Reflections : On Importance of Being Important

05May10

How many times were you around people who didn’t understand the music that you raved about? And what about that influential artist? “Seriously, you don’t know Autechre?” “Never heard of Aphex Twin?” How do you convey to a person the importance of being important in this massively tiny underground scene? What if that importance is self-created and is only real in your mind? What if there are only a dozen of people in the world who really understand that?

I know I’ve asked a lot of questions there, and I don’t have the answers. Instead, I invite you to contribute to this thread with your thoughts. And mainly – how do you measure, convey, and support your findings on “importance of being important”. Is it the number of words in a Wikipedia entry under the artist’s name? The number of available seeds in the bit-torrent node? The number of album sales, or people attending the concert? The number of listens on last.fm? The number of votes on rateyourmusic.com? Of course, it’s all very subjective and relative. So what’s your take?



4 Responses to “Reflections : On Importance of Being Important”

  1. 1 Iheardeadsamples

    Maybe we’re doomed to isolation within our audiophile headphones :)

    I manage a LAN of over a 1000 people…and I know for a fact that only 3 people listen to what I’d call “important” electronic music. Very few people listen to electronic in general, if I play anything (house, techno, dubstep, dnb or even autechre) they invariably ask me about my obsession with “trance”!!!!!!!!

    I’ve used all the above indicators (rym, last.fm, torrent downloads) in order to decide whether i should get an album or not…but as you obviously know…all these fail you once you’ve delved deep enough into a genre….or are constantly seeking out new music.

    So maybe the importance is just in our heads…Im just glad some people like you are more proactive about sharing what you consider important!

  2. 2 Laflamme

    You should read La Distinction, by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu : it addresses exactly this question, notably the distinction between symbolic and other forms of capital.

    • Oooh… Will do!

  3. 4 steve

    Excellent post! Yes, I have thought a lot about this myself, with regards to both art and music. Personally, I have a strong sense of conviction when it come to my tastes for both music and art, and would like to think that ultimately, I’m not too concerned about other’s opinions or popularity. However, I think about how the folks creating the sounds (and sights) we love can, in many ways depend on our input to further THEIR output. This can be through financial support, through word of mouth, online exposure, etc. What you do here at Headphone Commute is a prime example of spreading the word about this amazing music. I’m surprised more people don’t chime in, express their opinions, etc.

    I think there’s a psychological aspect too, with regards to exposure. Us humans are very impressionable beings – even the most independent thinkers, and when you’ve got mediocre groups like Daft Punk representing electronic music because of their marketability from the big corporations (and scoring big films like the new Tron, unfortunately), people will believe Daft Punk are “the best” of electronica, when you and I and those who actively seek out new sounds know otherwise. So, with that in mind, it is important for everyone to get the word out about the kind of music you’ll find featured at this site. I find too many electronic music heads are too insular and “cool” – precious even about this stuff. I think it’s time to get over ourselves and make some noise, even in some small way, with regards to electronic music.



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