When was the last time you cringed when you heard Justin Bieber’s music? If that example did not work, try replacing it with Ylvis, PSY or any artist whom you dislike. When was the last time you bashed others’ music? If you failed to recall, pay Youtube a visit and you will find that for most music videos, users have been initiating verbal battles against one another. What arouses the dislike, annoyance and the need to put down certain artists or genres? Who are we to pass judgement? Personally, I opine that there is a simple explanation to such phenomenon; we belong to a generation that promotes music snobbishness. How valid are our reasons for believing that our preferred genre is superior to another? Why are fans of Sigur Ros unable to coexist with K-Pop fans? Why do fans of Bon Iver refuse to take One Direction seriously? What is the exact difference between the fans and haters of a specific genre or artist?
At the end of the day, music should be universal but hold on, music has evolved to a point where it is partially universal. In fact, music functions as a tool to define individualism so the old adage could be questioned. Back in the days, music served as a profoundly useful tool for gatherings and story-telling. However, we now have such easy access to unbelievably huge variety of music out there. With this comes the freedom to accessorize ourselves with music that we see fit.
What we might overlook is that we often select music that matches our ideal self. There is nothing wrong with this but when there is a conglomeration of aficionados of specific genres or artist, it encourages music snobbishness. With the ease of technology, we are often present among individuals of similar interests. This structure then promotes an environment that is extremely conducive for the “Us vs them” or “In-group vs out-group” mentality. The ability to interact with fans reinforces our beliefs that our musical selection is indeed of top grade, yes we actually know our stuff well, no we are totally unlike the fans of this other band who are just in for the looks in lieu of the music.
I am not setting out to convert you into someone who embraces all genres that the world has to offer but I think it is crucial that as major consumers of music, we should be cognizant of how music influences us. As an avid listener, I often find myself guilty of being a music snob but like I said, the issue here is not morality but to actually comprehend why we act the way we do and why we listen to what we do. Music is not just music per se, there is so much it has to offer that we often ignore many aspects of it because we are too caught up with the packaging or the superficiality of performers that we have grown to either love or hate.