burnout pic

Worries about content burnout for musicians have been very much on our radar recently. They were there at the NY:LON Connect conference in January in this panel on the future of streaming for example.

They have also come through loud and clear several times recently at private events where we’ve been giving managers and artists our industry trends webinar, and gotten their feedback on how they’re struggling to balance work, life and creativity. Now the Guardian has a good piece with more artists talking about their fears.

“Myspace or Facebook posts used to be an add-on but now it feels like making music is about making assets for social media,” said Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara, adding that “we’re always looking for new revenue streams and opportunities because we’re not touring and I hate to admit it, but our social media reach dictates everything for a band like us”.

Marketing agency Motive Unknown boss Darren Hemmings also weighed in.

“There was a weird logic that became perpetuated as fact: you’re not on tour so you’ve got plenty of time to be all over everything,” he said. “There are examples where that was a terrific move for some people but telling artists who have been around a long time that they need to be doing more when, in reality, they’ve got less to say because they’re not doing anything, leads to this ‘always on’ mentality that I think is pretty unhealthy.”

This mirrors some of the concerns expressed at NY:LON Connect by Matthew Maysonet from Empire.

“We’re asking artists to do a lot. They’re not just recording and touring. Now they’re expected to understand crypto and NFTs, and expected to be using TikTok on a regular basis, and be on their Twitter feed, and on Instagram, and creating content and engaging with fans,” he said then. “We do risk burnout for some artists who are using all these socials, including having to worry about the algorithms on different DSPs.”

The ability to talk directly to fans on social networks, and the ability to reach new fans through those recommendation algorithms on streaming services, have well-documented benefits for artists in the modern music industry. But it’s important to also document the downsides to that: the potential for the digital content hamster-wheel to impact not just on the quality of the music those artists are making, but on their mental health too.

In some ways, YouTubers were the canaries in the coalmine for this: we saw a number of them hit a wall in past years, struggling with a mixture of audience expectations and fears that taking a break would result in the algorithms recommending elsewhere. Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from that as we address the issue of content burnout for musicians.

Music Ally’s next Learn Live webinar will help you understand what’s required for artists to thrive in new international markets!

Music Ally's Head of Insight

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *