Clout is a word that pops up frequently nowadays. When utilised properly it can actually be a great marketing tool in today’s internet-saturated culture, where popularity is more important than talent.
While clout has always existed it has done so without the extremities of social media.
Social media presence is undoubtedly the defining characteristic of success in today's society. The internet has always been a powerful tool, but it seems artists have been able to leverage it more than ever.
COVID-19 has definitely spurred a new wave of “clout-chasing” in the music scene, because like any other business, the virus has really stopped people’s bag including celebrities. It’s no surprise the music industry has become even more of an entertainment business, heavily relying on virality, drama and shock-value rather than talent. Nowadays it’s pretty easy to go viral but attaining long term success is a whole different story. To stay relevant in a sea of thousands of artists, many with similar sounds, is difficult.
Many artists rely on platforms such as Tik Tok for success, and they get it, but it doesn’t mean everything that gets put out is actually a song that will end up as a classic. In no way am I saying these songs are bad, but they all seem to follow a similar template that ensures viral success, e.g. catchy lyrics that you can make a popular dance to.
There’s no secret formula. And while I do enjoy some viral songs, I couldn’t tell you much about the artist and any of their other work. The artist and the music become separate entities.
So, in order for success the artist must:
A. Be consistent with their music
B. Clout Chase.
Clout-chasing happens in all parts of the entertainment industry. We see how people like Tory Lanez and Kelsey Nicole utilised the clout of a bad situation to get in the booth and make music. However, clout-chasing does not always guarantee fortune. You might find an artist with 10k followers, barely hitting 1k likes each post and another artist with 1m followers, hitting over 100k likes, people would assume the artist with the bigger following is more successful but in reality, they’re not.
Followers do not always translate to sales just as entertainment does not equal talent. Attaining followers through clout-chasing rather than your music is a sure way to ensure short-term success and a hollow fan base. Not only that, but it can distort an artist’s image and also in my opinion undermine their character.