How AI and Algorithms are Disrupting the Music Industry

As somebody who works in live venues and has kept a close eye on the Canadian music industry for the past several years, I am fascinated and concerned with what the future holds for an industry that can no longer depend on a physical product (albums) for revenue. This topic was discussed in an Eventbrite discussion out of Spain that I attended online this afternoon.

Social media and music streaming platforms have changed how music is consumed and discovered, with TikTok providing exposure to musicians and algorithms on sites such as Spotify largely deciding what we listen to. This panel also discussed the creator climate. These sites have made it so easy for anybody to create content that the market is saturated, and nobody really knows how to get recognized by the algorithms. Panelist Raul Guerrero discussed the attention economy, where our attention has become a type of currency that we divide between many different things at once. As described by Guerrero, “The good thing about music is it can be consumed while doing other things. You can’t passively consume a video game.” This makes it easy to consume music but draws a blank when considering where the revenue for that music will come from.

I found this conversation incredibly interesting. This was my first time attending an online event like this, but I’m excited to think that there are all sorts of conversations happening all over the world that we can now participate in from anywhere.

COM0014 – Blog # 7 – Personal Reflection

Social media has changed the way that we absorb stories. We look for the small details that grab our attention and tell a lot in a short time, while trying to come up with content that is original and makes people want more. Rather than having an entire story in an organized matter, we get snippets and can find out more by reading comments or going back on a page to get more information. Instead of a straightforward narrative, much of the story comes through with pictures, video and engagement.

This course has taught me to look for small stories everywhere, and to look for what other people will connect to and want to engage with so that the story gets bigger. I’m looking forward to using this approach with my own stories, and also in social media marketing situations to figure out how to connect the audience and get the best stories out.

COM0015 – Blog # 4 – Out of the Box

This course has inspired me to use social media smarter in a few ways. Social media can feel very self-indulgent, but the listening aspect is extremely important and something I want to focus on more in order to create new connections. Social media is a fascinating communication tool, and gives us the opportunity to be on top of everything that is going on. We can use it to find projects that we want to be involved with, and then engage to get noticed.

Social media is also a great way to communicate with people who we are already connected to. There have many times that I would not have known that a friend is in the same city as I am if it weren’t for social media, and so it has facilitated face to face communication. It is also an efficient way to communicate with a team, be it of coworkers or for a specific project. Rather than approach everybody individually, we can create a conversation with everybody involved and even link to relevant material.

Throughout history, there has been a tendency to be suspicious of new forms of mass communication, from the printing press to the television set to social media. While everything has its downsides and dangers, social media is a tool that will become more and more useful to us as individuals and as a society.

COM0014 – Blog # 6 – The Incubator Show

I was a lucky NICU mom. The neonatal intensive care unit can be a scary place, but it’s also an amazing place.

My water broke while I was enjoying a cup of coffee on a snowy February morning. I was not quite 26 weeks pregnant and thought I was about to enter the third trimester.

When I finally found someone to drive me to the hospital, I was told a number of gross explanations of how my water probably didn’t actually break, this was all pretty normal, blah, blah and a couple of medical students who looked about fourteen years old would be giving me an exam just in case. My water had totally broken.

After a few days in the hospital hooked up to several monitors and trying to lie perfectly still, I had an emergency C-section at 26 weeks and 1 day. Alice surprised everybody when she came out breathing and let out a little cry that sounded like radio static. Usually the 26 weekers can’t breath on their own. She was 1 lb 6 ounces, about the size of a squirrel. When I first met her, she was lying in an incubator in the NICU. A lot of things can go wrong when a baby is born so premature, but for Alice they mostly didn’t. The next four months would be spent slowly and steadily learning to breath in the scientific wonderland of the NICU with the support of an amazing and brilliant staff of doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, lactaction consultants and numerous other specialists. I participated in all of the studies I could, pumped breast milk, brought her toys to look at, read her stories, and got to know this tiny little creature.

In a place as modern and sterile as the NICU, it’s easy to forget about history. And the history of the NICU is strange.

