Guiltless Pleasures: Imagining a Post-Snob World
Beatles vs. Stones. Pop vs. art. Indie or mainstream. Rockist or poptimist. For decades, music culture and criticism has been built on such binaries, with artists trapped in the middle. This panel would explore why, in the era of iPods and infinite access, we still have trouble embracing different kinds of music and musicians as equals, drawing on controversial examples like Lana Del Rey and Nicki Minaj and the arbitrary elitism of sites such as Pitchfork. We'll discuss how the concept of "authenticity" hurts adventurous artists, and how cultural capital and the fear of being uncool are holding us back from becoming truly open-minded listeners.
- Where did the music snob come from?
- In a world where all music is available to everyone, how has the role of elitism changed?
- What makes a site like Pitchfork cover some mainstream artists - Usher, Drake - and not ones like Paramore or Taylor Swift?
- How does sexism play into the treatment of artists like Del Rey and Minaj? Are male artists safer to like?
- Is elitism essential to music culture, or can we transition into a more diplomatic dialogue about diverse artists?
David Greenwald Billboard.com, MTV, others