The idea of a music snob decades ago used to be considered someone who only listened to more intellectual fare like classical, jazz, or experimental pieces. And even if they may not have entirely understood those genres themselves, they held a self-thought of being part of a culture that apparently would have ostracized those who dared cross over to listen to Top 40 on the side.
While this kind of thinking was the product of a different generation who placed classical and jazz as the only type of music available, you can almost forgive them. Many of those people lived into an era when rock n’ roll intruded into their lives and left them reeling when their children gravitated to something seemingly more primitive and threatening to the staid lifestyle they had before.
Nowadays, a music snob doesn’t necessarily fall under the above, even if you still might find some that way in the arts communities. And even if they listen to everything, they might keep it a secret so they can appear to be a contrarian to what everybody else likes. In other cases, it’s listening to hipper material that not everyone loves. But other characteristics exist that may pin you as looking like a music snob when you don’t intend to be.
When it comes to music snobbery, it usually presents itself organically without the person realizing it.
Complaining About What’s on the Radio and the State of Top 40
One of the first signs you’re a music snob is when you complain about the state of radio today and Top 40 in general. Most people who still remember how good Top 40 used to be do this by default without thinking it’s anything near snobbery. Regardless, when you do it defiantly on a regular basis all over social media or to friends, you may be designated a snob. That’s because those who complain probably secretly like some of the pop hits on the radio today. Even if they’re nothing but ear candy, sock your snobbery away and just admit that Top 40 has always been this way.
You’re Telling People They Should Be Listening to a Particular Band
Do you go around telling your friends and family they should be listening to a band that you think are the greatest thing since the first British Invasion? That band may be part of the 10th British Invasion wave here in America, though they may not be everybody’s cup of tea. This applies to a particular genre where you chastise someone for not liking a genre you think is being shortsighted. This incudes jazz, which still only gets 1% of all record sales and despite truly being shortsighted in its potential reach.
You simply have to remember that music is subjective and nobody should be forced to listen to anything you think they should. All you can do is suggest and hope they take the time to find out for themselves. If they hated what you suggested, don’t chastise them with a comment of “you didn’t understand it.”
Listening to Music That’s Too Obscure for Most Tastes
Just because you’re into the avant-garde, you shouldn’t automatically assume that you’re ahead of everyone else. When talking about your tastes, note that you’re probably a rare breed and not a superior judge in determining quality for the masses. Then again, with some near avant-garde pop sometimes making it into Top 40, you might be able to boast that you were listening to that band first. You’re better off waiting to prove your prescience later.
Showing Off Your Musical Education
This may turn off more people than you think, and it doesn’t matter if you can prove you have a Masters degree in music theory. You don’t necessarily want to look like Harry Connick, Jr. on “American Idol.” While it’s rare to see such musically educative comments on the judging panel, using overly intellectual music theory terms and showing off your music knowledge to prove a point to those who don’t understand may come off as smug.
While I’ve been accused of doing the above based on my own musical education, you have to use it only around those who would appreciate it and not to show off.
You’re overall better off trying to expand your musical horizons in every category so you don’t have to take a stand on a particular genre over another. Even classical and jazz aren’t immune to criticism in their quality, so they almost equal anything else you consider far beneath those genres.