Hands up who’s heard someone of the older generation say that ‘today’s music just isn’t the same’? Or someone say that metal, or electronic music is ‘just noise’? And how infuriating is it when your favourite music is put down in front of you for some similar benign reason? No-one loves their favourite music being insulted, and for good reason – everyone feels protective over their tastes, and having them put down like that in front of them can feel like a real kick in the teeth. But is it any more than that – just a minor inconvenience? Well I believe it is, and not only that, it’s negatively affecting the music industry itself. Here is why.
Firstly, it’s easy to criticise. So many bands are easy targets for insults amongst different music cliques. If you’re amongst rock music fans, an insult directed towards One Direction, for instance, will get a mainly positive reaction. If you’re with pop music fans, it could be Slipknot. The point is this negative reinforcement creates an atmosphere where it’s okay to criticise music for no real reason with no repercussions. After all, you’re usually amongst people into similar music tastes – no one’s going to call you out for putting a band outside of those tastes down. The fact is, it happens among all music fans, and it’s a huge problem, because it stifles discussion. The fact that no one is there to challenge your opinion means these negative opinions are left to fester until they are seen as fact. Metal music is ‘just noise’, pop music is ‘meaningless’, classical music is ‘boring’, rap music is ‘not real music’ – all these stereotypes are regularly held by various people, but all of them are ridiculous. They are just essentially excuses people use for not liking different types of music. And of course you can not like different types of music, everyone is entitled to their own taste, and if everyone just liked all music, the world would be a boring place. My problem is with people claiming that music they don’t like is bad music. So let me put it simply. There is no such thing as bad music. Not at all. All music has ‘good’ and ‘bad’ aspects perceived by different listeners, but music is so subjective that nothing is inherently bad music. The thing is, that thing you hate about a song, be it a drum beat, a lyric, or anything else, could be something someone else loves. And does that make them wrong? No. Just let them enjoy their music, and they’ll probably happily let you enjoy yours. Having different tastes in music doesn’t have to divide people, it can bring them together too. People can show each other their music without a negative atmosphere, and by all means they can not like it, but if they do, there is no risk of judgement or insults from self-righteous morons who believe their taste in music is the only acceptable one. And this can expand people’s horizons. I recently got over living in my bubble of only liking rock music and it has led me to so many great artists, such as Lorde, Twenty One Pilots, and Ed Sheeran. But not only is this good for people’s personal tastes, it’s good for the industry too. Once people have broken out of being set on just one type of music, they are more likely to buy more albums, go to more shows, and just listen more. Because it isn’t edgy to dislike pop music, it isn’t cool to dislike rock music, and once people stop thinking like this, every music scene will be a better place.