Social networking and the internet have played a huge role in changing the way that the music industry functions today, there can be no doubt about that. With the internet, it is easier than ever for bands to expose new listeners to their music, for the band to connect and talk with their already established fanbase, and to get their music in the hands of fans through a bunch of different ways. Unfortunately, however, this has caused a lot of problems for bands as well, even without the issue of piracy. With streaming services recently rising to power, bands have been able to monetize their songs, but it’s still barely enough to make a living off of and it can sometimes further detract from potential album sales. Now, artists are running into problems with even the most basic of social networking sites, at least according to one metal band from Tampa…
Christopher Murray of the Florida band Illuminate Me has recently come forward to talk about his experiences with trying to connect with fans on Facebook. In protest of the way the band has been treated, he launched a petition for the social networking sites to stop charging artists for making posts on the site. Murray said that he’s already paid almost $3000 in order to get his page up to 25,000 likes, and an additional $150 per post anytime he wants to ensure that all of his fans see it.
On the site for Murray’s petition, he goes into detail about his experiences, saying:
“Facebook has raised its rates on bands and small business's promoting themselves through their website several times over the last few years, asking to pay even more money to simply reach the audience the band or small business has already acquired. It's getting to a point where it's blatant greed and is unjustifiable. Bands like us for example, (especially the unsigned ones) pay Facebook a hefty amount of money for an ad, just to get potential new fans to visit our page. On top of that now, we must pay a LARGE fee to talk to the fans already subscribed to our page. So we're paying double on a service that we heavily rely on. It's an exploitation of what bands need the most: communication with their fan base.
“On my bands Facebook page for example (nearly 25k likes www.facebook.com/illuminatemeband), I have paid up to 3k in Facebook advertising to get the amount of people connected to it that it has now. (On top of the heavy touring that we do) I need to pay Facebook now 150 dollars if I want one of my posts to reach all of the people that I already paid to get in the first place. I have talked to even bigger acts that rely on communication with their fan base to sell their product, and the price can get up to $2,000 or more.
“You need $2,000 dollars from a band that's barely making ends meet just so they can talk to a fan base they already paid and worked their ass off to get in the first place? Facebook does not seem to care about bands, or even small business's that also rely on communication with their audience for that matter.”
He concludes by saying:
“I urge every single musician or small business owner to share this petition around and sign it. If you have a photo of the ridiculous fee that Facebook is making you pay to ‘boost a post’ then please post it as well. I have used social media to promote my bands in the past before, I've never had to pay anything let alone this much money just to talk to the people that love our music. Enough is enough, let's fight back.”
It is a noble cause to be fighting for, as the internet is kind of a lawless place right now, and every outcome may determine how sites conduct themselves in the future, like a supreme court ruling. Conversely, if Facebook can get away with charging this much now, they may try to test the water and charge more in the future, or other sites may push for these kinds of charges. With sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud around, it’s important that bands who might not be able to afford their own website, or aren’t even signed in most cases, have a medium to expose people to their material without worrying about paying for it. These unsigned bands deserve at least some freedom to post, but it’s still just a matter of opinion.
Facebook is practically a monopoly, it can do what it wants despite what petition some unsigned band may have made. They can charge whatever they want for posting and it is their right to do as much, but hopefully, this petition will help make people more aware of this kind of monetization should any other sites try to adopt it as well.