While stacking massive numbers are impressive, it's not the only thing that makes an artist great. In today's social media-driven culture, the measure of an artist, and oftentimes a person, is based upon numbers: likes, follows, sales, etc. In the music industry, artists are on a never-ending quest to acquire new fans who will buy into their image and talents, but sometimes the former becomes more important than the latter. As artists have the ability to self-publish without the micro-management of a label, it gives them the freedom to share their music with the world with the click of a button.
However, the downside of that is the lack of filtration, as many artists answer to few, if any, executives or managers who are more concerned with the quality of their music than with the quantity of their followers. There's nothing wrong with artists doing it for themselves and refusing to be entangled in soul-sucking contracts. Yet, we live in a culture of over oversaturation when it comes to the releasing and availability of new music. It's all about how much you can sell and creating art with the purpose of debuting at the top of the charts.
T-Pain dropped some knowledge about the industry on Twitter by writing, "One day we’ll get back to the music when the popularity contests get old. At this point the numbers only have meaning to the ppl that don’t know how much they’re being fabricated. Understandable tho. It’s a game. Someone has to get played." This message comes amid the rumored drama regarding DJ Khaled's Father of Ashad debuting at number 2 on Billboard charts behind Tyler, The Creator's IGOR. There have been reports that Khaled was none-too-happy with Billboard following the company dropping 100,000 of his sales because they weren't approved.