Music Think Tank

MTT: Do Music Fans Have Too Much Control?

Music-think-tank-guest-post At Music Think Tank, Kyle Bylin asks readers if fans have too much control. He brings the discussion from the Click Track blog on The Washington Post. Some artists have given fans more control by allowing fans to fund their albums. Television shows like American Idol give fans the control to pick the next music superstar. What do you think? 

“Do fans today have too much control and what are the implications of this?” (Join the discussion)

Share on:


  1. in a word? yes. in two? HELL YES! do you care about music as an art form at all? if so, this constant and capricious control exhibited by “fans” today is bad for music! oh how i wish sites like yours and MTT would quit encouraging/badgering musicians to prostrate themselves before any and all potential fans like beggars or prostitutes. no one has a favorite album in their collection that was funded by fans or the songs were picked by fans, etc. yr favorite album is the vision of the artist along with maybe a producer and/or A & R man. the music will win out in the end…i hope…

  2. kassin, sounds like you’re an old bitter musician that never got the praise you thought you deserved and just like the majors, you got blindsided when this thing called the “internet” came along. Before this new technology changed the music industry overnight, you would have had to pay and produce PSAs to voice your anger why no one likes your music or mail letters to supposed fans asking them why they aren’t buying your hot new tape cassette loaded with hit singles. Let’s face it, the internet has changed how music is distributed, listened to, shared, and how musicians connect with fans and fans with their musicians. It seems you don’t it, it’s not about the music anymore, the old business model doesn’t work today and labels don’t have the money to invest in artist development anymore. The barriers are down and all artists have the creative authority to express themselves however they want and fans can instantly connect with their favourite artist whenever they want…call it what you want kassim, but when there’s no walls controlling what we listen to and what we buy, the end result is music democracy, which happens to be a beautiful thing…play the new game or be left behind because today, no one will really care how great your music is and no label will invest in you unless you built your own fanbase. Let’s take a poll…how many of you agree that Kassim is a bitter musician that can’t let go of the past?

  3. I like that this site is has relatively thoughtful and BS-free comments. Denimdude, the same point could be made without condescending crap injected. My vote is to keep this site above the usual bickering trash of internet discussion.

  4. Hell no. You don’t have to listen to them if you don’t want. You are the goddamned artist. Your fans are your fans because, well, they like what you do. Sometimes what you do isn’t in line with what your fans like. So what? If they really feel strongly they don’t have to be your fans anymore. I was sitting in a class with Philip Glass once and he said something that really resonated with me, “Think of creation like a dining hall. You could easily go sit at a table with a group of people, but the real challenge is creating your own table and getting everyone to sit with you.”

  5. agree with you weareherenow, however, if you read some of kassin’s past posts, he seems to enjoy calling new artists prostitutes.

  6. i’m a CURRENT musician, fella, who has his eyes open and sees a lot of BS spewed out there by tech gurus and utopians who know NOTHING of the music industry at all. i got tons of “praise.” i’ve got a press kit a mile long. but that’s neither here nor there. i’m not bitter. i’m fucking mad. there *is* a difference, ya know?
    i could go on but all i need to know about you is is contained in these two quotes from your reply: “because today, no one will really care how great your music is” and “it’s not about the music anymore.” jesus h. christ, if that doesn’t take the cake…it’s funny you rail against the majors in yr reply, as you sure sound like a fucking suit with those quotes, bub…
    oh and btw, musical democracy is not “a beautiful thing” at all. all it has done is drag everyone to the bottom faster. it’s just muddy waters now and people do not have the time to separate the wheat from the chaff. yayyy, “musical democracy!” what a fucking joke…i bet you think we should have unfettered capitalism, eh? free trade with no restrictions, right? darwinism all around, hmm? yeah, sounds great…

  7. If you consider the kind of music that becomes a hit to be too random, too accidental, and think the influence of the fans is the reason for it, you suggest that music fans at large cannot divide real musical quality from crap. The “old industry” with their huge promotional budgets did believe that, too, and spent huge amounts to promote crappy music that sold in large numbers of units. They could also have invested in musical education of youth so the future fans could find out for themselves what’s quality music and what is not. As we all know, they didn’t do that and opted for the quick revenue route instead, like every good businessman would have done at the time. Thereby, they largely disregarded those music fans who really could divide quality from crap and shoved lots of promo and press down their throats for acts that they did not like, whilst charging quite a price for the good music and not enabling them to listen before they buy.
    Lots of fans did end up with some albums that they never listened to, whilst other albums that the fans were interested in, didn’t even make it to them because they were quickly deleted by the label for not meeting business expectations or merger-induced decreases in the artist roster and other business moves.
    So when the possibility arose to get the music for free, those fans who know how to tell good from bad music, took it with open hands and started downloading, believing they would break even and get a refund for the music they bought that they felt was crap.
    But all music fans believe they like good music and not crap regardless of what musical styles they like, so basically everyone downloaded because everyone felt previously having been cheated on by the music industry to some extent.
    So the best thing the labels could have done to prevent the current situation would have been to educate about music and to claim in promos that they do not cheat on their customers but instead give them value for money.
    One method to do that would be to give them a say in what becomes a hit, for example by the measures and techniques you have mentioned in your article such as televoting.
    Therefore, I say no. Music fans do not have too much control. Rather, they are not listened to enough.

Comments are closed.