Bands and Their Fans

Posted: October 26, 2012 in Music Industry
Tags: ,
Every band has a story. A beginning, a middle and an end. From day one, a band’s purpose is to have their music heard. By anyone. And then eventually, by everyone. As fans, when we find that right band, that perfect song, those poetic lyrics, we’re hooked – it’s the perfect match. This connection creates the foundation of our relationship with the band and remains a special bond. However, as time goes on, more and more people start to form a similar appreciation for the band and we find ourselves struggling to compete with our band’s new found fame. If they appeal to the masses, does that make them sell outs? Or are we as fans just overreacting?
                                                                                                                                                                       When bands start out, they all have to play the dive bars, the no-name venues, and anywhere else they can land a gig. Watching them play live in smaller venues is always a more rewarding experience because it’s a lot more intimate. You feel so much closer, so much more involved, so much more present. Your relationship with the band starts to flourish, hits a new level and your connection is on fire. Typically at this stage, the band will maybe have one of their tracks playing on the radio – not a mainstream or Top 40 station – maybe an underground, indie or alternative type station. All they want is to get their music more out there, get more people to hear it, make a name for themselves.
                                                                                                                                                                        We’re now dedicated fans. We’ve heard their music, experienced them live as close up as we possibly can, and it’s like we’re in the inner core. We’re they’re friends, people who can say we were there from the beginning and knew the band when. Due to our new roles, we almost feel like we played a part in discovering the band. It then becomes our mission to spread the word and be their unofficial spokespersons. I love introducing people to new music, love seeing the expression on their faces when they hear that song for the first time, knowing that I had something to do with it.
                                                                                                                                                                       Then all of a sudden, more people start to hear about them, more people recognize their music and they get more bandwagon fans. Slowly over time, they start playing larger venues, bigger crowds and charging way more money for their tickets. They’re the same band, but they seem so much further away. There’s no intimacy left between us, no exclusivity – now everyone’s heard about them. They’re not struggling musicians trying to make it anymore. Us real fans get conflicted and feel threatened: we want people to know about them, but at the same time we don’t. We want to spread their music, but only to ears that will appreciate it. We want what’s best for them, as long as we’re still involved. Sure it’s selfish, but it’s for their own good, right?
                                                                                                                                                                       When bands cross that imaginary line between critically acclaimed and super stardom, something gets lost with their music. Part of why I listen to non-mainstream music is because it’s obscure and different. The minute it becomes popular that all goes away. But can you really blame the bands for that? Shouldn’t us fans just be happy for them? Bands and their fans have a symbiotic relationship: one cannot survive without the other. Only that band can make their fans feel that way.

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