Linkin Park have been around now for 20+ years, they've been through the CD era, the Napster Era, the black hole between P2P and then iTunes/digital purchases, the Myspace era, the advent of smart phones and now into the streaming and hyper-social media era. So when someone like Mike Shinoda, one of the vocalists for Linkin Park, an artist and a pretty great business person all round, has some words to say around how artists are being treated, probably best to have a listen.
The big dog himself took to his twitter to lament about how he's pretty over hearing about labels putting downward pressure on artists and even holding artists to RANSOM over not releasing their music if they don't have some sort of 'viral' moment on Tik Tok or other platform (but generally Tik Tok). Now, sure, we've seen what are genuinely some great moments and great songs come out of Tik Tok, but the manufacture of these things is EXACTLY the kind of thing that really triggered the late 80's, early 90's reactionary turn away from over-produced pop and even things like hair metal, to grunge and alternative music - and then major labels kinda ruined that too. Regardless, we are seeing some hectic examples out there right now, so let's take a look at who's saying what. Here's Mike Shinoda's Tweet.
Australian artist Peach PRC genuinely forced her label's hand when she put a teaser of 'God is a Freak' on her Tik Tok account. The Music covered that story, saying "Last week, she shared a snippet of a new demo via the platform with the tagline “an anti worship song for my religious trauma girlies” and then only days later revealed the song, now known as God Is A Freak, was available to be pre-saved. The pre-save announcement video was captioned with: “i leaked this song without telling my label [Republic Records/Island Records Australia] bc i thought they would say it was too controversial.” - Read Full Article
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Now, this week, artists like Halsey have been talking about the downward pressure to FORCE a viral tik tok moment and even set KPI's on how many likes/shares etc the content has before the label will even consider releasing the track. HALSEY. But then, even that can be turned around, because an artist like Halsey that already has an audience, a fanbase, has meant that the tik tok has gone viral... therefore doing the intended thing. So, which came first, the marketing plan or the genuine "fuck you" tik tok?
It has taken the heavy music world a little while to warm up to Tik Tok, but now plenty of artists in the heavy and rock world are utilising the platform to share content and use it as a way of getting content to people and making fans. There is a certain creativity to Tik Tok and there are genuinely clever and smart and intelligent creators - but back to Shinoda's point - is it at the expense of the best song songwriters never wrote? Or could they collaboratively write the biggest hit they ever had? Is this "old man yells at cloud" or is it "Artist fights for the rights of Artists"?