In the ’50s and ’60s, young women would weep over The Beatles and Elvis Presley for their iconic music and good looks. In the ’70s and ’80s, classic rock stars like Eddie Van Halen and Axl Rose were worshiped by girls who would drool over their cover photo on magazines and spin their records endless times a day. What has caused this obsession? Newspapers, magazines, television, and countless others. The oversaturation of the artists rather than the art changed the way the music industry works. Of course the media is what gets music out there, but what happens when fans start to care more about what their favorite band member is doing this weekend rather than the release of their new album? Dedicated fans have always been thoroughly intrigued by the people who create their favorite music, but in today’s generation, the significance of social media outlets has changed the direction of the music.
Music is for everyone. When it is released, it is out for the entire world to experience. What you hear is what you get. That is the biggest problem for music enthusiasts. The people who truly have a passion for music are moved by it and fall in love with it, but music isn’t exactly tangible. Since the beginning of media, fans have checked newspapers and magazines to read up on their favorite bands or musicians to find out more about how these people came to be. They want to know about how their favorite song was written or what the singer’s childhood was like. Anything to draw them closer to the music they adore. Teens would tune in to MTV and watch music videos for the most popular songs at the time, submerging themselves in the stories created by the artist’s mind and music. All they want is more.
Today, the internet is at its prime. Social media sites like Twitter and Instagram are the most popular forms of entertainment for teenagers today. The accounts with the most followers are run by the celebrities of this decade, including musicians who share their lives with hundreds of thousands of fans everyday. Now that it is so easy to obtain such subtle information about these people, it becomes the major focus. In some cases, the use of these media sites benefits artists. They can easily spread the word about new music releases and gain publicity. It is why small bands break out into bigger audiences. But at what cost? Some of the fans who crave more from these musicians have taken it too far. It has come to the point where the fans rely on the words and thoughts of these people. They feel like they know their favorite band member personally due to this resource and put them on a pedestal in order to fulfill their expectations of them. And as we all know, high expectation leads to disappointment.
For example, Austin Carlile, lead singer of Of Mice & Men, was arrested for assault back in April 2013 and the internet blew up. Fans immediately rushed to his side and made up rumors to eliminate the fault from him, while others felt betrayed by his actions. Fans would claim that he isn’t the kind of guy to do those things, but how would they know that? Others, though, thought his actions were selfish and unreasonable, but how would they know that? These fans are so absorbed in their obsession with knowing everything about someone they’ve never met that they can’t distinguish the idea put in their heads versus the unknown reality. They obtain so much unnecessary information about their “idols” that they feel as if they are their closest friends, although they really know nothing about them.
This new attitude from music fans is taking away from what really matters: the music! The incredible way music works has been barricaded by the ignorance of humble enjoyment and the overcompensation of needing more from something people can’t get. The people who contribute to the admired art they make are doing their fans a favor by interacting with them and diving into their careers to better themselves and their followers, but fans who are abusing that privilege add pointless drama and complications to the impact that the musicians are creating. But what sparked this adoration and passion? What truly inspired these fans? The heartwarming lyric or the captivating guitar hook that is so memorable that it engulfs the listener in excitement and emotion. How it can take you away from any situation and offer an overwhelming release. This is why music is so revolutionary. This is how it should stay.