ or illustrating a utopian image of life to a troubled teenager can result in unfortunate consequences.
Impressionable teenagers are developing psychological issues from their media consumption but little has been done to alleviate the issue. Studies have shown that about 20 percent of teens experience depression, with only 30 percent of them receiving treatment. In addition, about 80 percent of young adolescent girls experience body dysmorphia. While people see artistes as role models, are they really that notable?
Of course, there is the concept of ‘fad’. A song or video is popularised, receiving lots of clout and creating an online ‘challenge’, and then all of a sudden, everyone is doing it irrespective of whether they actually enjoy! Take the infamous KiKi challenge for one, which involves people walking out of a moving car and dancing to In My Feelings by Drake. People then post the video on social media and voila, they’re now part of the elite bracket of people who had completed the challenge! Soon enough, the KiKi challenge has become a global phenomenon, so much so that even authorities got involved as it was going against the rules of road safety.
Ultimately, it boils down to inclusion. People follow these challenges because they desire a sense of belonging amongst people they admire. It is, therefore, imperative that artistes mold themselves into positive role models and we, as followers, need to know where to draw the line.