Many musicians are doing a lot of work to actively shape their online identity. These days, technical tools and access to the internet allow musicians to have, undoubtedly, benefits of presenting their art online, so I wonder if artists who rather let their music speak for itself, see their distance to the online world as a means of protection of their private life. This blogpost focuses on musicians who let their music rather speak for itself, than pursuing an extravagant online presence, and discusses the reason why they might not put themselves out there.
As music is part of many aspects of our lives, we are able to find it everywhere. Because websites like Sound Cloud, Spotify and YouTube exist, the public enjoys music for free. Therefore, it is easier for musicians to convey their art through technical means as there is no price to pay for accessing their art.
If you have internet accessibility, there is no need to buy a CD to be able to listen to your favorite song. With technical tools musician convey and publicize their music more effective, as it is shared by the internet community over and over again. Considering these beneficial aspects of musician’s presentation online, results are that musician’s online identity are being shaped by advanced technology. Music expresses thoughts and messages which the musicians relinquish to the public; it enables artists to be more creative but also cautious with their own online identity.
Lets take a look at one of my favorite artist’s online presentation. Ben Howard, an english singer and songwriter who is known in the genre of folk or indie folk, seems not to be very engaged with the online world, considering the information he reveals on his official webpage. Howard’s online identity is majorly shaped by websites which provide music, as those are means to present his talent to the audience. As I examined his official webpage, it seems as if there was no need for him to present his art itself.
The only things depicted on his website are his name, a picture of him, tour dates and recommendations where the listener is able to access and download his music. He does not introduce himself, nor shows videos of his performances which is an indicator of his long for privacy. He relies on other means as Sound Cloud and music related websites to take over this task. Technology allows him to let his music speak for itself and still keep his life private. The fact that he shares his thoughts by his music gives a fan enough room for interpretation and admiration of his music without further comments.
“The more attention I got, the less I wanted it.”- Ben Howard
An interview with Ben Howard in a London Newspaper reveals that he is one of the artists who do not want to get further attention. He does not want to be treated as a famous persons and this is exactly the same impression he conveys during performing live on stage. He has a talent which he wants to share, but he does not tell any stories about his personal life around it.
He seeks for privacy and this aspect is tied to his online identity. However, he is aware of the impact he has on people in public and that his overall presentation matters. Referring back to the article in the London Newspaper, I can tell that he definitely does not struggle with his presentation in public. He wears decent clothes, which are fairly expensive and knows that he has a certain effect on the crowd. However, his artistic expression of music allows him to keep a certain distance from the online world. His level of high profile is enough for him to continue his way to express his music.
Besides writing and recording songs he does not need to give further explanation what he infers from his songs as it leaves space for the listener to interpret the art on its own. Through visual aspects, like the example of his YouTube video for the song Old Pine, Howard’s online identity is being carved, as there is not much other information about him out there. Howard opens up to his audience by letting them know about thoughts crossing his mind. The listener decides quickly if he likes the music or not. Music is a means to create comfort or pleasure to a person’s life. Because music is not essential it pleases its audience and helps them to see positive aspects of life and foster inspiration. Howard enforces that the focus lies on his music and not on aspects of his appearance.
We don’t have to go to museums, concerts or restaurants anymore to enjoy the advantages and pleasures of music. We simply open up our laptop and with a couple clicks are able to listen to our favorite music. Artists like Ben Howard are presenting their own websites very vague because they let their music speak for itself and emphasize the importance of a public person to have its privacy. The increasing popularity through social media in the last couple years which created more engagement with fans, took the relationship from musicians and their fans to another level. It is more convenient as more interaction takes place, but it covers also more risk of disturbing a private lives. There is not always a need to publicly present yourself. Through the most simplest of ways, Ben Howard had just as equal of an impact on me with his music, as other songwriters who present themselves extravagantly and he is still able to keep his privacy.