A message posted on the My Vitriol msgboard recently:
"number one...that would encourage the mainstream to buy.... hum. Not such a good idea. its bad enough all of the trendy people nicking my clothes let alone my music. there just arent enough of us to warrant a number 1. Does that make any sense, I think not?"
How many times have you seen now this kind of thing? Now am I the only person maddened by this? I'm pretty sure I'm not. On its own it wouldn't be an infuriating comment, but this attitude is everywhere. This immature, senseless attitude permeates music culture right across the board. And it really really annoys me.
Since when did music, a band, a genre, belong to one person or one group of people? Since when was a love of music regulated by property laws??? Since music fans got elitist. Now I'm no music historian, but I'm pretty sure this isn't a new phenomenon; I think that one way or another, popular music has always been tribal, with groups of people adopting whichever genres/bands say the most to them, and claiming them as their own. But just because it's been going on for a while, doesn't mean it should carry on. I'm not naïve enough to think that me having a good old rant about it will change the world; but that's exactly why I'm so angry. This attitude goes on and on, and there doesn't seem to be a damn thing anyone can - or wants to - do to change it. But that doesn't stop me from sounding off about it.
It's everywhere. This is who I'm shouting at: the indie snobs who resent anyone "mainstream" knowing about their favourite obscure bands. The teen-metaller kids who resent the "townies"/"trendies"/"kevs" [oh call them what you like, there seem to be a billion labels for them by now] who dare to listen to mainstream music, or even worse, start venturing into the sacred and hallowed alternative territory where music or fashion are concerned. The sneering rock communities who look down upon "bandwagon" kids who are just getting into music that's outside the mainstream bandwidth. And the alternative crowds who despise the mainstream and dismiss the entire contents of the charts as rubbish - oh do shut up, stop being so self-righteous; there are some great records in the charts, stop looking down your nose, and open your bloody ears.
I mean for God's sake!!! What exactly do you want?!?!?! You moan and harp on about the lack of recognition that is afforded to your heroes when they're selling just enough records to keep their heads above water [no more than is "credible", mind], you complain that people don't "understand" you or your music; then when the mainstream actually starts to sit up and take some fucking notice, and your favourite bands start to earn wages that mean they can actually pay their rent, you cry "sell-outs" at the bands, and whine that the evil trendies are stealing your music. Get a fucking grip. Don't be so fucking precious. Since when was it yours? Did you make/sell/promote/buy the rights to it? if the bands in question are happy to promote their music to the extent where they'll actually sell some records, [and i believe that is the aim for many bands], who the fuck are you to complain when they actually succeed in what they do?? Don't be so fucking arrogant.
Don't you get it??? Your precious bands have to sell records. They're signed to a label that want to [or have to, depending on the size and ethic of the label] make money - be that shitloads of the stuff, or enough to keep them above water. If the bands don't make enough money to justify their label's investment in them, they will sooner or later get dropped. It's harsh, and given the talent of some of these bands, it's not necessarily fair, but in this money-hungry society and industry, that is the way it works - if you don't like it, get out there and do something to change it - start a label, put on some gigs, write a fanzine - God, I've already done a rant about this, everyone's done a rant on this, you don't need me to tell you what to do. But don't moan at the bands for daring to achieve something akin to what they deserve, and don't pick on the kids who are getting into music outside the mainstream; give them some credit for looking beyond what's directly in front of them, and getting involved. These kids are you, several years earlier, before you got cynical; back when you still saw music as the exciting medium that it is, rather than an easy stick-on label that defines and categorises you neatly and concisely. Remember those years? Beautiful, weren't they?