If you’re an avid Pigeons & Planes follower like myself, the following exchange of dialogue is probably all too familiar to you:
Some friend of yours: “Hey, have you heard of this new artist named “____________”
You: “Yeah, of course! I showed you their music like six months ago!”
Friend: “Oh, I don’t think I remember… I really like that song [insert name of song that has recently gone viral here]
You: *Slightly exasperated but not showing it outwardly because you realize that this is an absurd thing to get upset about* “That’s the exact song I showed you like six months ago”
Friend: “Yeah, true.” *But really thinking* “Look, we get it, man. You spend a lot of time browsing music blogs. You have your ‘finger on the pulse’ or whatever, but to be honest, no one really cares. We all like music, and we don’t care if you knew about it first.”
Look, I’m not saying I want the Grammys to introduce a new category called “Dopest SoundCloud Game,” and I don’t really believe that I had a hand in Chance the Rapper’s success because I told like five people to listen to his music before Acid Rap dropped. I just want a little recognition. Just a little. Maybe I am an asshole.
Each time I try to remind someone that I exposed them to artist before he/she became popular, I end up sounding like an obnoxious elitist, one of those douchebag music snobs who everyone hates. I get called a hipster, as if that word still has meaning. Recently I’ve had to point out that it’s simply inaccurate to call me a “hipster” for vocalizing my early appreciation of Sam Smith and his romantic comedy-friendly pop ballads.
Me: “SAM SMITH MAKES LITERALLY THE LEAST HIPSTER MUSIC IN THE WORLD.”
Friend: “Man, chill…”
I’m completely aware that my grievances here are petty, but this does nothing to diminish my frustration. You see, in my head it’s like I’m a character in one of those corny teen sitcoms. I’m a new student at the local high school and I keep trying to tell the other students about all the dope shit I did back in my home town but no one believes me. Eventually, my continuous attempts to prove how cool I was at my old school end up coming across as obnoxious and forced (a bit like this analogy) and this ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼alienates me from all my new classmates. I just want the recognition I deserve without seeming like an asshole! Is that too much to ask for?! Unwilling to give up on this dream, I’ve developed a set of best practice guidelines for early movers like myself on how to notify people that you knew about popular music before they did… without sounding like an asshole.
1) Avoid stating the fact directly.
Here’s the thing: no one wants to be told that they’re six months late to the party. These days, everyone believes they are a tastemaker and spoiling this delusion for them is not going to elicit anything other than a cold response. Next time, try a more passive approach. As opposed to saying, “Dude! I’ve been listening to that shit for like a year now!” try utilizing your knowledge of the artist’s body of work. Use your superior fandom to reference a more obscure part of the artist’s discography, thus asserting your prior knowledge of the artist’s work without you ever having to say so explicitly. In practice, it could sound a bit like this:
Friend: “Have you heard of this new artist named ______”
You: “Yeah, man. She’s great.
Friend: “I really like that song [insert obvious viral song here]”
You: “Oh yeah, definitely. You should check out the first EP she released as well. It’s just as good”
Friend: “Cool! I’ll do that. Thanks for the recommendation!”
You: “Hey. Random, unrelated question: Am I an asshole?”
Friend: “No, not at all.”
You: “Okay, great. Thanks for verifying that”
2) Pick and choose your battles.
Before vocalizing your status as an early champion of an artist, ask yourself a simple question: is it really worth looking like an asshole for this? Like, if there’s a chance that the artist is going to end up as a lame sellout and/or fade into obscurity, it may not even be worth it. Think about it this way: if you were a huge fan of the Black Eyed Peas’ first two albums and you subsequently made a huge deal about how ahead of the curve you were when they first released “Where is the Love,” you would now have to live the rest of your life knowing that you made yourself look like an asshole for championing the fucking Black Eyed Peas. Not worth it.
3) Post music all over social media.
This way you have proof of how early you were on certain artists. None of that hearsay shit. This may still make you look like an asshole, but an asshole with proof is not as big of an asshole as an asshole without proof. Or something.
4) If you still feel the need to brag, limit the number of times you do so to as few as possible. Keep in mind the following relationship:
5) Go to concerts and cheer extra loud when the artist is like, “This one’s for my day one fans!”
This way, everyone seated around you will know that you were genuinely a fan from day one. That’s how this works, right?
In the event that none of these suggestions are helpful and you’re unable to shake the asshole image, it may be time to reconsider your priorities. Perhaps you’re placing too much importance on these largely inconsequential bragging rights.
Think about it as if you’re a sneakerhead and you just copped the newest Jordan release. Don’t get me wrong; the Jordans are fresh and you deserve to stunt a little, but at the end of the day, the outside world sees you as a guy who took a day off of work to spend 24 hours waiting in line for a pair of overpriced shoes. The more you brag, the more ridiculous you’re going to seem.
It’s important to periodically remind yourself that just because you knew about an artist early, this doesn’t make it possible for you to enjoy the music more than a friend of yours who hears it on the radio six months later. Instead, try being happy that one of your favorite artists has a new fan. Trust me, nobody cares if you heard something first.
If you do still feel compelled to brag about all the music you were early on, just realize that even if you follow these guidelines closely, there’s a good chance people will think you’re an asshole. Welcome to the club.