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WTF, Internet? Stop dangling carrots in front of a social-media treadmill

WTF, Internet? Stop dangling carrots in front of a social-media treadmill
Image used with permission by copyright holder

I’ve never been a big fan of the “tweet for a chance to win free tickets to a concert,” or “Like us on Facebook and be entered in a drawing” contest bullshit. What’s worse is when you’re subtly pressured by your friends to follow their employer’s Twitter handle because they need to get to 1,000 followers, or Like a new page advertising whatever it is they’re selling.

I mean, I’ll do it, unless I secretly hate you. In that case it’s just a great segue into our never speaking again.

But point is, I really do not enjoy being badgered into participating in social media. I will Like or heart or retweet something when I damn well please, you got that?

It’s usually big brands or the more attention-hungry of our friends (I love most of you regardless, don’t get all indignant on me) who are guilty of this – but apppaaarently, it’s something artists are doing now. For instance, Pink Floyd announced that if fans streamed “Wish You Were Here” one million times on Spotify, the entire catalog would be released.

I don’t know if I’m more offended by the stunt or the fact that the Spotify URI for the song replaces “You” with “U.”

Also, what if we hadn’t hit one million streams? Would Pink Floyd have been like, “Welp, sorry Spotify and listeners everywhere, but 999,999 streams were not the terms we agreed to,” and peaced the hell out? Probably not (duh), but then they would have looked like assholes.

Bigger assholes. Yeah, I know, I just called Pink Floyd assholes, so I fully anticipate being a torn a new one. I regret nothing.

And there’s Example B – and this one I find more personal, so be gentle with your ire, Internet. The upcoming Jay-Z album, Magna Carta Holy Grail will be available early to a handful of Galaxy smartphone owners via a specialized app.

I’m sorry – what’s that now? Why you gotta do me like that, Hova … especially when it would appear you enjoy iOSing it up on the regular?

It’s bad enough that I have to watch developer turf wars tear apart the cross-posting and information-sharing my apps are able to do – but that’s now going to apply to music too. I get it, everybody’s got an ally. Content creators are increasingly beholden to the technologies that allow people to access their content. But now they are straight up baiting fans. 

What sucks is that I’m already paying to listen to your music – yeah, that’s right, I pay for music. Premium Spotify usage and on-the-go mobile listening aren’t free, young man. Music doesn’t … grow on … trees. But now my money isn’t good enough; you also want to start requiring my engagement with certain platforms or brands. Seriously, the hoops. There are too many hoops. When did the fact that I just really, really like an artist stop being enough for me to listen to their music along with every other fan?

It’s official: Nothing is sacred anymore. Musicians aren’t really musicians, they’re brands that are no better than those damned businesses begging for Likes on Facebook. Unfortunately at the complete other end of the spectrum are bands that vilify streaming altogether, making it impossible for me to listen to their music (I’m not going to subscribe to every damn streaming service, and I really want as little to do with iTunes as possible). Is there no happy medium!?

The message it sends is desperation. “These fans are better because they are sooooo desperate for our music they streamed the same song over and over” or “They bought an entirely new phone!”

No, I just refuse. I will not be strong-armed into using or streaming or tweeting or Liking or Instagramming in order to be a fan. That’s just some damn manipulation is what it is: Do you want to be an average fan who … ho-hum … just sorta maybe cares? OR DO YOU WANT TO BE A MEGA-FAN WHO FOLLOWS OUR SPECIFIC REQUESTS?! THOSE ARE THE REAL FANS!

Guys, what if eventually in order to listen to an artist’s music you’re required to buy their horrible celebrity vodka? Or like, season tickets to the Nets? “The first 500 people to get drunk on Conjure Cognac – brought to you by Ludacris – Instagram a picture of this, whilst streaming his new single GET THE ALBUM TWO HOURS EARLY!” 

Nope, I’m out, no thanks. I’m content to let the more easily swindled fans do your social media bidding, or whatever gimmicky ploy it is you’ve got going. I can’t be a part of it.

Molly McHugh
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Before coming to Digital Trends, Molly worked as a freelance writer, occasional photographer, and general technical lackey…
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