Is it OK to bandwagon?



A popular term typically used to insult those new to a trend is the word bandwagon. It can be used negatively, or simply just to define something. It’s very possible you may have heard the word used against you at one point, I certainly have, and I’m here to explore its fine line.

Webster’s Dictionary defines it as “a popular party, faction, or cause that attracts growing support - often used in such phrases and ‘jump on the bandwagon.’”

I’ve seen large groups of people flock to a blossoming new artist just like I have myself gone to obsess over one on Spotify’s top charts.

As a new fan, its common to hear a fan with more ‘seniority’ say something along the lines of, “Well, they were better before they got all big and replayed so many times over the radio!” Sentiments like that are hard to disprove when you’re late in the game.

But, the question I pose here is: when is it really bandwagoning?

Getting deep into a new fandom or following a new artist is like the honeymoon phase of a new relationship. It’s all roses and flowers listening to the new music and diving deep to the old, or digging for fanfiction or binge-watching three seasons in a few days. But then, the inevitable. A DM from a former lover, an older fan, something that says, “You don’t know them like I do. We have a bond. I saw them in concert fourteen times.” Or something crazy like that.

Anyway, when I was around nine years old or so, the entertainment world exploded with news of Michael Jackson’s death. I wasn’t raised around his music directly, but as soon I explored his sound, I was hooked. I loved Black and White and They Don’t Care About Us, but the biggest thing was that I wasn’t sentient when he was extremely popular. So what did that mean? Was I just exploring a new interest in a recently deceased artist, or was it entirely bandwagoning?

Nearly a decade later, I realize that I was just exploring. As a child with a new medium such as the internet to rapidly explore new sound and shows, any source or entertainment was at my fingertips. It’s the same thing now.

We all have a right to whatever we want to listen to, and what I’ve realized is that the virality and rapid fame that artists rise to is just simply the spreading of their music by the old fans. It’s all in love and appreciation of the artist’s music or acting.

We shouldn’t bully each other for who is newest to the game, because at the end of the day it’s just good content that we all can enjoy.