Growing up, I adored celebrities. I grew up watching Disney Channel (when they used to show music videos during commercial breaks), Nickelodeon, and MTV. I could tell you which tabloid was focusing on Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber’s on-and-off again relationship. I knew which Disney channel teenage star became rebellious, and my favorite celeb drama was about One Direction and other celebrity tea. I remember watching every music award show and watching my favorite celebrities perform and win their deserved awards on some network-hosted program.
Once I got older, and those celebrities I had once adored and memorized every fact about had grown up, I noticed a shift in the entertainment industry and the way I consumed entertainment. Music award show performances became a bore, and I would no longer express interest in watching celebrity interviews online or on television. I couldn’t remember the last time I purchased a CD when my favorite artist dropped a new album.
For years I believed that I didn’t adore celebrities as I once did as a child because I had new hobbies and was growing up. It wasn’t my preoccupation with hobbies; it was how I was choosing to consume entertainment that had changed. I noticed this shift once I spent more time on social media. Once I got older, the term “celebrity” changed and what it took to become a celebrity was no longer the same. Pop stars were no longer discovered randomly on the street, on popular kid television channels, or on singing competition shows. Musicians no longer gave stellar performances that would have you talking about how good they were days later. Award shows were not filled with A-list celebrities, but instead with influencers from social media apps. Artists no longer have a unique talent that was hard to find along with a top-tier stage presence.
In these frustrating times, I asked what happened to the late 90s and early 2000s artists who put on a show during every performance. It was then that I realized, without a doubt, that the entertainment industry, as we knew and once loved, was gone.
With apps such as TikTok gaining more users daily, it has made it extremely easy for anyone to become famous. All you have to do is post one video, and your video can become viral. One viral video can let you achieve “celebrity” status without displaying any form of natural talent, passion, or drive. Many TikTok stars have left their “influencer” past and have tried to prove themselves in the music industry. While many may agree to disagree on the talents of the stars such as Addison Rae, Dixie and Charli D’Amelio, and more, it is without a doubt that the work it once took to become a famous artist is no longer required.
Because of social media, we now have access to any artist. We can look up their social media profiles, keep track of their new posts, and research any facts about them. To have the opportunity to communicate with artists before social media, you would have to see them in person. Nowadays, you can comment on their posts and have an argument or conversation with them.
Social media has changed the way we consume music as well. Music is now accessible through streaming apps such as Pandora, Apple Music, Spotify, and more. Before apps, you would have to physically go out and buy a copy of their music, listen to the radio, or watch their music videos on TV to access the newest albums or singles. Since we can stream music so quickly, it is easier to forget about artists’ music and jump to the next.
Instead of promoting their music on talk shows, interviews, or by posters on the streets, artists quickly record a video of themselves lip-syncing their song and post it onto apps everywhere, gaining a fanbase. Consumers have lost the connection they once had with music and artists. It seems “too easy” for someone to become famous, and there appears to be no hard work to convince someone to purchase or be a fan of your music. Artists no longer have to work as hard to be recognized; all it takes now is clicks on social media.
The difference between modern artists and household names such as Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, and Britney Spears is that contemporary artists today have temporary fame instead of generational impact. Every day it seems like there is a new “big” artist whose fame slowly fades away within a year.
Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to stop or even change how artists become famous, and all we can do is consume the music of our favorite artists and adapt to this new change. Society has changed, and social media is now the driving factor for how we choose to be entertained, discover contemporary artists, and interact with each other.