We’ve all encountered them, music snobs. That person who thinks they know more than the average music buff. They feel entitled to an unjustified sense of coolness by playing the anti-mainstream music game of my favorite band or artist is better because mine is more obscure. Yet, these so-called music aficionados are the first to abandon their favorites upon the very first sign of even a miniscule amount of commercial triumph, because of some imaginary belief system based on tiresome and ridiculous self-imposed “rules,” which decree mainstream success is evil and taboo.
I witnessed fan base abandonment when R.E.M. left an independent label to sign with Warner Brothers, when Weezer started getting airplay on mainstream radio stations, and again when Green Day’s popularity grew beyond mere punk rock recognition. I’ve always been perplexed by this because eschewing an artist after achieving a perceived amount of popularity seems to be the equivalent of the same juvenile mindset of blindly following the masses. Ironically, every musician I’ve met would give their eyetooth to be able to achieve enough success which affords them the opportunity to make a sustainable career out of creating and/or performing music.
Perhaps the most irritating and puzzling quality of self-appointed music snobs I’ve encountered (and there have been many throughout the years), is that I’m yet to meet one who hasn’t said to me; “I don’t like that kind of music because it all sucks” and “I used to listen to that type of music until it became popular.” How can you consider yourself to be an expert on music if you don’t listen to every genre and like something in every category?
Everyone’s entitled to their own preferences, but if you consider yourself a music “expert,” then lose the teenage mentality of discounting entire genres due to your own ignorance of it. I’ve never let anyone else’s perceptions dictate what I like. I’ve never listened to anything simply because it fits into one category or another. In fact, the music I find to be the most rewarding has always found its way to me on its own accord, devoid of recommendation, hyped propaganda, or any degree of superficial coolness. I don’t pretend to know everything about music (who does?), but I know what I like despite lack of popularity or chart success. After all, isn’t music really about evoking an emotional and psychological response from the few as well as the many?