“The Lost Art of Being a Music Snob”

Although I’ve grown slightly–ever so slightly–more tolerant as I age, I confess to retaining much of my annoying music snob habits and attitudes. Having been exposed to so much music for so long, I (and since you’re visiting this site and reading this, probably you), have this smug sense that I hear music better and therefore understand it more than the average person.

We music snobs just can’t help believe that we’re more knowledgeable, have bigger music libraries, wisely curate our collections and are just, you know, smarter and more refined when it comes to anything to do with music.

You, too, could be a music snob if you answer “yes” to the following questions:

  • Do you visit at least one record store when you’re on vacation?
  • Do you get into arguments with record store clerks and other attendees at record shows?
  • Have you ever found yourself short of breath and faint upon discovering a coveted long-lost record/CD
  • Do you find yourself reading Pitchfork and screaming “YOU DON’T KNOW SHIT!” at your computer screen?
  • Is your spouse always complaining about the size of your music collection? (BONUS: Have you ever moved house because of the size of your music collection?)
  • Have you berated someone mercilessly because they maintained “MP3s sound fine”?
  • You agree with this statement: High Fidelity is a documentary.

In short, we (and it’s okay to admit that you’re part of this clique) are insufferable pains in the ass who occasionally deserve a punch in the throat.

However, as this article from Saturday’s Globe and Mail points out, our kind may on the verge of some kind of extinction event.

Snobs derive enormous pleasure from lording their rarefied taste over the great unwashed. And there are no more odious snobs than music snobs, at least as they existed prior to the advent of streaming services such as Spotify.

I count myself among the proud snoboisie, a dedicated follower of the things no one else followed. And the good stuff took some searching. A record collection of rare British imports and good Dylan bootlegs was a mark of refinement and connoisseurship.

This has all changed, of course, with the paradigm shift toward music streaming.

Spotify and the like, with their songs numbering in the tens of millions, are making obscurantism obsolete, and what, I ask you, is the fun in that?

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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