In the early 1900s, when incubators were first introduced to North America, hospitals didn’t really want them. They found their place in amusement parks, where a mix of a sideshow and a hospital was set up to display the incubators with live infants, and for an admission fee, anybody could see them and marvel at the wonders of science and the tiny babies. Staffed by nurses and showmen, many lives were saved in a bizarre show.

I think about these sideshows a lot. They were the first step towards the comfortable and private NICU where I got to know my daughter. Moms would have been present at these exhibits, were encouraged to visit often and breastfeed, and would usually, eventually have a healthy baby to take home. Same as me.

I don’t know much about the preemie moms who came before me, who visited their babies in amusement parks instead of hospitals, but I feel like I owe it to them to remount this exhibit with historical and social context instead of live babies.

COM0015 – Blog # 3 – Networking Strategy

My current networking plan is based on exploring opportunities and observing. I am cautiously exploring a career change, and so I have been following a number of pages of organizations that I could someday see myself working for, and I try to interact with them in a way that doesn’t seem too forced. My social media pages are free from personal drama or content that could be seen negatively, but my next focus will be to better use them to show off my personal brand with content that could showcase my skills a little more, as well as more proactive engagement.

Photo by Cedric Fauntleroy on

In-person marketing within my community is also important. I currently work as a bartender at a music venue, where I meet a lot of people. The networking aspect that I have been trying to improve is actually maintaining contact when I meet somebody in a field that I’m interested in. Social media is a non-intrusive way to do this, as I can follow band pages or businesses that somebody has mentioned working for in order to subtly keep in contact and watch for future projects that I might want to be involved with. Attending events is also very important, both as an opportunity for meeting people and staying current on what is happening locally.

COM0015 – Blog # 2 – Strong & Weak Organizations

First Friday (FFPTBO) is a confusing and amazing event that occurs in downtown Peterborough on the first Friday of each month. The idea is that galleries and art studios open their doors to the public in a way that encourages art lovers to wander the downtown and through old buildings to see a lot of different art. The main focus is visual art, but there are often musical and theatrical elements. First Friday does a great job of using social media both to inform and engage.

Since this event doesn’t have a ton of structure, social media is useful for both generating enthusiasm and guiding people on what exactly they’re supposed to do when they attend first Friday.

From First Friday Peterborough Facebook page

FFPTBO is most active on Facebook, but also consistently posts on Instagram and Twitter. Their Facebook page acts almost as an organizational centre, with calls being made for artists to contribute their information and be included in the crawl’s schedule, and convenient instructions for those unsure how the event works. I also notice that they frequently repost interesting content both from their audience and the galleries involved in the art crawl, which shows that they are actively engaged and paying attention.

From First Friday Facebook page

An organization that I believe could use some help with social media is Y Drive and Y Drive Eats. Y Drive is an Uber style service offering rides in Peterborough. Y Drive Eats is a food delivery service similar to Skip the Dishes or Uber Eats. Peterborough does not have Uber, and our taxi companies, having no competition until recently, are famous for long wait times, terrible customer service and clueless dispatch. The transit system is also a mess, so we are very much in need of an alternative. While Y Drive Canada has a Facebook page that includes some local to Peterborough content, I think that locally based social media pages would be helpful for generating some buzz. As a transportation company, their content options are endless. Showcasing local businesses would make a lot of sense for creating partnerships, especially with places that cabs are traditionally sent to such as restaurants, bars and grocery stores.

From Y Drive Canada Facebook page

Y Drive Eats does have a Peterborough based Facebook page that has showcased some local restaurants, but posting seems to be inconsistent, as though its been given up on.

I also think that Y Drive could take a lesson from First Friday, and use social media to ensure that everybody actually knows how to use their service. A link to their app or specific information about pricing would help make people more confident in using their service. Often when a ride somewhere is required, the situation is already stressful, and most of us will choose the option that is the most simple and familiar, rather than taking the time to download an app or research new options.

