Originally Posted by Polly Petron in the “Your Top 10 Album Openers" thread
I think the end of this scene explains the phenomenon this thread is about pretty well. Music elitists tend to be compulsive music listeners who constantly seek something new. Over time, this habit results in a large body of useless knowledge. The only time someone gets to reveal this knowledge is in a music discussion, and like some sort of academic competition, they try to out do each other. When someone who listens to music casually inquires about a certain genre, and reveals what they listen to, these elitists automatically go into showoff mode and senselessly berate the casual listener. Really, any genre of music with a wide spectrum of artists can become of interest to an elitist (which is every genre). Those genres that have traditionally had a focus on “underground” aspects (punk, metal, rap, etc) are especially vulnerable.
I'll use myself and punk rock as an example. I first got into the genre at 13 through AFI and the Misfits, two pretty standard entry level bands. Through middle and high school I continually listened to more and more, accumulating more knowledge. As a teenager, you could probably find me acting the part of the paragraph above. Now, at 22, I've outgrown punk as a subculture and mainly just appreciate it as your standard jaded douche bag would. Since high school, the Internet has also aided in the exposure to new music, what with blogs, filesharing, forums and the like. Because of the Internet, in fact, I have been able to discover multiple bands on a daily basis for a number of years. At this point in my life, I really don't care if anyone listens to “real” punk, because I know 99.99999% of the world does not care to go through the effort I have to discover new bands. Why would any sane person, really? From my perspective, most people have a very vague idea of what the genre is about, and no clue as to what it really had to offer in terms of bands and influence on other subsequent genres. The only time I might come off in a condescending way is when casual listeners feel the need to be obnoxiously vocal about their opinions. I feel like if you have a shallow knowledge of something, you probably aren't in a position to argue about it.
Originally Posted by Ando, raider from mx
I've been thinking about a trend that people take when trying to get someone "into" a certain genre of music
The thing is, however, people with an extensive knowledge of any musical genre rarely care about getting other people into that kind of music. It is just an opportunity to show off their knowledge. Anyone who is actually interested in introducing someone to a new genre already knows the best bands to do it with (and they are often not the most essential ones). I will make recommendations to people who are getting into the same kind of music I am into, or also have similar compulsive listening habits. However, I avoid conversations with those who want to discuss punk in the context of Rancid, The Sex Pistols, and NOFX. I tend to enjoy discussing music the most with people who have a similar degree of familiarity with what I listen to, and might possibly be able to point me in the direction of something new.
The Internet has made this whole cluster **** even worse. Like I said above, even the most obscure music is simply a Blogsearch away. Anyone can become an expert in any genre of music in a much shorter time than used to be possible. The antagonistic atmosphere that usually arises in online forums just accentuates the kind of discussions I mentioned earlier, which are being discussed by far more people than they used to be. The Internet is a great resource for the causal listener to find a new band every once in a while. However, they will have to wade through the compulsive listeners, who are looking for new bands every single day. When the two interact, there is a disconnect that leaves the casual listener wondering why the **** he/she even bothered to ask.
edit: And in regard to the underground vs mainstream aspect of the argument- The underground is where compulsive listeners spend most of their time looking, as that is where the major body of most genres exists. The tendency to knock more commercial artists is because these are the ones that require little to no effort to discover or enjoy. There really is nothing inherently worse about the artists who play to a larger audience, but if someones taste's lie exclusively in this realm, then it is taken to indicate something about that person's involvement/knowledge of a genre (or, sometimes, music in general). The competitive aspect of the more compulsive listeners weeds out those who are less familiar with the underground chunk of a genre (a major and important part of any genre).
I hope this post made sense, I had trouble getting some of those ideas into text.