We’ve all seen it, the clickbait posts.
There was once a time prior to every Slipknot release we would get Corey Taylors’ view on every matter from every available media outlet, presently we are getting inundated with things about Ghost since they found TikTok success with Mary on A Cross, apparently Sleep Token is the next big thing and we know Dave Mustaine was fired from Metallica 40 odd years ago, but for some reason, this story is repeated daily. This morning we learned about what Bruce Dickinson did when Blaze Bayley replaced him in Iron Maiden in slightly more recent times, 1994…
I have noticed these articles are getting two types of engagement. One group of responders are those who read the headline and not the detail and will comment on the headline only, without understanding the context of the headline or the quote in question.
One recent piece I read was about the challenges Dave Mustaine had replacing Dave Ellefson, organising the re-recording of the parts for the new Megadeth album, and then preparing a new line-up for a major tour, all of which anyone who’s been in bands will understand will know will be a stressful and difficult period. This was a small part of a recent interview where Mustaine talked about his success on his recent tour. In this, he spoke about how well the band had done, and he showed a great level of appreciation for the bands he had toured with.
It was an interesting piece, however the headline however simply said, “I know what it is like to have people gunning for me” in reference to how the music press had gone after Dave Ellefson immediately following the controversy, showing some empathy for his former bandmate. The headline let down the article, which was actually a good one, a positive one. Because a large number of those who engaged with the article only read the headline, the response was overwhelmingly negative, assuming that this was again about Dave Mustaine and Metallica, which it absolutely wasn’t.
The other group who comments are those who are sick to death with seeing the same stories recycled by all the major outlets, the attempts to reignite a feud that finished decades ago and people’s opinions on stuff that frankly nobody cares about, just to get certain groups angry.
On the flipside the media outlets will argue, they post and write about this stuff because that’s what people engage with, but it’s almost all negative, whether it is people arguing over whether Sleep Token is the next big thing, how much they hate the latest Ghost single, or a falling out between the members of Journey. But this negative content is pretty much all they write about, and it’s to win at algorithms and not contribute anything substantial to heavy music, or even the debate. They pander to the angry, not the interested. Surely there is something else, something better than just this to write about?
The whole Rock and Metal online environment has been turned toxic, and the music seems secondary to the online arguments and the drama. In the U.K. we call these “Sun” “Mirror” or “Daily Mail” headlines used to get readers angry, and make a cheap political point but have very little substance. While it might generate engagement and a few clicks, it’s not going to be generating album streams, sales, or selling tickets to anyone’s gigs. We know that, as everything is declining.
I do think the silent majority are sick to death of the way things are presently, and do want something new. The media has the power to flip this on its head and to contribute towards growing streams, album sales, and ticket sales but instead, it’s choosing to go for cheap clicks instead. Is it any wonder so many of these outlets can no longer afford to print their magazines?
As I have stated, frankly, the silent majority want something new, the legacy bands are established, and they will always have a growing fanbase, they are not gaining anything from feuds from 40 years ago. People are getting fed up with this style of journalism which is doing a ton of damage to the Rock and Metal scene by encouraging its ugliest elements to continually engage with negative and angry content rather than celebrating the quality of the music, the live performances or the excitement at a potentially good new band. All the good going on is being lost behind the anger aimed at these clickbait articles, and the average music fan just wants something good to listen to, they don’t care about other stuff. These are the people we are turning away in droves by the media continuing to create this environment.
Do we see the same negativity ever being written about what say Ed Sheeran does by the “pop” media? No. Because they promote his music, and the qualities he has as a person, not whether he fell out with a mate when he was 19 while recording a demo. They are making big money with the positive approach. A lot could be learned from that.
While I appreciate that music is subjective, and not everyone will like every band, at the same time we have an absolutely thriving underground Rock and Metal scene here in the U.K. with hundreds of amazing bands which cover every heavy genre, from Hard Rock to Extreme Metal. We have bands with great songs, we have tons of great young bands who really can play their stuff live, they have great attitudes, and their own growing fan bases. There is something for everyone, every generation and every taste. This should be covered, but it is being completely ignored. For me, it’s a shame this is being ignored in favour of promoting negative headlines and feuds from half a century ago, or the latest TikTok success. I think that something needs to change in Metal/Rock journalism that helps promote the good that is happening, and not just focus on the negativity algorithm or trying to benefit from a social media flash in the pan.
That may upset a few influential people, or make me unpopular as a result, but this is how I feel.