Remember the one band you found before anyone else? That one band, that only around 50 fans showed up to its concerts … the band about which you thought, “I can’t wait ’till they get famous,” not only because it plays good music, but also because the band members are great people whose passion you respect. That’s the kind of freshness and humility I hope for more bands to preserve in the future.But instead, these talented musicians eventually develop a huge fan base, get recognized by major record labels, and all of a sudden, their music loses the unique touch that attracted you to them in the first place.
Music is one of those things people cannot live without.
Tastes in music vary, but no matter the preference, people passionately adhere to their own.
Check out any music forum on the Internet, such as AbsolutePunk.net, and you’ll see plenty of name-calling and attacking because someone made the mistake of commending a band, such Simple Plan, that others dislike. It is sad but intriguing how some people correlate music taste with the quality of a person’s character – such as how smart or how cool that person is. But the passion and love people have for their preferred music is also beautiful.
What’s even more powerful is the musicians’ passion and love for their own music. Talent takes them far, but talent alone is not enough for them to reach music fans’ hearts. And the most important factor in earning a fan base is being able to interact with fans through a common goal – to become one through their mutual love for the band’s music.
The one most important circuit to musician-fan interaction is live performance – not just any live performance – but a small-venue-one-heart-and-one-soul-waiting-outside-the-band-trailer-with-a-camera kind of show.
But when bands get big, they no longer play at the more personal, interactive venues such as Gypsy Tea Room in Dallas. Their fame and popularity have upgraded them to the standards of headlining at the Nokia Theater. These musicians no longer shake hands and exchange names with fans in the venues’ parking lots. Now, these gods of teeny-boppers are too divine for the fans to be able to touch them.
By this time, love and passion for music has been replaced by greed for money and fame. The musicians no longer play the kind of music that inspired them to start bands in the first place. Instead, they cater to the mainstream corporate record labels and radio stations, even if it means sacrificing their originality.
I am not censuring the increasing number of fans or the mainstream record labels. The growth of fans of good music is inevitable and excellent, considering there would not be a music scene without it. As for the record labels, no one can blame them for doing their jobs. The responsibility is purely upon the shoulders of the musicians.
Congratulations, your hard work and talent has paid off, and now you are signed to a huge record label with the support of thousands of fans. What are you going to do now?
The higher musicians climb up the fame ladder with the more influence they have on the music scene and, most importantly, the fans. It is the musicians’ responsibility to stay consistent with their original goals and purposes they had in mind in the very beginning of their journeys. It is their responsibility to show gratitude to the fans who kept them alive during their pre-fame, pre-money years. They should come back down to Earth every once in a while, play at smaller venues, talk to their fans and reconnect with their initial passions and goals.
Saerom Yoo is a sophomore news-editorial journalism major from Pusan, South Korea. Her column appears every Thursday.