In a music industry that is very much controlled by popular opinion rather than development of musicians, bands and solo artists are finding themselves having to use the influence of social media to spread the word about their talents. It seems that more often than not, we hear of artists that are “Nashville-made,” artists that gained popularity without necessarily being the most talented.
Kings of Leon had a rather different upbringing than most bands. For one, they are a band of brothers born into the family of a preacher. If you couldn’t already tell, they have a strong Southern influence in their music, largely due to being raised in Tennessee. Naturally the brothers did their best to make a name for themselves, which worked well because RCA records signed them to a contract in 2001. After Matthew, their cousin, was added as a lead guitarist, the band was ready to take off. Their original tune was characterized by a more “rock-heavy” influence than what they produce today. The shift helped them to gain momentum and popularity as they rose to the top of the Billboard 200 chart. However, there was a more important factor that helped them make this rise: Social media influence.
Before the release of “WALLS” in 2016, the Kings of Leon staff did a great job of promoting the band and the new album across several social media platforms. These include Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Vevo. YouTube featured behind the scenes footage that gave fans an inside scoop of what life was like for the band. Music videos were created and posted on all platforms in order to give existing fans their fix and to reach music lovers world-wide. The band had a large Facebook presence reaching numbers of around 12 million followers. With a total of 76,000 YouTube subscriptions, and 609,000 Twitter followers, Facebook easily dominated their social media exposure.
The popularity of Kings of Leon was absolutely bolstered by the influences of social media, however I believe that most people would argue they are different than your everyday, run-of-the-mill bands. They have talent. They produce their own music and present a style that is attractive to many people world-wide. They are, in a sense, “Nashville-made,” due to being Tennessee-natives, but not in the same context as many “musicians.”