How to NOT Respond to Artistic Criticism

In the world of Entertainment and especially pop music everyone is a critic. Not only a critic but an expert. People speak in absolutes when discussing music. Rather than say the more precise, I don’t like this, people will not think twice about saying, this is bad. But when it comes to art taste is everything and what is bad to one fan is great to another. There is also a tendency to inflate one’s own sense of worth by belittling someone else’s achievement. If you, as an artist, are not actively disliked by some people chances are you will not be very well liked by anyone.

An example is the classic; Beatles verses Stones. In the early days of the British Invasion the Beatles were extremely popular, to say the least. Some people did not appreciate the Beatles, perhaps they resented their popularity or they just didn’t conform to what had passed in the past as acceptable. Some people loved that they were new while others detested their innovations. We’re talking here about young pop fans not the older generation or those too conservative to accept anything new, different or especially, foreign. For those who wanted a band to call their own and didn’t want to be part of the Beatles scene, the Dave Clark Five were the logical alternative.

The Dave Clark Five were another British import right on the heels of the Beatles and very similar in most respects. They allowed entry into the British Invasion scene without having to follow the herd of Beatles fanatics. Then a year later the Rolling Stones appeared. The Stones, unlike the Dave Clark Five, were not a mere copy of the Fab Four formula but a London Blues band that were in most respects vastly different than the original Invasion acts. A lot of Beatles fans felt threatened by the Stones and hated them which helped make them the darlings of the anti-Beatles crowd. Two distinct groups formed; the Beatles fans, and the Rolling Stones fans. The Dave Clark Five dropped off the map.

The lesson is that it is better to be a polar opposite to whatever is currently all the rage than a clone of it. You’ll have a market all to yourself, at least until your own clones start to appear, and the bigger your polar opposite becomes, the bigger you’ll become. There’s an old American Indian saying that a warrior is judged by the strength of his enemies. Another saying is the enemies of my enemies are my friends.
Don’t even try to make everyone happy for to do so will make no one happy. Do what you do and hopefully do it with honesty and authenticity and hold your ground. If what you do has any merit at all it will be perceived as being threatening and you WILL be attacked. I cannot name a single rock and roll band that became huge that didn’t have a group of people that hated it at some point. The term backlash started being used to describe the phenomena of bands developing anti-fans, people who actively protested. Why would anyone take the time and energy to criticize a musical act? But is it an actual phenomenon. People will not only spend a considerable amount of time, energy, emotion and money, not just supporting the bands they love but also chastising and ridiculing bands they hate. Why bother to hate a band? It is only those acts that the fans feel are the polar opposite of their favorite band that accrue their wrath because that band has come to represent something to them. To represent something to the public should be a main goal of all bands but to represent something means having an opposite.

To repeat, if you’re doing anything right you WILL be attacked. Sometimes the viciousness will be shocking, after all, what did you do to them? But take some comfort in knowing that by evoking strong emotions, even negative ones, you are controlling the public and the mere fact that everyone seems to hate you will be a huge turn on for others who will love you for it. If this wasn’t true no one would have ever heard of Punk Rock.

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *