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The original post

Posted by Ganondox on 18.08.2014 at 01:42
...because only fans actually rate them? This mainly relates to new releases, as old releases often have cult status. If a mainstream band releases a new album, I think it's likely to get a lower rating than otherwise because people who are not fans still rate it. For extreme bands, I think a lot of people who aren't fans of extreme music will simply avoid it and thus not rate it all, while extreme metal fans have no qualms about approaching more accessible forms of metal and rating their releases as long as it's still branded as metal (this isn't meant to discredit extreme metal fans, it's just a comment on the natural of extreme music and it's inaccessibility, less extreme metal fans do the same to more accessible rock/pop releases). As for underground music, people who aren't fans simply don't know it exists, so they won't rate it. I think this is how Deafhaven managed to get the highest score on metacritic for 2013, it's because it was generally underground and inaccessible, but still managed to get enough reviews from critics to be considered. It can be seen that the most mainstream reviewer of the album, Rolling Stone, gave it the lowest review, likely because the album clearly isn't targeted towards the Rolling Stone guys, but they decided to review it anyway for whatever reason. Anyway, it's just a hypothesis I have, but I think it could be tested by looking at albums and to see if more extreme/underground albums statistically have higher average scores AND less total scores, and then it would still only be a theory.



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deadone
Mainstream Poser

Posts: 3896
From: Australia

  21.08.2014 at 03:28
Written by Apothecary on 21.08.2014 at 03:19

Written by deadone on 21.08.2014 at 02:25

Goes to show what people regard as mainstream might not actually be mainstream overall even if it might be mainstream amongst fans of that genre.

It's all relative though man. To someone who listens to mostly mainstream metal, a band like Summoning or Be'lakor probably would be seen as underground and obscure since they're pretty off the radar when you're throwing them against some bigger names. But to people who are actively involved in the underground scenes, those bands would probably be seen as "mainstream" themselves since, comparatively, they're pretty well acknowledged within underground metal in general. I've long since learned that the more obscure you go (with any genre of music, really) the more "accessible" and "mainstream" more popular bands seem by comparison.



Thanks for explaining my point a lot better than what I did.
M C Vice
Ex-polydactyl

Posts: 1712

Age: 28
From: Australia

  21.08.2014 at 06:31
Written by deadone on 21.08.2014 at 03:27

Written by john_mcc on 21.08.2014 at 03:10

Quote:

What about Emperor? They have headlined Wacken and been on the cover of both Metal Hammer and Terrorizer (and even on the cover of non Metal publications such as Guitar World), but Agalloch, Ayreon and Pain of Salvation all have more unique listeners than them on last.fm?


Emperor are certainly a mainstream band as are COF, Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon and Immortal. They've had a large amount of exposure in the overall metal community that has in some instances resulted in higher sales (sales are a way of measuring exposure).


I asked some people at work if Emperor are a mainstream band. 11 of 11 had never heard of Emperor.

Could someone actually define what they mean by 'mainstream'?
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deadone
Mainstream Poser

Posts: 3896
From: Australia

  21.08.2014 at 06:47
Written by M C Vice on 21.08.2014 at 06:31


I asked some people at work if Emperor are a mainstream band. 11 of 11 had never heard of Emperor.


I could ask the same question but with Slayer and none of my 10 odd colleagues would've heard of them. Even with Iron Maiden, there's only 2 other people in my office who know of Iron Maiden.

Quote:
Could someone actually define what they mean by 'mainstream'?


I think that's half the problem. To one person something like Five Finger Death Punch is mainstream whereas to another something like Ghoul is mainstream. Apothecary summed up the issue quite well.

My own parameters:

1. Has recognition in mainstream metal press (e.g. Metal Hammer, Blabbermouth, Revolver etc) and warrants a 4-6 page article in something like Terrorizer or Decibel. An observable measure.

2. Has reasonable sales volume. I'd say generating 3,500-5,000 album sales in first week in USA is the lowest I'd go. Usually this results in a Billboard 200 listing. This one is observable.

3. Headlines reasonably large venues or is given good slots at larger festivals. Observable but sometimes difficult to determine actual scope. One would have to have a good knowledge on various festivals.

3. More casual/mainstream metal fans have heard of them. This one is based on personal experience "in real life" and internet. Hard to measure/observe.

4. Can be signed to a bigger label but this is not a prerequisite as there are underground non-selling bands on big labels.

