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Yes i agree

Seth Keller

Disagree with most of your premise, Kyle. Even before the internet there were only a limited number of true fans. Ask any radio band from the 90s. There are 100s of platinum-selling artists from the CD Era who can't fill a 500 seat club now.

Beyond just the radio acts, even stadium-filling artists aren't immune from fan backlash when they try something different. U2's "Pop" album, anyone?

I agree the internet has made it so easy for "online tough guys," bullies, racists, and other cowards to spew their vitriol. But I disagree that "Fans make less of an effort to interact with an artist"--they interact much more now. I also disagree that there are fewer fanatics now then there were pre-internet or pre-social media.

The difference now is that people have a public forum to elaborate on their opinions and it's socially acceptable to do so.


There has always been an unlimited supply of {music, knowledge} in the world. But acquiring it was hard, so possessing it and communicating it had meaning. But access has replaced ownership, and the two really aren't equivalent. Exchanging links is much less valuable than exchanging information.


Navneet Anand

haven't seen a more bang on writeup in a while. kudos. Bang on, on every aspect. Yes true fans have much more access and doing much more effort to interact with their musical Gods, but not the casual fans he talks about. It's a way shallower musical world if you go purely by volume. It's eerie - I could have written this piece myself - word for word.
But I think all hope is not lost, as far as even few passionate fans like you exist. I was shocked when Norman Cook recently told me he hadn't signed a cd in a long time when I popped out all my cds on meeting him. It is the photograph and spotify generation. But the armies will continue to exist and grow. Muse is the best example I suggest? 90k cds sold in the first two days - bought by real fans - despite the flak on the Unsustainable trailer - the record has been proclaimed genius. You can't stop real talent.


Meh. I think this is just more of the same. In the 1980s we were told it was the end of music by the older generation, now we're older and claiming the same nonsense about today's generation. I recently met a heavily-tattooed 19-year old, who I overheard listening to ELP. So I asked her about it - she says can't get enough. I was shocked, and she found it odd that I was: "just because I'm young I can't tell what good music is?" She was right, I shouldn't have been surprised at all.

Go to any concert of what you'd consider "good" music, and you'll find young people there who are passionate about music, understand music history (including recent history) and seek out music that appeals to their sense of taste regardless of whether it's old or new.

Go look at Billboard's Top 200 chart. The bottom of that chart is full of selections from across time and genre. Licensed to Ill, Thriller, a new tribute to Deep Purple album, Tragic Kingdom (keep in mind, 1995 was almost 20 years ago). CCR's "Chronicle" is number 141, for cryin' out loud. These are not middle aged people like me buying these in sufficient quantity to register on the charts like this - we already own these! It's kids discovering music, the same technology that lets them find and enjoy "Gangnam Style" also gives them equal access to John Fogerty's catalog. Go look at whosampled.com and see how much of today's popular music is rooted in the past. "Digging through the stacks" whether they are virtual or not, is how you discover the hook to Steely Dan's "Black Cow" and decide that the bass line is JUST RIGHT for your new Beyonce track. You had to listen to enough Steely Dan to be a fan of that bass hook! So what if Beyonce's fans never realize it? Just think about how many kids today are digging through stacks, diving deep into their cultural heritage, looking for stuff they can love and listen to and remix and make something new out of it.

Stop worrying on their behalf about whether kids today are "fanatic" enough to satisfy your theory on how things should be. To quote a rock hero, and one from my father's generation, from 1965, before I was even born: the kids are alright! They don't need us to tell them what music is good and what's not, or how many songs is a good number for your iphone, or what constitutes a proper fan versus a poseur. They will figure it out for themselves, and hopefully let us old farts know what they learn.


It's because of little interesting, copied solutions in music. There are no real spirit, no rebel, no true emotions in music anymore. I used to be a fanatic of a few music genres but the quality of music (not technical but composition, arrangements, depth, moods etc.) has been declining since late 90s. Grunge was the last emotional guitar driven music. I can't stand when metal bands come up with melodies, and industrial rock bands keep showing off with remixes like if was something totally innovative. It's boring! Technology, laziness and lack of innovation has killed the real spirit in music. Keep in mind that hard to find releases were driving music fanatics towards buying/importing a tape/CD/vinyl. If it's all over the place, streamed, given away etc., it's not attractive anymore! Glad we still have progressive metal with a variety of ambitious bands doing it right.

Justin Boland

Kyle didn't write that #daug


Being a huge fan of a particular Canadian rock band, what I'm finding is that it's much less about the quality or quantity of music available, and more to do with convenience and effort. And by that I mean, as you stated at the beginning, it used to take EFFORT to participate in your fandom, and by making that effort, it forged your fanaticism. Nowadays, everything is so very easy to acquire that you don't HAVE to make an effort anymore for anything - the music, the tickets, the merch, finding other fans - and so the fanaticism isn't as deep. I think the music is there but because no one has to work to get anything, they don't WANT to work to get anything. Do anything other than retweet something to enter a contest? Forget it, they won't do it. Because they haven't had to do anything much beyond that to get what they want. I think the real fans ARE still out there, the people for whom the music (or indeed anything you can be a fan of) is a true passion, but those willing to make much of an effort for anything anymore are few and far between.

