The billion dollar Facebook acquisition may have been what made Instagram a household name, but it’s the different ways artists and brands are using the photo-sharing platform that really gets our attention.
Here are some of our favorite musicians who are connecting with their fans (and building their brands) through photos. Whether it’s a contest, challenge, or just pics of the stars on the road or the stage, Instagram is changing how music lovers interact with the bands and artists they love.
Certainly, a lot of fans love just seeing pictures of their favorite musicians, which is proven by the Instagram popularity of stars like Rihanna (@BadGalRiRi) and Justin Beiber (@justinbeiber). They’re both nice to look at, of course, but we tend to appreciate the musicians who surprise us.
1. Jason Mraz (@jason_mraz)
A great example of yet another musician who is using Instagram to inspire and connect with his fans. Mraz asked his fans to use Instagram to visually translate his single "I Won’t Give Up." The top 25 winning photos were turned into canvas prints and displayed at a gallery event hosted by the singer-songwriter.
2. The Vaccines (@thevaccines)
Last summer, Indie rockers The Vaccines asked fans to take pictures at festivals on Instagram and tag them with #vaccinesvideo. They took the over 3000 submissions from 99 countries and complied them to create a visually stunning video that captured what summer music is really all about.
3. Rufus Wainwright (@officialrufus)
A few months ago singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright followed in The Vaccines’ footsteps and asked his fans to use Instagram to help him create a lyric mosaic for his single "Out of the Game."
4. Snoop Dogg (@snoopdogg)
Snoop was one of the first celebrities to start using Instagram and he’s still incredibly active. It’s mostly shots from his day-to-day life, but there’s just something about Snoop that always makes us smile.
5. Jana Kramer (@kramergirl)
Country singer Jana Kramer proved that country music isn’t the least bit old fashioned when she launched an Instagram contest where new music and exclusive videos were unlocked when fans tagged and shared photos. And she's got a sense of humor.
6. Deftones (@deftonesband)
The Deftones solicited their Instagram followers to help them document their tour last year. Fans tagged their photos from the shows with #deftones and #thecitytheyattended. Each day one photo was named “Fan Instagr.am of the Day” and at the end of the tour, all of the submissions were entered into a contest for cool prizes.
7. Paul Simon and Neil Young
Okay, so neither of these, ahem, older musicians is actually using Instagram (as far as we can tell), but they are both currently using the service as a promotional tool.
Paul Simon is re-releasing "Graceland" and is asking fans to tag their travel photos with #Graceland25 for a chance to win the 25th anniversary box set, a Yamaha guitar and more.
Neil Young has a new video for his version of "Oh Susannah" and anyone with an Instagram account can be a part of it. Participants just have to take a picture of something that represents Americana and tag the photo #neilyoungamericana. The photos are pulled into a video slideshow that plays on Neil Young’s site. Pretty cool.
Got another band or musician that should be on this list? Share it in the comments.