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Reels & Music: You Can Love it or Hate it But You Can’t Ignore it.

Decoding the reels music phenomenon.

It's been a little over 3 years since the #reel revolution swept the world away. After the #TikTok ban in India, Indian content creators flocked to reels to entertain their fans and audiences. While everyone was fixated on the fact that short content platforms were going to be the next big thing, what no one realized was how monumental reels would be in the evolution of how music is perceived and consumed.

Short content platforms have given the world many stars. From Lil Nas X to Doja Cat and even Yung Gravy, Reels has managed to elevate these artists and made their music accessible to millions.

The finishing touch to the perfect reel is the perfect song, what began as a way to create visually aesthetic content went onto becoming a key element in infiltrating the algorithm and its constant changes. Music on #Instagram now defines the success and viewership of one's reel. The question however is, how did we get here? What caused this seismic shift? The more we try to unravel this phenomenon the more obvious it becomes. We want everything from the content we consume to the music we listen to, to get to the point quickly. The trend patterns are pretty out there, pick up a catchy song no one has heard yet or few people have heard, pick the chorus, shoot a video and you’ve got yourself an Instagram trend.

Instagram Reels has had a significant impact on music and culture, particularly in terms of how music is discovered, shared, and enjoyed. With the ability to set videos to music, Reels has provided a new platform for users to showcase their creativity and share it with a wider audience. This has resulted in increased exposure for both established and up-and-coming artists, with many users discovering new music through the feature.

The buck doesn’t stop at just new music though. Reels have helped bring back a lot of old music to the top of the charts. Be it #KalaChashma which was already a remade version of an old punjabi song by Amrik Singh, the track was rewritten and modernized by Amar Arshi and became a reel sensation in 2021 when dance group quick style used the chorus for a fun quirky hookstep.

Many artists like Raghav, Bombay Vikings, Kate Bush and Jay Sean have seen a resurgence in popularity after their music resurfaced on reels. The nostalgia fever seems to be raging stronger than ever as these classics have also witnessed interesting remakes specifically with reel trends in mind. This has encouraged a whole new generation to discover existing music they otherwise wouldn’t have heard of resulting in an expansion of fan bases and music preferences becoming more eclectic and era agnostic.

The new world order in the #music and #reelverse is something of intrigue for sure. With brands wanting to hop on this trend and leverage the follower base of content creators using this ‘trending’ music making them an indispensable part of the marketing strategies. It has ended up doing far more for #musicians in turn as well. With upcoming musicians getting picked up by record labels or being more widely recognised. Instagram has become a bonafide entity in being able to market and distribute new music, so much so that the micro blogging platform now has a 1 minute music program that associates with musicians across the globe to create music for the platform.

Reels has also facilitated the spread of trending music and dance challenges, helping to popularize specific songs and dance styles. This has helped to shape and influence the music and cultural landscape, and has led to the creation of new subcultures and communities built around music and dance.

The impact of Instagram music on attention spans is mixed. On one hand, the short-form format of Instagram Reels, which allows for 15-second multi-clip videos, may contribute to shorter attention spans among users. With so much content available, viewers may be less likely to stick with a longer video or song, and may instead be more likely to skip around and consume shorter pieces of content.

On the other hand, Instagram Reels and its use of music can also help to capture the attention of users and keep them engaged. The use of popular music and engaging visuals can make the content more captivating and help it to stand out, leading to increased attention and engagement. Additionally, the real-time editing features of the app can add to the dynamic and engaging nature of the content, encouraging users to stick around and watch.

Overall, while the impact of Instagram music on attention spans is complex and dependent on various factors, it is clear that the platform has the potential to both shorten and lengthen attention spans, depending on the content and the context in which it is consumed. Yes, a lot of this is left up for debate and there have been various discourses on the reel music format, but one thing remains true and that is the fact that you probably love it or hate it but you certainly can’t ignore it.

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