WKU POP 201

Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

The Value of Media Engagement, Part 3

Posted by nathanpowers22 on March 2, 2017

I, as pretty much everyone else on the planet does, love music. However, I pride myself on the diversity of genres and artists (ranging from the undiscovered to mainstream superstars) that I enjoy listening to, which is why I found the section of Chapter 3 from Spreadable Media “Valuing ‘Cult’ Audiences” rather interesting. I also value seeking out new music, whether the source is a band from decades past (i.e. new to me) or an up-and-comer yet to be recognized by the mainstream, and every time I come across something I like, there are always fans before me. I bring these things up in order to say that the text makes an interesting point about how “increasingly, the definition of ‘cult media’ describes certain modes of fan participation,” which I think is accurate and appears to be a good model for building a dedicated fan base around a given media text. At the same time, though, is this trend necessarily good for fans (in the music industry, especially)?

Though not as popular as it once was several years ago (good riddance), the term “hipster” has come to be a sort of cultural shorthand for people with niche sensibilities, but with a derogatory connation of pretention and elitism. With social media being able to grant unprecedented visibility to the underground and indie artists people like this love to brag about knowing, tensions arise between such once-isolated “cult fans” and the new waves of support from the mainstream. This conflict indirectly tends to establish a pecking order of sorts where the early adopters, or “lead users” as referred to in Chapter 2, sit above, look down upon, and cast judgment on new fans, or “posers,” “hybebeasts,” “culture vultures,” “bandwagoners,” etc. as lead users often like to call them. While I don’t deny that there are such people that just seek to follow the ebb and flow of social trends, I think this atmosphere can be a bit toxic to listeners that just want to hear something they like and aren’t hearing in other places. As a result, people can miss out on listening to music they’d otherwise enjoy, and the artist(s) can in turn lose potential fans merely due to a snobbish environment created by a select group of devotees.

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3 Responses to “The Value of Media Engagement, Part 3”

  1. I too pride myself on music, even though I’m not as diverse as you. I usually stick to the mostly mainstream. And i don’t really travel into many different genres anymore, even though as I was coming up as a child I did, venturing off into the jazz world, hip hop, pop, r&b, and gospel.

  2. emilychildress329 said

    I am huge on music as well. I love the diversity and people always tell me how widespread my music genres really are. I will listen to almost anything and find myself singing along to them all. I too thought about this stuff as I was reading “Spreadable Media” Chapter 3.

  3. I also have a passion for different genres of music and am not genrally opposed to any either. Being abe to listen to any or every genre of music can greatly expand on relationships and perspectives that many people tend to be reserved to.

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