Video sharing site, Vine, has only been available for two years. But already its 40m users have the power to impact on the music industry. The Twitter owned company, is predominantly for social networking through posting six second videos, which play on a continual loop. So how has this seemingly unconnected concept so quickly influenced long established mainstream music charts?
The site is doing this in a number of different ways. Firstly by providing promotion and continual sharing of the tunes of currently popular artists via hashtags. Taylor Swifts number one hit, Bad Blood today has 11,000 tags on the site, which considering its use was not intended for promotion of music. There is an impressive potential audience to tap into for new and existing music. And it is a figure that could affect the chart position of any big record. Vine users have the ability to generate interest and increase downloads for the likes of Taylor Swift, by using it as background music for their posts. But although Vine does contribute to the popularity of current artists, the number of downloads brought in through vine can admittedly be a drop in the ocean for them.
The sites biggest success can been seen through introducing the previously unheard of to the world. It is increasingly becoming an interview process for musicians. Like a less manufactured, more talented X-Factor with millions of judges, able to comment on your six second song snippets.
An example of one such artist that began on Vine is Shawn Mendes who posted videos of him singing cover songs in 2013. Originally from Canada he is now signed to Island Records, a subsidiary company of Universal Music Group. His recent album has earned him multiple awards, reaching number 1 in the Canadian charts and number twelve in the UK.
There are also examples of Vine influencing the chart position of particular lesser known songs. Don’t Drop That Thun Thun, was originally released by hip-hop group, The Finatticz, in 2012. It was only popular at the time locally in Los Angeles where the group is from. However in 2013 when it was added to the background of a post featuring a group of women dancing to the tune, it went viral. It ended up at the number 10 position in Billboards hip-hop charts. This again shows the huge power that the site has to grab music from the brink of distinction and make it big.
Inevitably this growing culture comes with pros and cons for the charts. It could be argued that it only provides positives for labels, as by simply downloading an app they have a sea of potential artists to sign. It may exclude many artists that don’t promote themselves in this way and a lot of great music could be lost. Another negative is the consequences for smaller gig venues. The process of being heard as a musician used to involve a lot of trawling around performing in various open mic slots and non paying gigs. If the middle man (the venue promoting new acts) is cut out, it could see the end of many venues and live music.
However Vine does provide a huge plus point for every music fan, in having access to an artists work before record companies get involved. Previously it was harder to follow someone’s music from the start and see how their music develops and grows with each release. Now with Vine you can hear the journey of music in a very pure form and style. So it can be enjoyed for the music itself and not be muddied by effects or how much they can afford to spend on promotion.
So for new artists, tunes and listeners alike Vine does now play an important role in bringing music into high ranking chart positions. Whether or not your music choices have yet to be directly affected by the site, it is being used as an important tool for nearly every chart tune you listen to. And with a consistently growing following it is already shaping the future of the music industry.