Opinion: Curiosity killed the ‘true’ fans?



Dan Jenkins

Dan Jenkins

Dan Jenkins is a freshman news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

For the past few years, I have noticed a trend among people who call themselves “die-hard fans” of certain singers or bands. It occurs whenever a new single or album leaks earlier than its original release date and people are freaking out about it.

When this happens, fans tend to separate into two groups: those who listen to the leaked songs, and those who decide not to. But this is not the trend I’m going to address. It’s something within these two groups that I think is extremely ridiculous and childish.

I have noticed that the fans who choose not to listen to the leaked music tend to shame those who have listened to it into thinking they are bad fans, or that they are not “true” fans.

It was really brought to my attention earlier last week. Taylor Swift’s new album, “Red,” released on Monday, but it leaked onto the Internet last Wednesday, supposedly after a Target employee accidentally stocked the store with copies of the album, and someone bought it and put it online. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I’m a die-hard Swift fan, and it has been two years since she has put out a new full-length album of music.

I struggled a lot when trying to decide whether I should listen to the leaked songs. At first, I was going to wait until Monday to listen to the songs, because that’s when they were intended to release, and I didn’t want to ruin the surprise. However, my friend Molly sent me a message on Facebook to tell me about how perfect Swift and Ed Sheeran’s duet “Everything Has Changed” was, so I caved and listened to that song. From there, it was just a snowball effect, and by Thursday night I had heard the entire album.

I do understand where the fans that don’t want to listen to the leaked songs are coming from. There is a definite excitement in waiting to listen to an album you have waited so long for right on the day it comes out. Plus, it’s definitely noble to resist the temptation to listen to it when it is so easily accessible. However, this does not make you a better fan than someone who listens to music when it leaks, nor does it give you the right to put down that person for doing so.

At some point, anyone who wants to hear that song or album will hear it, so what’s the harm in hearing it a few days before the general public does? An argument I’ve seen Swift fans use against fans who have listened to the leaked version of “Red” is “Taylor wouldn’t want us to hear the songs before the release date.” This was said after Taylor released four of the album’s songs on iTunes following the release of “Red’s” first single and after she retweeted a fan on Twitter who loved a song that hadn’t been released yet.

If you’re a real fan of someone’s music, you shouldn’t feel the need to put down other fans, or act like you know when that artist would want people to hear their music.