(Spot the guy who marketing and statistical analysis at university. )
M C Vice
Ex-polydactyl

Posts: 1712

Age: 28
From: Australia

  21.08.2014 at 06:52
Written by deadone on 21.08.2014 at 06:47

Quote:
Could someone actually define what they mean by 'mainstream'?


I think that's half the problem. To one person something like Five Finger Death Punch is mainstream whereas to another something like Ghoul is mainstream. Apothecary summed up the issue quite well.

My own parameters:

1. Has recogintion in mainstream metal press (e.g. Metal Hammer, Blabbermouth, Revolver etc) and warrants a 4-6 page article in something like Terrorizer or Decibel. An observable measure.

2. Has reasonable sales volume. I'd say generating 3,500-5,000 album sales in first week in USA is the lowest I'd go. Usually this results in a Billboard 200 listing. This one is observable.

3. Headlines reasonably large venues or is given good slots at larger festivals. Observable but sometimes difficult to determine actual scope. One would have to have a good knowledge on various festivals.

3. More casual/mainstream metal fans have heard of them. This one is based on personal experience "in real life" and internet. Hard to measure/observe.

What about radio airplay?
Anyway, I still say there's a grey area between mainstream and underground. And I agree that region plays a large part in it, too.
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deadone
Mainstream Poser

Posts: 3896
From: Australia

  21.08.2014 at 06:58
Written by M C Vice on 21.08.2014 at 06:52

What about radio airplay?


Here in Australia, metal as a whole is virtually non-existant on commercial radio and even youth radio ala Triple J (2-3 hours of metal per week in one show). You occassionally get radio play via volunteer community radio stations but it's pretty low too. (I was a presenter on community radio - did a 3 hour show for years).

Don't know whether they play metal on radio in other countries.

Quote:
Anyway, I still say there's a grey area between mainstream and underground. And I agree that region plays a large part in it, too.


Totally agree.


An article on what is underground - apparently easier to define in old days than today. The internet confused the situation by making even the most little known band accessible to everyone on the planet.


http://www.deathmetal.org/news/what-is-the-underground/
Un-Born Again

Posts: 78
From: USA

  21.08.2014 at 07:41
Written by deadone on 21.08.2014 at 06:58


Don't know whether they play metal on radio in other countries.




I've heard Iron Maiden
Megadeth
Metallica
Slayer
Pantera
Judas Priest
Dio
Tons more as well.
Also back in the day the same station use to play stuff like Sodom.
Bands with a bit more gutteral vocals late at night.
Not satellite radio either. Local stations.
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I'm going hungry
Ganondox

Posts: 355

Age: 18
From: USA

  21.08.2014 at 08:30
Written by deadone on 19.08.2014 at 02:28

Written by Ganondox on 18.08.2014 at 20:58


I agree in the since that the more developed ones tastes in music are, the more likely they are to seek out bands and thus come across underground bands. Those who are easily pleased have no need to seek out underground bands.



I disagree. I actually found trawling through the underground irritating. I'd listen to dozens of albums to find one good one. A lot of it was clones of more mainstream stuff. The true gold nuggets were rare. I figured out why seek out a third rate Kreator/Morbid Angel/Helloween clone when I can just listen to Kreator/Morbid Angel/Helloween. This is obviously for traditional genres - Thrash, Death, Power, Heavy.

I don't doubt there's good stuff out in the underground. And for some less known/less popular genres it's the only place to go. But for someone like me, I get far more enjoyment out of established mainstream acts than underground clones.


Despite you disagreeing with me, I actually agree with your sentiments that most the underground is derivative shit, but I have the same sentiments about the mainstream as well. There is great bands in either group. However, the further away from the mainstream you go, the wider representation of sound there is. There are generally minimal requirements to becoming mainstream, for better or worse. The point I was making is not that you would prefer underground to mainstream music if you have refined taste, but you would search for more bands of the sound you desire, and thus likely come across more underground bands.

Written by krrrrebets on 20.08.2014 at 01:19


On the actual topic I think underground generally receives more constructive criticism. Sure, there are some raw black metal nerds who fall for every band which recorded a "badass" terribly produced demo in 1994 and disbanded the same year, but I think (more) mainstream bands receive more irrational hate than underground gets irrational praise. Some dislike the changed sound or stagnation. Some just hate them because underground acts get less exposure. Also fanboys may distort the ratings to an opposite direction for popular acts. But really poor material, even if the band is underground, will get the negative reviews as well if someone is willing to give them some.



