You might have heard that Instagram recently launched a dedicated music account. But what does this actually mean for you, other than a new account to follow?
According to Instagram’s founder and CEO Kevin Systrom, the account is going to feature music from around the world, both showcasing the talent they find and the community around the act.
“Each week, we’ll take a look at the musical experience on Instagram. That means showing you a different side of artists you know and love, like Questlove (@questlove), and introducing you to up-and-coming talents from around the world, like Tricot (@ikkyu193). It means highlighting music photographers, album illustrators, instrument makers and, of course, fans. In the Instagram tradition, we will also welcome community participation with a new, music-themed monthly hashtag project.” — Kevin Systrom
For starters, you’ll want to start following the Instagram @Music account. That no-brainer will mean you’re always in the loop. The account plans to post almost every day each week, showcasing content from a variety of bands, the visual artists who make the album art, and posts by audience members at events, or even creating fan art. You can stay up-to-date via your mobile device or by using one of the many Instagram web viewers.
No Brain (@officialnobrain) helped kick-start the South Korean punk movement in the late 90s, establishing a measure of fame with songs about women, booze and general rabble-rousing. Still, it hasn’t been easy. “The rock scene in Korea sucks,” the band’s drummer, Hyunsung “Dolly” Hwang, says. In the United States, Korean pop acts are finding increasing fame, but Korean rock bands are barely making a blip. For No Brain, who like to share their musical, often shirtless adventures with their fans, that may change soon, as the group is set to unleash its first English-language EP. Even when singing in their native language, the band’s infectious energy and self-deprecation have already won over American fans. “The Korean audience, they’re ready to party,” says Dolly. “They party like it’s the last day of the Earth … The American audiences like to buy us drinks after the show, where in Korea, they get drunk themselves.” –– Dan Reilly for Instagram @music Photo by @officialnobrain
Get Introductions to New Artists & Festivals
You’ll see straight away that they’re posting content from the accounts of musicians and fans, so you’ll get to see acts from the audience perspective as well as the hand-picked photos from bands. This means you’re not just getting introduced to new bands, but to the festivals and venues they’re performing in around the world.
Listen to New Tunes & Follow New Hashtags
There are also video posts on Instagram, so you get things like bands trying to write 15-second songs especially for Instagram, tagging with tags like #JustSongsForInstagram. The @Music account has picked up on this and brought both the tag and the artists that use it into the spotlight. Now we’ll see a lot more action on that hashtag too!
Writing a 15-second song seems simple enough: come up with a riff, play it for four bars, then finish. Still, it delivers its own unique challenge, one that Dawes (@dawestheband) lead singer Taylor Goldsmith was up for when he started sharing his own creations via the hashtag #songsjustforinstagram last year. “I liked the idea of doing these contained, melodic ideas that wouldn’t be found anywhere else,” he says. “Rather than just setting up a phone, playing piano or guitar and picking my favorite 15 seconds, I thought it was cooler to try to come up with an idea that started and ended in those 15 seconds.” This June, Dawes is going to spread the #songsjustforinstagram love to the world by releasing a special edition seven-inch vinyl of Taylor’s creations with the group’s new album “All Your Favorite Bands.” “We basically just put on as many as we could fit,” he says. Video by @dawestheband
Instagram plan to feature a new music hashtag every week, so it will in effect be helping to build community around those hashtags long after the feature post has been and gone. It’s thoughts like this that will inspire even more bands and music lovers to join Instagram and make it even better.
Monthly Hashtag Project: #MHPlive The goal this month is to make creative images of a live musical performance. This week, guest curator Sacha Lecca (@sachalecca) of “Rolling Stone” picked one of his favorite photos from your submissions: a crowd-surfing picture by Toni Francois (@tonifrancois), a music photographer based in Mexico City. “[The crowd surfer] is bathed in an ethereal light. The contrast to the dark room full of a sea of dark-haired youth with black leather jackets makes the effect more striking,” says Sacha of Toni’s image. “Keep in mind that regardless of where you are situated, there are strong images to make. It needn’t always be the act on stage.” As for Toni, she likes shooting punk and metal shows where she can create images that capture the energy of the scene. “I’ve always liked how even in the most chaotic mosh pit you can forget everything and everyone around you and have a great time. This guy and his friends seem to be having lots of fun, and for me it’s a cathartic moment.” PROJECT RULES: Please add the #MHPlive hashtag only to photos and videos taken this month and only submit your own. If you include music in your video submissions, please only use music to which you own the rights. Any tagged image or video taken this month is eligible to be featured. Finally, please respect an artist’s wishes if they ask not to be photographed or recorded. For more inspiration, check out blog.instagram.com. Photo by @tonifrancois
Get Connected to All the Most Active Music Fans
If you’re a really keen music fan, or if you’re a band on Instagram yourself, you’ll notice there’s another perk to reading these @Music posts carefully. Just looking through the comments briefly I found several more really interesting music-dedicated Instagram accounts to follow. This could be a great way to find like-minded users to follow.
Why Does @Music on Instagram Work?
In the end, the music scene on Instagram is so much more than big names and fancy filters. It’s not just that so many of the top Instagram accounts are musicians like Beyoncé. It’s that millions of indie bands have found Instagram is the perfect way to connect with fans, sharing pictures and video on a daily basis. (Even if they are juggling multiple Instagram accounts in order to do so).
In 2013, Dutch DJ Martijn Garritsen aka Martin Garrix (@martingarrix) was just another face in the crowd. He had arrived in Miami to enjoy a weekend of tunes with his friends at the annual electronic music festival Ultra. But soon after, his breakout hit “Animals” lit up the electronic dance world, charting in more than a dozen countries. The then-17-year-old Martin suddenly became a hot commodity at concerts all over the globe. (For proof just check out his photos, where he’s often seen standing in front of massive stage designs composed of colorful lasers and strobing lights.) Twelve months after attending Ultra as a fan, Martin found himself back in Miami, this time on the main stage, performing for the crowd he was once standing in. “There were so many people from different countries around the world,” he says. “There was one moment where everybody put their flags up in the air. There were [people] from India, people from Australia, people from the U.S. It was insane.” Photo by @martingarrix
There is so much music out there to be discovered, and if you discover it on Instagram you can instantly connect with the artists and become a true fan for life. This is great for all music lovers and for the creators of that music especially. Imagine getting your big break by getting noticed on Instagram!
What do you think of the music scene on Instagram? Is the @Music account helping you to explore it further? What else would you like to see?