So, why are you on Facebook?

Facebook dislikeOnce upon a time Facebook was good for musicians. Like MySpace you could set up a page, collect fans and post stuff.

It was better than MySpace. It was clean and uncluttered and music apps provided extra functionality. The Facebook population grew rapidly. There was a reason to be there.

Today, things are different.

First came heavy-handed marketing, complex privacy controls, terms and conditions and seemingly endless platform disruption. But musicians stayed even as the original reasons evaporated.

The clean interface became regimented. Every page came to look identical apart from carefully controlled images. And if Facebook didn’t like your images they would disappear.

Timeline with its uniform, ugly layout. Dull blue and grey. Standard post layouts, so much less flexible than a 10 year old public domain forum. Font sizes, pictures, links… all Facebook, and all the same. My posts were often interrupted by strings of code and if I managed to get a picture where I wanted it would be clipped horribly. Two links in one post would be formatted differently.

Details of the black economy in fake accounts, fake likes and mysterious advertising usage began to emerge.

Pages were frozen and accounts were deleted for infringements of policy, but you had to guess the reason why. Facebook might discuss it if you were famous, otherwise forget it.

Finally the connection with fans was degraded unless you paid to reach them.

So why are musicians on Facebook any more? Certainly, there are one billion web users uncomfortable with email and photo sites who rarely go anywhere else. They use Facebook to keep in touch with each other and share pictures. But even if they are fans your updates probably won’t reach them.

For those who just want a social diary and family album on the web Facebook is understandable. Facebook has a lot of supporters, and good luck to them. But independent musicians can only still be there out of habit.