Musicians are starting to experience the fatigue of never-ending social media content expectations, according to Ghastly.
In a candid statement, the esteemed DJ and electronic music producer recently shared his thoughts on the toxicity that social media has created for musicians. He opened up about the overwhelming nature of content culture, which is causing artists to put their art on the back-burner in order to focus on “memeing” their lives and engaging their fanbases through parasocial relationships.
Ghastly cited recent feedback he received while working on a song with someone who requested the music to be “more tik-toky.”
“I want to be able to share my life at a level that makes sense to me as an artist and as a human,” Ghastly wrote. “I love to make sketches, tell stories, create ridiculous edits/memes and even the occasional YouTube video but the anxiety of having daunting todo lists, hundreds of unread emails, deadlines, due dates, logistical issues, video/photo shoots, daily meetings, and an ever increasingly cutthroat flash in the pan media marketing bonanza can absolutely drain an artist to their lowest levels.”
Many of Ghastly’s electronic music contemporaries chimed in and agreed, such as Eptic and WHALES.
“Feel you man, wrote something similar a month ago but I think you expressed it way better than I did,” WHALES wrote in a response to Ghastly. “You’ve always been great, and what I learned from changing my life over since I wrote that tweet is that nothing matters more than our health & happiness!”
EPTIC chimed in and said he’s been an “anxious lil freak” because of the pressure to create social media content, which he believes “sucks all the fun out of being an artist.”
Dance music veteran Gareth Emery also recently shared his distaste of social media, stating that TikTok has “hyper addictive” qualities. He added that the platform creates an atmosphere where music is “viral today, forgotten tomorrow.”
Digital burnout extends far beyond the confines of electronic dance music. Chart-topping pop star Charli XCX said social media has taken a toll on her mental health.
“I have been feeling like I can’t do anything right at the moment,” she said. “I’ve noticed lately that a few people seem quite angry at me – for the choices of songs I’ve chosen to release, for the way I’ve decided to roll out my campaign, for things I need to do to fund what will be the greatest tour I’ve ever done. I’ve been grappling my mental health the past few months and obviously it makes negativity and criticism harder to handle.”
Billie Eilish temporarily left Twitter due to legions of negative comments. Indie star Mitski removed her social media accounts after her 2019 tour. Even global superstar Adele isn’t out of the woods.
In an interview with Apple Music 1’s Zane Lowe, the “Easy On Me” songstress talked about a meeting where a representative at her label suggested she got on TikTok so 14-year-olds knew who she was.
The problem is unique for musicians because other creatives—like actors—do not have to self-promote, and writers don’t have to maintain parasocial relationships to expand their careers.
“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,” Darren Hemmings, a marketing manager for Run the Jewels, Wolf Alice and Jungle, told The Guardian. “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.”