Self Esteem on pressures to provide TikTok content: “The music industry thinks of social media as an inherently female thing”

"I think it’s no coincidence that the recent examples of artists who say their labels have forced them to get on TikTok are all women"

Rebecca Lucy Taylor, aka Self Esteem, has penned an essay about the pressure she believes female artists face to provide TikTok content.

The article comes following a number of artists speaking publicly about their experiences of their labels and management pushing them to post on the social media platform.

They include FKA Twigs, who has said: “It’s true all record labels ask for are TikToks and I got told off today for not making enough effort” and since deleted her TikTok account. Charli XCX, Florence Welch and more have also expressed similar sentiments.

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Halsey, meanwhile, said earlier this month: “I have a song that I love that I wanna release ASAP, but my record label won’t let me… my record company is saying that I can’t release it unless they can fake a viral moment on TikTok. I just wanna release music man, and I deserve better tbh. I’m tired.”

Writing in The Guardian, Taylor said: “I think it’s no coincidence that the recent examples of artists who say their labels have forced them to get on TikTok are all women.

“My pub-psychologist theory is that the music industry thinks of social media as an inherently female thing – it’s just another patriarchal idea that women and gay men are interested in the minutiae of other women, while men are just too busy and important to be interested in that stuff.”

CREDIT: Getty Images

She added: “There is something darker and more invasive in the way that women are encouraged to use it. It only furthers the nagging feeling that as a female artist your music and art aren’t taken as seriously.”

Taylor spoke about the positive side of her relationship with social media, which she regards as an “extra arm to my art,” but asked the question: “What do you do if sharing parts of yourself isn’t for you?”

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She argued that “it still feels too early to know whether throwing shit at a wall and hoping something viral sticks actually translates to an enduring, committed fanbase; and as a result of that, space for the artist to create and experiment. (That’s the dream we’re all chasing, by the way, not fame.)

“All creative industries have to be able to adapt. In my opinion, what really engages consumers across a broad demographic range is excellent songs, and artists need to be given space to write them and then share them in a way that feels true to their art.”

Taylor will take Self Esteem’s acclaimed recent album ‘Prioritise Pleasure’ back on the road in 2023, with a newly announced ‘I Tour This All The Time’ tour of the UK and Ireland. She will also play in London this summer as part of All Points East festival’s spin-off shows.

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