The most common workshops organized by the Musicians Union of Sweden, the Swedish Jazz Federation or any other of the music organizations there are in Sweden, are about social media. We are taught that we will become successful artists if we only know how to use Instagram and Facebook, we need to have channels on Youtube and Soundcloud, and the new thing showing up in the (compulsory…) “Musicians groups” on Facebook, is that you need 250 followers on Spotify to be able to manage your artist page. And if you only can do that, your career is set. So we follow each others pages, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t have time to listen to their music.
It feels like something isn’t right.
So what are we doing? Why are we practicing every day, pushing ourselves to perfections, buying harps for all our money, is it only to make a living? I don’t think so, because there are so many easier ways to do so. I think many of us have a deep wish to contribute, to make art, preferably for others to enjoy, but sometimes only art for the sake of art. To explore our own voices, to see what they can contribute to the collected works of art of humankind.
My mother holds a PhD in the social sciences, so we often discuss how the research world works. We all marvel at the science programs on TV where cutting edge science brings us new technology that we would never have dreamed of, but I think it is a great value in the science and research that doesn’t reach the Science front page. What learning aids are most efficient for autistic children? How do we best preserve the habitats of this or that frog? Important questions too, but maybe not extraordinary enough for social media.
So that is my conclusion, and my message to myself. There is no self value in being successful in social media. There is though, in trying to stay true to the arts. To try to explore the phrasings that are true to yourself, to write music, to select music to play, just because you love it so much. We make art, and that is so much more valuable than likes in social media.