In the digital marketplace of social media, artists must maintain an online persona that is consistent with their manufactured star image (Ferri, 2010). Social media platforms, such as Facebook and MySpace, offer users a one-stop shop for everything about an artist. “Essentially, it’s an electronic press kit,” said Derek Bachman, program manager at SaskMusic (Foley, 2010). From an artist’s Facebook page, fans are able to find information including the artist’s biography, band members, tour dates, and discography. Often artists also make available various types of media including studio or concert photos as well as links to artist and record label websites, merchandise websites, supported charities or organizations websites, and the artist’s other social media pages.
Once a fan chooses to “like” the artist on Facebook, they receive updates from the artist about new music, appearances, tour information, photos, video, and anything else the artist chooses to tell their fans. Facebook and MySpace pages also give the fan various ways to access and purchase their music. Facebook is now working with iTunes allowing fans to click on a link posted on the artist’s page, which then directs them to the iTunes store where they can preview and purchase that artist’s music. Recently, Facebook has reached a similar partnership with Spotify, which allows Spotify users to share playlists and songs they are listening to on Facebook (Nakashima, 2011).
As one of the first social networks to allow musicians to post songs on their profiles, MySpace has played a significant role in promotion of artist’s music. For example, alternative rock group Arctic Monkeys set up a MySpace page so that fans could easily access their music. Their presence on MySpace is said to have supported the sales of their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, which became the fastest-selling album in British music history (Young & Collins, 2010).