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So Instagram is one of the newest kids on the block of the ever growing pack of social networks, but by no means is it one of the least. Launched in 2010 and purchased by Facebook in 2012 this little baby is growing up very quickly with a 2028% usage increase from 2011 to 2012 and well over 150 million photos uploaded to date, but how and why are fans and artists using this network?

So the saying goes ‘A picture can speak a thousand words’. Well it seems it takes 1200 Instagram images to represent a song, or it did for Ellie Goulding and her 2012 Instagram led music video ‘Anything Can Happen’. But she’s not the only one who has taken note of the brilliant instantaneous peer-to-peer communication of music. The Guardian recently launched their live music map which allows users to post images and reviews from live gigs directly to a map where the public can then view the Instagram image or review by simply adding #GdnGig to their location based social post. Bands including The Vaccines, Band of Horses, Dry the River, Aluna George and The View are already using the hashtag to promote up and coming gigs, provide backstage pics as well as encouraging fans to post reviews. So next time you’re at a gig or even playing a gig get you phone out Instagram the night away and get a fan or two to tweet a review. Not only does this map promote artists and bands it also helps promote venues and the live music scene in your local area. It’s free and anyone can add to add to it, so there’s no excuse not to.

One of the truly great aspects of social networks like Instagram is its profound way of bridging the gap between artist and fan. From older artists like Paul Simon of Simon and Garfunkle to Jason Mraz they’re embracing the imagination and creativity of their fans and giving them the power to be apart of music history. Paul Simon as a legacy artist opened his 25th anniversary release ‘Graceland’ up to a younger audience understanding that a social campaign that generates buzz could help an album last forever and introduce his music to a new generation. He simply asked fans to post images via Instagram inspired by travel using #Graceland25. Additionally Jason Mraz a highly followed Instagramer turned 25 of his fans fans #IWONTGIVEUP inspired submissions into signed artworks in a exclusive New York exhibition as part of the launch for his single “I Won’t Give Up”. Be creative in how you promote and consume your music because you never know who might stumble across it and share it.

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