Artists are only getting younger; but why?


Credit: The Verge

Public domain photo courtesy of The Verge

Edward Lillie, Broadcast News Editor

In an era of SoundCloud, YouTube, and social media in general, the age of content producers is only getting younger. Resources and materials for creations is easier to find and use than any other time in history. Nobody’s a no one. It’s just what someone decides to do with the assets provided to them. Artists for many generations have started building their craft young, going back to someone such as Nas who worked on most of the lyrics used on “Illmatic” when he was only 17 and 18. But even then, it wasn’t as common to have a famous 17 year old rapper as it is now. The real question is, why are artists getting younger?

Some would say that one of the biggest names of the modern day rap is J. Cole, who started his journey into the music industry at only 14, in 1999. It has just gotten easier since then. Previously, artists would have to purchase their own studio time and use everyone else’s equipment. Now, everyone has a recording program and microphone available to them with their phones and laptops. You no longer need a producer to make quality music. And the need for a record label to make you big isn’t as prominent anymore because of platforms like YouTube and SoundCloud.

“You always want to be that wide-eyed kid you once were, excited and touched by that poignant lyric over that syrupy guitar strum.””

— Paul Cantor, from CuePoint

It is possibly because we are born in a generation that pushes the media and entertainment more than ever before. We live surrounded by mediums that reward us with gratitude when we get a certain amount of likes and/or comments. When encouraged by these positive reinforcements, people might consider an actual job in entertainment. People from literally anywhere can be famous, due to the viral effect that likes, sharing, and comments have. For example, Justin Bieber picked up a guitar, made a quick little family video for YouTube, and then all of sudden Usher noticed him and gave him a record deal.

Social media also gives us a better look into the personal lives of the artists as well as their drama. It seems that the buzz that the artist’s drama gets, seems to translate over to the amount of people listen to their music. With artists such as XXXTentacion and Kanye West getting attention for their scandalous and controversial comments and/or actions, it boosts the interest in music. As the quote from Carl Lewis goes “Any press is good press, so keep ragging on me”. Whether the people hate you or love you, you are still getting the streams because you caught people’s interest. This almost eliminates the need for a PR team.

In the end, the reason why artists are able to be so young is because of the accessibility of materials and tech to make quality music. Now whether that music is good, that is up to the people. It is easier than ever to share your projects with the public due to things like social media and YouTube. The constructive criticisms can make or break a career. If you really believe you can make it, you should start young and keep trying to get better. That’s how you become someone because as it was said in the beginning; “Nobody’s a No One”.