Instagram’s new Twitter-like Threads app raced to 100 million users in a matter of days after its launch last month, but the company has more work to do if it wants to make Threads an important platform for musicians.
Why do we say that? We’ve been looking at what some of the most popular artists have been doing on Threads. Or, as it turns out, what they’re not doing.
One selling point of Threads is that users (celebs included) can port across their Instagram handle and audiences. But when we analysed the 20 most popular musicians on Instagram, from Selena Gomez to Snoop Dogg, we found that most aren’t yet using Threads.
In fact, 14 of the 20 have yet to set up their Threads profiles: Ariana Grande, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Zendaya, Cardi B, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Drake, Billie Eilish, Lisa (from Blackpink), Dua Lipa and Snoop Dogg. It’s quite the roll call of no-shows.
Two more, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry, have profiles set up but haven’t posted any threads yet. And of the four who are active on Threads… well, they’re not very active: Jennifer Lopez, Demi Lovato and Shakira each last posted about a week ago, while Selena Gomez has been quiet for a fortnight.
Meanwhile, other popular artists who were among those hailed as early adopters of Threads have dropped off too: it’s three weeks since Olivia Rodrigo’s last post; a week since Ice Spice or Post Malone have posted; and nothing since the app’s launch for the likes of Big Sean, Sam Smith and Kim Petras.
Some artists are using Threads more actively: J Balvin, Anitta and Diplo are among the early adopters still posting regularly. And of course there is more to the music world than just the big stars: there are plenty of independent artists exploring what Instagram’s new app is capable of.
Threads hasn’t yet unravelled as a useful platform for musicians, then, but neither has it established itself as a must-do amongst the established social apps. The latter may be one factor: after much talk about artists and their teams burning out trying to serve the full gamut of social media, the bar may be higher for many to add yet another platform.
Will more features help Threads to clear that bar? A web version is coming in the next few weeks, which may aid those overworked artist teams. An API so that they can post to it from their wider social-media management tools would be even better, as well as useful analytics and creator tools of the kind we’ve seen on the established platforms.
If Threads grows its audience steadily beyond the launch boom and post-launch drop-off, it will also entice more of the stayaway artists. But as the list of past Meta/Facebook flops we published in our initial coverage of Threads’ launch – to recap: Poke, Slingshot, Lasso, Riff, Rooms, Paper, Super, Move, Neighborhoods and Sparked – showed the company doesn’t always succeed with its social spin-offs.
Threads launched just a month ago, so it’s supremely early days. The music industry will be watching closely to see how it develops, not to mention how it entices more of the artists who’ve been so important for Instagram’s growth and culture to jump across.