Music: a Popularity Contest, or…

I haven’t been able to write because we have actually had WORK at work lately, and that was where I got most of my blogging done!

At any rate, I was reading a blog from a local musician who was addressing this question (and I am paraphrasing here): “Do you wonder why your music isn’t taking off?” His argument was that your music must not be very good, and that is why you aren’t well-liked.

I’m sorry, but it has to be the most foolish thing I ever heard in my life. Then again, this was the same person who said if you have to write chord changes above your lyrics, then you aren’t a musician. Maybe I should learn to consider the source. But until I do, I want to address this statement.

Saying people don’t follow your music because it’s bad is idiotic. Musical taste is subjective. You want proof? I hate the Backstreet Boys, yet they sell millions. People sing along with their tunes. So if someone out there finds value in it, then it can’t be 100% bad. On a related note, I like the music of Sonic Youth. However, the last I heard, the most albums they ever sold was 300,000. Does that mean they are bad because they aren’t universally liked? Of course not, or they wouldn’t be critics’ darlings.

Who’s to say if your music is really bad other than you? When it comes to my music, I know my guitar playing, lyrics and songwriting are all good. The vocals are what need work. Now, having said that, I never had much of a following in my local area even when I was gigging on a regular basis. Does that mean I made bad music? No, I don’t think so. You want to know why? Because music is not a popularity contest! There are tons of bands I like that never sold a lot of records; that doesn’t mean they write bad songs. It seems to be a pattern in music that influential bands never sell big numbers. Look at Sonic Youth, the Velvet Underground, the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., and Husker Du. They never sold platinum (or even gold) numbers, but there are a LOT of bands out there that claim them as influences.

Long story short: your number of followers has nothing to do with the quality of your music. If you like what you write, then keep it up. I mean, be honest with yourself (like I was about my vocals), but don’t let the number of followers get you down.


About Steve Grogan

I am 40 years old, divorced, and a father of four kids. I am a practitioner of a self-defense system called wing chun kung fu. My other hobbies include writing, playing guitar, reading, watching movies, and listening to music. Recently I have gotten back into fitness, and this time I am DETERMINED to get the washboard abs...whether my metabolism will cooperate with me or not! The purpose of this blog is to write not only about my hobbies, but also about whatever crosses my mind, whether it is something I don't understand or something that aggravates me. So join me as I indulge my tendency to think too much about topics that don't usually cross anyone else's mind!
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