Enlarge Mike Shinoda by Stefan Brending, via Wikipedia.

Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda Thinks Musicians Are Overly Pressured to Be Social Media Stars: “Every Artist I Talk to Right Now Has This Feeling”


As someone who lived in the time before the Internet and social media, I occasionally look back on my childhood as a gilded age. Looking things up, finding cool art, and communicating across great distances was a lot harder, but I also didn’t spend a ton of my youth scrolling through other people’s photos or being pressured to dance for followers (obviously, I also wouldn’t have this job at the time, and wouldn’t have heard of millions of underground bands I love, so hey, bad with the good). Now, Linkin Park‘s Mike Shinoda has said that he thinks the pressure on young artists to also produce “mind numbing ‘content’” has gone too far, leaving musicians who want to hone their craft scrambling to become the stars of your phone.

Mike tweeted the following yesterday:

“I’m tired of hearing musicians be told they’re not investing enough energy in social media content.

“Every artist I talk to right now has this feeling. They say they’re spending way too much time making little videos to support their careers, but wish they could spend more time making and playing music.

“How is a young artist expected to put in enough time to get great at their craft when they need to feed all these content channels?

“The time they spent generating mind numbing ‘content’ might have been at the expense of the best song they never wrote.”

I think there are two sides of this. On the one hand, Mike’s totally right — the urge for musicians to constantly perform, to be “influencers” and everyday icons as well as artists, is overwhelming. We can’t imagine how many artists would make better music if they unplugged from social media. From my own personal experience, deleting my personal social media accounts was incredibly freeing; suddenly, I didn’t feel the need to record every little detail of my life, and kept asking myself, Who is this for?

On the other hand, social media can also inspire people. It can connect artists and audiences who would never have found each other otherwise. Sometimes, even the toxic aspects of the Internet can drive artists to do great things; hell, Zeal and Ardor exist due to a racist online comment received by frontman Manuel Gagneux.

Anyway, Mike Shinoda definitely knows more about making it as an artist than I do, so listen to him, not me. Check out his tweets below:

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