I think they do as well, but for different reasons. With underground bands you feel more intimate towards them, so your constructive criticism is more likely to be heard instead of just thrown to the wind.

Written by deadone on 21.08.2014 at 06:58


An article on what is underground - apparently easier to define in old days than today. The internet confused the situation by making even the most little known band accessible to everyone on the planet.

http://www.deathmetal.org/news/what-is-the-underground/


This article is half extremely informative about what underground was like in the past, and half pretentious BS rooted in underground elitism biased towards extreme metal in particular, at least he admits metal doesn't have the only underground. The commentary on Deafhaven is particularly terrible.
Ganondox

Posts: 355

Age: 18
From: USA

  21.08.2014 at 09:28
Written by Diverge on 19.08.2014 at 17:58

I think I may have exaggerated a little bit regarding the underground/exteme distinction that you make. Good point regarding the overlap of the two genres, which I do share. My point is that putting extreme metal and underground metal within the same series of general arguments seems a little strange to me, because no, in general extreme music is not necessarily the same as underground music. Your post does show some awareness that music can eventually become mainstream, though, so I can't really complain. My apologies.


Glad we got this cleared up, sorry for not being more clear.

Quote:

You already confused me with the extreme/mainstream distinction with this series of arguments. I was going to say you couldn't bring up sales because it wasn't a meaningful parameter for extreme music, but then you later implied that your first argument was ONLY for underground music. Most of the time you use the distinctions well enough for me to follow, but this paragraph completely lost me. Anyway, for underground bands, you'd really need to find some way to measure and quantify the Internet traffic for the band of interest (the far more significant parameter of interest because people don't buy albums anymore). Data about how many people attend shows is probably meaningless because *almost* everyone likes a good underground show; if you polled most of the showgoers in my town after a band, they'd probably give the night a 90%+ rating. This is pretty hard to formulate if you're looking for statistically significant correlations, and your problem is that you're ignoring many vital aspects of underground music if you judge it by some sales-correlation. Many bands don't even have their best albums in print any more, for example, for reasons beyond their control, and so that will obviously bias the data. Forgive me if I just don't understand the science behind what you're considering- I might very well be obfuscating something perfectly coherent. But my opinion is that you can't really talk about this with any kind of scientific formality- you're not going to be able to formulate anything to develop statistically significant correlations, and the best we can do is some kind of crude average (although admittedly a method far less crude than what I proposed earlier). As for your extreme music argument, that method doesn't make any sense to me.

Again, sorry for not being more clear. Well, it's impossible to get a completely accurate model, so you get as close as you reasonably can. Internet traffic would probably be the most valid, but it's easier to get an accurate/precise measurement of CD sales as it's a single quantity of a specific thing. Google results might work, but it can easily be thrown off in many different ways. I guess something like Last.fm which tracks how many unique users listen might work best. Anyway, yes, it's impossible to get a perfectly accurate measurement, so you just do what you can, and once you get enough evidence without being refuted you make the hypothesis a theory, or you reject it. You can't make it a theorem. As for extremity, same procedure, just the number is subjective rating of heaviness rather than album sales or whatnot. The reason someone else rates it is to keep the rater blind to avoid bias in the rating. Maybe multiple people should rate it's heaviness, and an average be taken, to reduce bias a single person may have. Anyway, you can scientifically work with subjective information like this by using statistics, that's what psychometry is all about.

Quote:

You seem to think that extreme metal fans are more adventurous than they actually are, which is not substantiated whatsoever. There's a significant number of extreme metal heads that just stick within their familiar style of music and don't go beyond it; again, it may not seem that way on MS because the underground metalheads are more vocal and prominent, but I think a lot of extreme metalheads just don't bother downloading/bandcamping the things that just don't appeal to them to begin with. Unless you're seriously into reviewing (a sizable minority of the metal population, I'll grant), you don't really care about things that don't appeal to you. I know what I want to listen to and I know I'm not a fan of most types of power metal, NWOBHM, etc. and so I just don't listen to them. So yes, one side of your effect is grossly exaggerated. I see metalheads used to extreme metal converge and pan the modern efforts of bands like Alcest, Morbid Angel, etc., but I think it's safe to say the band deserved to be panned in that instance. Even though I like Alcest, I can't really make a spirited defense for their cause most of the time.


