Herman Li says musicians need to be open-minded towards social media: “Control your music and your art… or else someone else is going to”

The guitarist explains why taking advantage of social media enables musicians to protect themselves from oppressive record deals.

Dragonforce guitarist Herman Li has explained why thinks social media is a great tool for musicians, insisting that taking advantage of platforms such as YouTube and Instagram allows individuals to retain control over their work, leading to more freedom in the long run.

Speaking as part of Metal Injection’s Content Creator Roundtable last Saturday (July 23), the renowned shredder openly tackled the negative connotations of social media, insisting that delving headfirst into content creation could potentially be one of the best decisions a musician could make.

It is no secret that creatives have faced immense pressure to reduce their work into a more-digestible version of itself for social media over recent years. However, while most are left feeling repulsed by the prospect, it is undeniable to see the benefits when looking at artists such as Trivium’s Matt Heafy and The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins – both of which have gained huge success from the platforms.

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Now, Dragonforce guitarist Herman Li has also weighed in on the debate, urging both established and upcoming musicians to embrace the shifting landscape. Here, the musician states how there are even more perks to being a ‘content creator’ than most realise, especially when it comes to working with record labels.

“If you are writing music and you get your content creator stuff going, you have so much power to negotiate your record deal! You’re just laughing at them,” he explains. “Why do you think I [have] a million subscribers on YouTube? So I can go to the next record deal and say, ‘what have you got for me? Oh, you have your YouTube channel? I got that too. I don’t care. How much money are you giving me? What’s the deal, what’s the percentage?’”

He continues, elaborating on how artists need to alter their perspective and insisting that his decision to embrace online content has given him more creative freedom than ever before.

“There’s an upside to that. How you can switch it around and make it less like, ‘why do I have to do [content]?’… Being able to [write] great songs is not enough for you to get free gear now, and guess what? If you’re a content creator you get free gear and you get money on top. So win-win there.”

“Understanding the business [lets you] control your music and your art… or else someone else is going to come in and do it for you, and they always know better than you because their percentage is really what they care about the most.”

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Find the full roundtable with Herman Li on Metal Injection’s YouTube channel.

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