COM0014 – Blog # 5

I’m a single mom who has been bartending for way too long. I’ve waitressed my way across western Canada, become incredibly resourceful, and ultimately trained myself to be a parent who is prepared for any change in direction. I’m an expert at figuring out how to do things that would make way more sense to give up on.

My main passions are trying to put my life together, watching Murdoch Mysteries, and finding the meaningful details that make the world such a cool place. My current major projects are the development of a theatrical history of the incubators used to save premature babies, and a study of the music industry as it develops in small size venues and intersects with the service industry.

Having worked in the service industry for so long, I have an excellent ability to stay calm while handling and prioritizing several projects at the same time. I can also carry a lot of things and my memory is great.

COM0014 – Blog # 4 – Summer Roads Flower Company

Summer Roads Flower Company is a small, local flower farm that sells bouquets through delivery and a farm stand. Their social media is stunning. Active on Instagram and Facebook, the majority of posts are beautiful shots of flowers and farm life with helpful reminders of upcoming deliveries and farm store hours. They also do an amazing job of finding content that is interesting and vaguely related, with posts about squash bees, spiders, cider making, shots of their beautiful farm and poetry.

From Summer Roads Flower Company’s Facebook Page

As a B2C marketer, this small business does a really nice job. They engage with their audience by responding to comments as though they are chatting with friends. Their content is thoughtful and interesting. I also like how their advertising is kind of subtle. They reference weddings that they’ve provided flowers for with beautiful photos rather than directly stating that they are available for weddings. It kind of makes me wish I had a large summer party to plan.

COMM0014 – Blog 3: Who Buys Art?

A project that I keep putting off is helping my mother with her social media. She is a successful artist who sells paintings across Canada and Ireland. She has a Facebook and Instagram page that she updates randomly when she remembers, and a Twitter account that she doesn’t know exists.

Her target audience is people who will buy paintings. According to Buffer, her main demographic is female, age 65+, followed by female, age 55-64, and female, age 45-54. To target this audience, Facebook is probably the best social platform for her to focus on. Many of her paintings are story-based and related to Canadian and local history, which seems to be popular with this demographic. These people as a group are probably educated and have a number of hobbies and interests. Many might be artists themselves.

One sales niche that she has discovered is that her paintings of winter hockey scenes, such as the one to the left, sell incredibly well. This is an interesting audience, as it appeals to a nostalgic Canadiana aesthetic, but also to a crowd that might not normally be art buyers. These paintings appeal to people who like sports and the outdoors and may have a minor interest in art.

I believe that social media could be used to broaden her target audience.

COMM 0014 – Blog 2 – The Dot Tattoo

My friend Laura is an incredibly talented woman who is struggling with TikTok. This week, one of her videos finally passed 100k views.

Here is the video that worked, with over 378K views.


Ryan 🦊♬ Freddy Mercury – David Newberry

With a growing emphasis on stories that are brief, unique, and relatable, this somehow nails it in the simplest way possible.

Tattoos and TikTok videos both have the potential to hit a point and tell a story or to come across as awkward, cliché and ultimately embarrassing. Laura’s tattoo is not art, and the story is hidden. Her video gives a tiny glimpse into a heartbreaking story and manages to be satisfying without many details.

In contrast, here is another Laura video that she made several years ago. This one is all details, with the story being, that we had a party? Or that, Calgary Stampede? She does do an incredible job of creating an atmosphere and conveying the alternative, parallel to Stampede area that all Calgarians have a complicated relationship with.

Stories need to grab attention and make you want to know more. Social media shows us that everything is a story, from the lunch special at the cafe down the street to your kid’s first day of school to the interaction between two friends who hate each other. To make these stories compelling we need to find the detail that is relatable, and that will pique our audience’s interest. As described in the course material, the information should be presented in a manner that is clear and skimmable, but gets the reader so interested that they want more information, and then gives them that information that they want.

Where social media breaks away from traditional storytelling is that a good part of the story happens in engagement; through reactions, comments, and shares where others can enhance the story with their personal view.

As content becomes more and more story based, it becomes more and more interesting. Like Laura’s tattoo, we need to find the tiny dot that makes our audience want to get into the story or world that it represents.