Why Are Snapchat Stories Musicians' New Best Friends?
While everyone has been obsessively checking Instagram to keep up with the manicured version of their favorite celebrities lives, a blink-and-you-miss-it artistic renaissance has been happening on another social media platform. Snapchat has gone from an app best used to horrify your friends with photos of your triple-chin to an actual platform for celebrities to share their lives. Thanks to the introduction of Public Stories two years ago, the app has skyrocketed past its sexting origins and has become a juggernaut in the world of social media. Companies pay upwards of $800,000 to grab precious advertising space to reach the estimated 100 million daily users that have flocked to the app. But outside of the frenzied fight for the eyes of millennials, Snapchat has become a major key asset for artists and celebrities alike to find some space to breathe and tap into their realness.
Precautionary borders pacify words on Twitter and perfectly filter images on Instagram that are liked, retweeted, and commented on by hundreds of thousands of fans. On Snapchat, though, the only thing standing between celebrities and their audiences is a circle at the bottom of the screen set to record with the slightest touch. In such a prepackaged world, the freedom to share a slice of their lives for 24 hours before it self-destructs is as freeing as it is rewarding. Aside from the Kardashians’ fast rise to the top of the app, it’s also become a safe haven for musicians who want to share new music without the fear of leaks and piracy.
All they have to do is hold down the record button, share a ten-second snippet of their new single, and watch the views pile up. It’s these short peeks into the studio or music video sets that also serve as an important shield from data crunching. Rihanna’s Snapchat videos on the set of the “Work” music video may have been enormously popular and led to more album sales, but it could also be less popular than your friend’s video chugging a Bud Light in a frat house. Without clear numbers or story views, we can’t really know how popular someone is on Snapchat—and that’s kind of the magic of it.
Madonna may be decades older than the 20-somethings who use the platform, but when she debuted her full music video for “Living for Love” on Snapchat last year, people really began to understand the power of mixing music with the social media app. In the months that followed the debut, artists flocked to the app to give their audiences snippets of what they’re up to. Some have even adopted Madonna’s strategy, like musician Josh Legg, who released four music videos exclusively on Snapchat. Aside from full music videos, musicians have also taken to the platform to share sneak previews of the tracks they’re working on with fans who are eager to hear whatever they can from their favorite artists. In the past year alone, Ariana Grande, Juicy J (featuring Liam Payne), Future, Chance the Rapper, and Zayn Malik have all slid into our Snapchat Stories to provide some unfiltered looks—and listens—into their newest projects.
The freedom to share content in such a limited and fleeting way may sound counterintuitive to an artist’s success but these bursts make sense. It’s no different from the movie industry’s habit of releasing teasers of teasers for full movie previews. The breakneck pace of the Internet and millennials’ tendency to focus on 50 different things in a five-minute span has made ten-second peeps into an artist’s life and work the perfect antidote to over-saturation. Stripping away the time it takes to write a tweet or edit a photo for Instagram, Snapchat, in all of its instantaneous glory, is proving to be the best way to connect.
Stay tuned to Milk for more Snapchat selfies.