Its apparent that social networks will continue to become more niche as more and more people get to grips with social networking, but does that mean the job of the A&R worker is now redundant? I think not.
Having spoken with A&R representatives its evident that these online resources are increasingly becoming the norm when researching or being introduced to new music acts, but in terms of social networks becoming anything more than an introduction is yet to be explored.
Digital music is going through an evolution at present and to be honest, I dont think anyone truly knows where it will stop; however, its going to have to cope with the pull internet instead of the push internet weve now out grown.
Internet users are increasingly savvy and this is inevitably going to change the future of music consumption, but more importantly the discovery of new music. You only have to look at the profiles of the users that are engaging with these networks to see its the future. Reverb Nation now has some 250,000 users and new networks such as Ooizit.com are growing in their hundreds by the week so its obvious that were going to find more number ones within these social networks.
One thing that isnt clear is how the record labels will respond to such change. Its evident that theyre trying to understand it, simply take a look at their MySpace profiles. The shift will happen once the digital download, or digital consumption of music is fully articulated and the consumer, music artist and record label can all benefit.
One thing is for certain that music social networks are definitely here for the long haul and any major brand or record label wanting to gain affinity with new music should engage with these networks in a pro-active way.
Since the success story of Lilly Allen being launched by her coverage on MySpace, social networks have changed dramatically and are continuing to help music acts get themselves heard. Within 5 minutes bands can upload their music, write their bios, add their videos and create their blogs in a bid to be discovered, and with the millions of music acts out there they need to use everything available!
So, can new music artists really benefit from social networks, the answer has to be yes, but only with continued work and promotion on these networks by the music artists will new music acts get themselves in the charts.