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Opinion: Indie Music Fans Think They Are Special, Here’s Why They’re Not

I’m sure you understand this by now. I have a huge vendetta against the indie rock genre. While I’ve gone into detail in the past (see these articles: Hipsters, Indie, Selling Out, More on Selling Out), this piece targets a certain attitude these fans have. Indie music fans define themselves by listening to music that is considered off the beaten path. Gracing the Billboard Hot 100 can seem like a mortal sin and making money is seen as an infraction.

While the rest of the world continues to rotate, success being measured by metrics, indie fans measure the quality of their music by attempting to alienate fellow listeners with more and more abstract themes. It is not the sound that I am targeting here. In fact, it’s not even the musicians. It’s the fans. Indie fans have a perplexity for thinking that pop music fans are sheep following MTV, VH1, YouTube and Ryan Seacrest towards a land of garbage music.

I wouldn’t dare argue that these are not popular outlets for new pop music. What is concerning is that these fans are viewed by the average pretentious indie music fan as sheep. To that person, I pose this question. Where do you find new music? Is it from a Pandora station that caters to indie music? Is it from Pitchfork? Is it from one of hundreds of indie music websites like Fearless?

Well, here’s some news for you. Unless you actually leave your Brooklyn studio apartment, ride your one speeder through the snow and go to a showcase in an underground rock club, converted from someones basement to discover new music, you’re just like the rest of us. You get your music from different media outlets that tell you who the cool indie bands to like are. No kidding? Frightened Rabbits are considered a “really cool band to like” right now? Better jump on that bandwagon. The Apples in Stereo going in a new direction? Might want to look into them.

Indie music fans are just like everyone else. Just because you get your music from a different website, magazine or radio station, doesn’t make it any more “hip.” Indie musicians will continue to be obscure and make music that most of the world couldn’t care less about. It’s the tight panted, couldn’t care less about your ironic sunglasses, not even sure what CBGB’s is but wear the shirt anyway type of people, that make indie music intolerable. Maybe if indie rock fans were a little more open to other genres, they would find some hidden gems in the mainstream music world.

We all know this won’t happen. Instead, they will spend two years getting their hair just gross enough to be considered “the dirty look,” waste energy waiting in line at Urban Outfitters just to get that v-neck that completes their indie rock look and then head to Madison Square Garden to see Vampire Weekend. Looking around, they realize that there are tens of thousands of people around them and this band, that they claim to have “loved,” isn’t all that good. Now that they have all these other, better looking (pop music) fans, the their “indie mystique” has worn off. They go home, pissed off that the band they thought was great, are just like everyone else, cry themselves to sleep and look for a new indie band to begin worshiping the next day. It is truly a viscous cycle.

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  • Comment by Felicity Forman posted January 20, 2011 at 11:21