There has never been a clear division between pop culture and music culture. They both feed off of and influence each other. In today’s online society, short clips of audio can go viral through sites like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. In keeping up with the trends, popular music often integrates viral clips right into the audio.
Here’s how to incorporate pop culture into your own music.
1. Piggyback off viral movements.
A great example of this incorporation of trends was done by Kanye West on his album Life of Pablo. The first track, “Ultralight Beam,” heavily sampled the audio of a recent viral video of a little girl yelling like a preacher at church. By incorporating this, the song went beyond both what the original clip on social media and the song itself could have done, and the result was hugely positive.
As a music creator, don’t be afraid to mix in clips like this in your music. Don’t be contrived and throw in every media trend you see, but if something really clicks with you and fits the theme of your style, go for it!
2. Draw in new listeners by incorporating their favorite viral moments.
A benefit of incorporating viral clips and trends into your beats is that it can help access new listeners that otherwise would have never been drawn to your work. The aforementioned sites like Instagram are integral in this process.
Someone will post a clip with your pop culture-oriented music, and viewers will latch onto that because it stands out in their mind. If nothing else, the distinct vocals from integrated audio clips can help people find your albums and tracks more than a simple beat could.
The following song, sampling audio from a nature documentary, is a great example.
3. Change up your sound by finding inspiration in trending topics.
Musicians often note how at some point in their career they have felt stuck in a rut of sorts. After putting out dozens of tracks, finding inspiration at times can be difficult. Considering that one of the most important things musicians can do is stay flexible with their work and always be willing to change, a creative standstill is damaging.
Because of the fact inspiration for entire albums can come from the simplest places, ideas, or musical riffs, incorporating trending topics into your music can help spark that creative spirit.
4. Stay in the public eye.
Die-hard fans of any producer will stay loyal and listen to every new album regardless of popularity, but the majority of a listening audience can lose interest when the artist loses relevance.
While the actual quality and frequency of the backbone of your work is the primary decider in any artist’s popularity, keeping up with trends and mixing those in with work can be the extra boost to stay on top.
Sampling viral clips can be the difference between a good song and a popular song. However, remember not to unnecessarily add samples that don’t belong because they can be disruptive and confusing. When they fit, though, it can be truly special.
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Sean Harris is a writer in the midwest US who plans on majoring in computer science or physics at college. He enjoys listening to music, blogging, and reading.