Allie Landry

I'm a Victim-AKA rabid and loyal Killers fan.It is a really strong community of passionate fans who still sleep outside venues, travel all over the country (and world) for gigs and wait hours outside a venue to get a chance meeting and autograph from the band.While i understand the arguments made, I tend to disagree because this hasn't been my experience.The fans i know (and not just of the Killers) would go toe to toe to defend their love of the band and their music come hell or high water, on line or otherwise.But I think the effort put into a bands product is what elicits the passionate payback IE as long as the band believes in what they're doing they will amass an equally passionate following and response in turn..no matter what the critics say..


I agree that the Internet in general makes it easy for people to be more vocal in their likes and dislikes, I'm not sure it's much different from what goes on in the school years though, except that people can do it facelessly.

However, like Allie, I am a Victim. I have followed The Killers passionately for 8 years. While I don't wait outside venues for tickets or CDs anymore (though I have done this in the past for bands like Depeche Mode and The Cure), this is because I don't need to do that. I recent bought several copies of their latest CD just to ensure I had all the different bonus tracks, as well as downloading on iTunes so I could get it on day of release, despite the fact that I had already got a leaked copy. Just last month I travelled to London to try and get in to three free shows The Killers were playing. When I planned it we didn't have tickets to any of the shows. We slept on the streets of London two nights in a row just to get in to those shows. We waited hours after the shows to try and meet the band. I don't know about you but I call that fanaticism. And I am not alone. Maybe we are a dying breed, but we Victims are a passionate and vociferous group of people.

Patrick Galactic

Interesting thought, Alex. I think people in general are evolving with technology. I don't think that people are less worthy fans because they can buy their tickets at home. That just...makes sense. It's convenient.

I think tech has evolved so fast that our attachments and our memories are more fleeting. So I guess I agree with the idea that fanatics for a particular band or singer, etc are less common. But there is more music available to us than ever before and that is a good thing. People can be more educated about the music they listen to and have a personal say in what is played. If an artist stops compelling them to listen, for whatever reason, there are millions of bands who can replace them. Artists...ARTISTS can't worry about that. Pop music icons worry about that. Good for Muse for doing what they feel is important for them. They just need to accept whatever comes. And I'm sure they will.

Side note...there is more music than ever today. It is not worse than the "glory days" for rockn'n'roll or whatever it is you prefer. I categorically disagree with that. The challenge is the sea of options. There are tons of great artists out there, no matter what your taste is. But they aren't on MTV, they aren't on VH1, they very likely aren't on the radio. If you explore, you can find anything you're looking for.


What else can we be? I buy music almost every week. Two thirds of it is on vinyl, but I also still buy CDs.
This week what I've bought was recorded in the early 70s and the early 90s. Would love to have the experience of discovering a new "artist." An artist who writes, sings and plays with great vision and talent is extremely hard to find today. Mostly you find the rare ones on indies. I listen to every format. I don't hear it. I hear mediocrity. I hardly ever hear anything which excites me to the point of driving to the nearest outlet and putting my money down. That's what's wrong with the industry.


Couldn't agree more. Though you may have missed Meg Myers & We are Augustines. Isn't the point of rare geunine amazing talent that it's, you know, rare?


My favourite way for discovering new music (apart from XFM in the car,) is soundcloud. type in some favourite genre combinations into the search box and you will get a ton of mostly good stuff from artists you've never heard of.
This is not necessarily for you. This is for other people reading these comments. My favourite at the moment is indie electronic guitars. Discovery is fun..


You should be a dying breed. The Killers have gone shit. etc ;-)

Martyn Croston

Great article. However, I do think fans still interact with artists, but just in a different way than 10 or 20 years ago. With Twitter you can send tweets directly to your favourite bands or artists. Whether they respond is a different matter, but it is certainly easier for diehard fans to contact them. What I feel is changing is the number of truly loyal fans who support and stick with a particular artist or band. Songs come and go in the charts these days so quickly from many different artists, and many young fans change their mind so often about who they like and don't like. I used to teach music in a school and it was amazing when teenagers would say their favourite artist was a singer who was clearly a "one hit wonder". http://make-music.net


Very well said.

Danny " Cisco Rose'" Baeffel

Clicking here , one sentence comment here ect does not translate to interaction with " Fans"



Well written Alex. Listeners and fans should be categorized as two separate groups, making it all the more important for a band to identify the true and loyal fans out of all their listeners and turn these mere listeners into fans.


I found this to be very insightful. Thank you! I’ve also been getting a lot out of drummer Brian Doherty’s website as well. He has some interesting views on music and the music industry at briandoherty.net

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