Social media is an everyday part of our lives, but for our favourite pop stars, it’s an invaluable tool. It’s a facet of their brand, it allows them to show off exactly what they’re good at, and it gives fans all over the world a glimpse into their lives.
And just like the rest of us, every pop star’s social media – especially their Instagram account – is different. Maybe they’re a Beyoncé or Harry Styles-type, who avoid getting too personal and let their management steer the ship.
Perhaps they share intimate, behind-the-scenes parts of their lives every now and again as Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish do so well. Or maybe, like some, it’s simply a tool to promote your newest shade of lipstick (we’re still impatiently waiting for R9, Rihanna).
Whichever way they use it, in recent years an especially jarring trend has emerged in the pop star social media world, and it always occurs just before they’re about to announce new music: they go ahead and delete everything from their Instagram.
Dua Lipa is the most recent offender, deleting years’ worth of posts as – at the time of writing – she’s expected to announce new music any day now. Call it what you like: a cleanse, a restart, a new chapter, but to be honest, personally, I just find it annoying.
Yes, it might sound petty. It’s totally within everyone’s right to use their own social media however they please. But let me give some reasons why I believe this so-called marketing tactic has gone stale.
Think of a musician, and they’ve probably done it – including but not limited to:
Really, wiping your social media has become an expected move – there’s no excitement to it anymore. It would be more exciting if you just did a post saying, “new music is coming soon”, to be honest.
I want to remember the special moments from your career
Like any fan, I like to reminisce on the career highlights of my favourite musicians – the announcements, the releases, the live shows and the fan hysteria. And when they delete all of their posts, it makes it all that more difficult. Yes, I could look at the likes of Wikipedia and YouTube, but it’s never as good as getting it directly from the horse’s mouth, you know? Plus, with more and more artists directly referencing their own eras in their craft (thanks recently to Taylor Swift), why delete all evidence of them ever happening from your social media? It’s not adding up.
It feeds into the growing disposability of music
The rise in streaming services and the impact of TikTok on music today have been criticised far and wide for making music increasingly disposable. Labels are pressuring their artists to prioritise TikTok virality (which is notoriously fast-paced), and with access to millions upon millions of songs at our fingertips, research shows that we’re skipping music more and more.
Artists are now creating shorter songs – more frequently – to increase their stream-ability (which isn’t surprising considering the lacklustre royalties they receive by putting their music on streaming services). “You can’t record music every three or four years and think that’s going to be enough,” Spotify’s CEO Daniel EK. Widely said back in 2020.
So you might be thinking, how on earth does this relate back to Instagram? Well, just like how the life-cycle of music releases has been drastically sped up and shortened by streaming services, deleting the social media content of an era also feeds into this ctrl, alt, delete mentality. Got a new album out? Let’s remove as many traces of the last one as we can to build hype for the new stuff. And the cycle continues.
What purpose does it actually serve?
Essentially, what is the point of doing this? What’s being achieved, apart from preventing your fans from reminiscing on your career and (maybe) scoring a hit PopCrave tweet? If you’re finished with social media, just delete your account. Or think of another, more exciting tactic to promote new music.
Otherwise, Let! Me! Enjoy! Your! Career!