Instagram Introduces @Music, Hopes To Break New Talent

Just when you thought the world of music discovery could not possibly be more crowded, Instagram has introduced @Music, a company operated account the photo-sharing social network will use to showcase musicians and music lovers in the Instagram community.

Here’s a little introduction to @Music, which was written by Instagram Founder and CEO Kevin Systrom on the company’s blog:

The music community is –– and always has been –– an important part of Instagram. For the past four years, we have become the home for artists big and small –– a place where people across the musical spectrum come to share stories, reveal their creativity and connect directly with fans.

Today we’re launching @music, a new account dedicated to exploring music around the globe, from those who create it to the community around it.
Each week, we’ll take a look at the musical experience on Instagram. That means showing you a different side of artists you know and love, like Questlove (@questlove), and introducing you to up-and-coming talents from around the world, like Tricot (@ikkyu193). It means highlighting music photographers, album illustrators, instrument makers and, of course, fans. In the Instagram tradition, we will also welcome community participation with a new, music-themed monthly hashtag project. 

Music is a huge part of all of our lives here at Instagram. It’s a passion of ours, and we know it’s a passion of yours. So follow along at @music –– we think you’ll discover something new. 

According to a press release distributed to the press this morning, Instagram now has over 300 million users. Of those, the company claims more than 25% of the most popular accounts are run by, or related to, musicians. That makes a lot of sense when you consider nearly every major celebrity uses the platform to share scenes from their life, and that at least some of those famous people have to be musicians. Taylor Swift, for instance, posts selfies and other updates multiple times every day. Beyonce, who actually has the most Instagram followers out of everyone with 31 million (plus), often shares intimate family scenes that would otherwise never see reach the public eye. It’s all promotion, but it’s also voyeuristic, and the combination of the two has created social media giant.

“Artists are using Instagram as a companion to the art that they’re making,” said Jonathan Hull, Instagram’s head of music partnerships, in an interview with BuzzFeed News. “Musicians lead really interesting lives, and Instagram has become a way for them to show their fans who they are and to give them a look inside of their world.”

Starting tomorrow, the @Music account will be updated twice daily, Tuesday through Sunday. Content will include short profiles of featured artists and a mix of editorial series, including one offering 15-second music lessons and another spotlighting independent artists in cities around the world. The company also hopes to break new talent through their efforts, though how they plan to support them beyond a single mention has yet to be revealed.

Right now, users spend around 21 minutes per day on Instagram on average, and the company believes that figure can be improved with high-quality editorial offered at dedicated channels. By adding editorial spin to their artist profiles, Instagram is hoping to become a music hub for people, which in turn will lead them to spend more time on the service. More time equates to more opportunities to deliver advertisements, and that creates additional revenue (regardless of whether or not any promising young talent is helped along the way).

I want to believe the team at Instagram has their hearts and minds in the right place, but until we see @Music in action we won’t allow our hopes to get too high. This project could easily be ruined by a rise in promoted posts and paid placements that push out the little artists, and given the way Instagram is looking to raise revenue that possibility does not seem out of the question. 

What do you think of Instagram @Music?

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.