People don’t need to know every song on Vs. to wear a Pearl Jam shirt
As a fan of alt-rock music and legacy acts, I proudly wear band t-shirts — I must own over 50. Everyone who works at the Fulcrum knows about my love of Nirvana, Oasis, Weezer and blink-182 among many other bands.
I personally buy t-shirts of bands I love, but as opposed to many, I don’t go out of my way to discourage people to buy a band’s t-shirt if they don’t know 100 per cent of the artist’s discography.
This attitude is counterproductive and in my opinion, it drives people away from actually listening to the bands that are on their t-shirts.
Imagine wearing a Metallica t-shirt and someone aggressively quizzed you on the album Kill ‘Em All. This wouldn’t motivate you to listen to their music. This would just put you off the band, and make you think that all their fans are greasy douchebags.
As alt-rock lovers, our goal should be for people to discover artists and bands on their own, trivializing them for wearing a t-shirt of an act they don’t know anything about won’t amount to anything. You are not part of a certain select group for liking a band — liking or not liking a band does not make you better than anyone else.
You should not be angry to see someone wearing merch from your favourite band or artist.
If anything, you should thank them for buying a t-shirt with your favourite band’s logo on it. This will help the artist financially. Consider this, many artists are currently reeling for cash — small and big groups are strapped for cash at the moment since they can’t tour due to COVID-19. Given the appalling state of the music industry, selling merch is about the only source of income for a number of artists. More income for artists most likely equals more new music for you.
Chances are that people who buy an artist’s t-shirt without knowing much of their discography, will eventually be beholden by their curiosity and look them up on Spotify to discover their music for themselves. Further to this point, people who listen and enjoy a certain artist’s music are more likely to share this music with their friends and entourage. This will only help grow your favourite artist’s following.
We as music fans do not want to turn away people from our favourite artists’ music, we want as many people as possible to listen to it so we can discuss it with as many people as possible. There is no better feeling than interacting with someone who has the same love for a band as you do, the more people who discover an act the better for this type of discourse.
So get off your high horse and next time you see a person wearing the t-shirt of a band you like just say “cool shirt.” This will most likely make their day and compel them to listen to artist’s music if they don’t. And if they do, you may have a cool conversation on your hands!