Funny jokes and viral posts: The Internet provides free PR for artists

But what does this mean for quality in the music industry?

By Jordan Garcia
@JordieRob

Every time I scroll down my Twitter timeline there seems to be a new parody of a moment in music. Undoubtedly, the most popular moment as of late has been Drake’s music video to his song “Hotline Bling.” There have been countless Vines, GIFs, and memes created to exploit Drake’s questionable dance moves throughout the visual. These parodies have digitally edited the videos to place him into several situations ranging from anywhere between making a pizza to playing tennais. While these posts by people around the world are undeniable hilarious, I can’t help but to think about the impact this has on the music world.

Drake is a superstar. It is very rare to be able to ride in the car for more than 20 minutes and not hear his music at least once. While he isn’t exactly being praised for his dancing skills on the Internet, he is still finding a way to be the topic of conversation. I don’t believe in the catchphrase that any kind of publicitya is good publicity. But in the case of Drake, who has already proven his skillset and talent when it comes to making music, these parodies are only making him a bigger star in the music world. The Internet has managed to rocket him into a level of superstardom that is almost impossible to reach for other artists. As long as Drake manages to stay the topic of conversation it will be hard for other artists to receive the kind of attention that he does.

And then there is the other side of the spectrum. The Internet is a tool for new artists to spread their work to a broad audience at almost no cost. The same concept of parody that occurred in the Drake situation often times results in the explosion of new artists courtesy of our favorite social media outlets.

Enter Slim Jesus. This teenager from Hamilton, Ohio made a splash on the Internet when he released a music video to his song “Drill Music.” The title refers to the type of music made by people from Chicago that highlights gangbanging, violence, and threatening messages. Slim Jesus imitates their lyrics and actions by toting fake guns and jewelry with his friends in the visual that went viral on the Internet. In interviews with various music blogs after the video went viral, Slim Jesus admits his music is very different than his reality. He states that he just makes the music because that’s what he likes to do.

While most of the posts commenting on Slim Jesus’ video were poking fun of the situation, there were some artists defending him. Even some artists out of Chicago praised him for making the music that he does. The comments and parodies appear to be all fun and games. But who is the joke really on? I admit I find these parodies to be hilarious, but I can’t help to think about all the great music I am missing out on by spending my time watching videos of Drake dancing and Slim Jesus faking. New artists with actual talent and a real story to tell are being ignored while others go viral for their lack of authenticity. So I ask you again… Who is the joke really on?

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