Click-bait-y music journalism gets my goat

I don’t normally rant about things I see online- it’s a waste of all our time, but every now and then I see something that I just have to comment on. I was flicking through the headlines in the NZ Herald online this morning and saw this: ‘Two Reasons Yesterday was a Crime Against Music’. It was an intriguing headline, so being baited, I clicked it, and read:

Music historians are in unanimous agreement that Tuesday February 3, 1959, is the day the music died.

To put it as simply and bluntly as I can, they are wrong.

So far, so click bait-y. I was a bit confused though- the headline talked about crimes against music, and then that? Hmm. I read on to discover to my horror that Puschmann was equating a collaboration between artists he didn’t like to being the same as- or rather more important than- the day that three icons of music tragically lost their lives.

How about no?

It’s insulting on so many levels and to so much of the music community to equate the two events. And note I say community rather than industry because the fans are an important part of these events. There are plenty of people in the community that remember first hand the events February 3 1959- including friends and relations of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. ‘The Big Bopper’ Richardson. To say that their loss- that the loss of their fans, their peers, and colleagues doesn’t count as much as some current musical ‘travesty’ is insulting and frankly disgusting.

Oh, and, by they way Puschmann- it wasn’t music historians that termed February 3 1959 ‘the day the music died’ that was singer/songwriter Don McLean in 1971 in his tribute to early rock and roll ‘American Pie’. Also, music historians- especially those of us who deal with the twentieth century- would never say that music died, ever. Why would we want to put ourselves out of a job? It was a tragic event, that was terrible for the musical community, but life and music did go on, and while the directions taken may have differed if those three icons had lived, well, we can only speculate.

The so-called article (and let’s not get me started on the need for proofing and copy-editing!) went on and on about how awful the collaboration between Coldplay and The Chainsmokers was, and then wrapped it up with the so-called travesty of Incubus reuniting and collaborating with Skrillex. I get it Puschmann’s not a fan, neither am I, but there’s no need to be so insulting about their music- or of them personally. That’s not journalism or critique, that’s just being petty and nasty-minded. So far as I could see there was not one actual critique in this ‘article’- merely a lot of insults based on the author’s tastes. Insults not just about the music, but about the groups’ fans as well. I won’t quote, but it was basically along the lines of ‘how could anyone find this appealing’. Well, when you put it that way…nope, again, I’m going to go with no. It’s not cool, or trendy, or even critical (as in critique) to insult a group’s fans. There’s plenty of music I don’t get or don’t like, but that doesn’t mean that I get to dictate to fans of said music how they should react (and vice versa- I know there are tons of people who wouldn’t get my tastes). Such divisions are unnecessary at the best of times… and we currently do not live in the best of times. Sure, acknowledge your dislike, express your skepticism, write a scathing critique, but it is possible to do those without insulting your audience- in fact many of the best music journalists (no matter what genre they report on) do manage to do that.

To finish off this rant I’m just going to leave you with one of the most affecting musical tributes of all time (and my introduction to the music of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper):

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