In this digital age, people have unlimited access to information, music, film, and communication through the infinitely large web we call the internet. And going into 2019, the music industry has grown even more competitive; more and more music is being uploaded and streamed every day. With the rise in connectivity of the internet and new distribution options springing up for musicians, there has been a major shift—from making physical albums to releasing digital ones instead.
This is something many aspiring musicians take advantage of, as social media allows them to share their creations with the public instantly. Not only do listeners have more choices now than ever to stream on online services such as Spotify, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and YouTube, it also gives these musicians more control over what content they share, without having to be monitored by large record labels.
This also allows their listeners to share their immediate reactions with just a click of a button. Although this is a huge advantage for independent musicians, as this gives them an idea of what their listeners want to hear, it also has its disadvantages.
For one thing, there is no way for these musicians to filter any negative comments on their work, which happens more often than one would care to admit. A lot of the comments may be intended to be honest, constructive criticism, but somewhere along the way the lines have become blurred, leading from “harmless” comments to full-on bashing on one’s work and character.
But do these reactions directly affect these musicians' careers?
Take the recent issue that came up when Zel Bautista of December Avenue tweeted about gaining instant fame by copying other people’s work, for example. He explained that he was merely sharing his perspective as an artist. His comments, though harsh, can be seen as an example of constructive criticism.
The response to his tweets, however, started an online debate, with many speculating that he was referring to Agsunta—a popular Pinoy rock group known for doing covers of popular songs. This resulted in major backlash on the group, particularly on their online segment #AgsuntaSongRequest on YouTube.
Not long after, the group suddenly deleted all their online videos, save for the one where they announced that they were "signing off," leaving fans wondering what exactly is going on. Many believe that they were affected by all the “bashing" and negativity surrounding their covers. While others think that it might be in response to the tweets by Zel. But could their decision to lie low be a result of the negative attention drawn by these recent events?
And it’s not just local musicians experiencing this, even the biggest global celebrities are subject to negative comments online.
Most recently, international pop diva Celine Dion was criticized by online bashers for her new slim figure. Luckily, the Grammy-award winner paid no mind to them. “If I like it, I don’t want to talk about it. Don’t bother. Don’t take a picture. If you like it, I’ll be there. If you don’t, leave me alone," she said in an interview with The Sun. This coming from a seasoned musician who has dealt with criticism throughout her career.
Needless to say, online bashing has become an increasingly large issue in today’s society, as we have come to a time where anyone can post and tweet their criticisms for the world to see. Not to generalize the online population, but is this what we’ve become?
Where does one draw the line, even when they believe they have a valid opinion?
A Filipina born and raised in Saudi Arabia, Alyssa always has a story to tell. She is a writer by day, singer on occasion, ballerina by heart, and forever a musical theatre enthusiast. When she's not immersing herself in her Spotify playlists, you'll find her training to be a triathlete or being a full-time cool tita to her 9 nephews and nieces.