Yeah, extreme metalheads can be pretty restricted in their tastes, I'm well aware of that. I was just thinking that extreme metal fans would be open to less extreme metal as they likely listened to it before they gotten into extreme metal, but I see the flaw with my logic. On a sidenote, I don't think Alcest's recent album is in anyway bad, it's pretty good, just moving further away from metal to more pure shoegaze, though I do prefer their earlier material.

Quote:

As for the mainstream fans not wanting to check out extreme metal, I agree with you to some extent. I think if you have less than ten ratings on an extreme album, the rating might not be within one standard deviation of the mean you'd get if you averaged the rating of all other metal websites/forums. If you get more ratings than that on a site like MS, you're probably already converging on the mean, imo. So below a given sample size (which I estimate to be about 10), your effect might be seen, but above it, I highly doubt the community is going to continue having such an inflated rating. Eventually some albums reach a critical point at which people comment things like "I don't get the hype for this album", and this division only makes the album more appealing for other people to trying.


I did terrible in my statistics class because I just hated it, aced the test though, so I'm not sure about this, but I don't think it's that likely anyway for a sample of ten's mean to be within one standard of deviation of the population mean, though it may go both ways. If it only goes one way on the average of all of these albums with a small amount of ratings, there is some sort of bias. Yeah, I think this is something where, if it happens, it really only happens when there is a small number of ratings, likely too few for it to make the top 20.

Quote:

I would say MS is exceptionally mainstream, although maybe it is growing a little more underground these days. By "a little", I mean that 2-3 of the 20 top albums might be unheard of for longtime metalheads. I've been here since at least 2009 as an on-and-off member, and most of the albums from MS in 2009 and 2010 could be easily found at my local HMV store. This is remarkable, because my local store doesn't really have a lot of metal selection to begin with. This isn't really the most effective argument since it's based on my own limited experience, but I think it's safe to say MS is very mainstream to this day. In the top 10, the only band I don't really recognize is Empyrium, but the band has been quite noticeably hyped on MS. I will concede again that my argument wasn't the strongest one possible, though. I haven't replied to all of your claims, but I've tried to develop some that will get the conversation flowing forward.


It's far more mainstream than sites like metal archives, but I wouldn't call it exceptionally mainstream as I know a bunch of other metal websites which are more mainstream. Anyway, there are 8 bands on the list right now I'm not sure if I know them or not (3 in the top 10), but I've only been a metalhead for like four years and don't think I've ever actually been in a HMV store, so I can't saying anything more on that.
M C Vice
Ex-polydactyl

Posts: 1712

Age: 28
From: Australia

  21.08.2014 at 09:56
Written by Un-Born Again on 21.08.2014 at 07:41

Written by deadone on 21.08.2014 at 06:58


Don't know whether they play metal on radio in other countries.




I've heard Iron Maiden
Megadeth
Metallica
Slayer
Pantera
Judas Priest
Dio
Tons more as well.
Also back in the day the same station use to play stuff like Sodom.
Bands with a bit more gutteral vocals late at night.
Not satellite radio either. Local stations.

Excluding Triple J's weekly show (which I haven't heard for a few years and rarely listened to anyway since I want to be asleep by the time it comes on) I've heard Metallica, Faith No More (if you want to include them, and only 2 of their songs anyway) and VERY rarely Black Sabbath. Plus Deep Purple, Led Zepplin and Def Leppard if you include them, too.
Most radio stations in Brisbane sound the same, anyway.
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GO THE SHARKS!

"I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "How does he know what I'm thinking?" Well I know everything, and so does your internet service provider."
M C Vice
Ex-polydactyl

Posts: 1712

Age: 28
From: Australia

  21.08.2014 at 10:00
Written by deadone on 21.08.2014 at 06:58

Written by M C Vice on 21.08.2014 at 06:52

What about radio airplay?


Here in Australia, metal as a whole is virtually non-existant on commercial radio and even youth radio ala Triple J (2-3 hours of metal per week in one show). You occassionally get radio play via volunteer community radio stations but it's pretty low too. (I was a presenter on community radio - did a 3 hour show for years).

Don't know whether they play metal on radio in other countries.



I meant do you consider being played on the radio to be a sign of a band being mainstream?
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GO THE SHARKS!

"I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "How does he know what I'm thinking?" Well I know everything, and so does your internet service provider."
deadone
Mainstream Poser

Posts: 3896
From: Australia

  21.08.2014 at 10:11
Written by M C Vice on 21.08.2014 at 10:00

I meant do you consider being played on the radio to be a sign of a band being mainstream?



Yes I would though it would depend on radio station. A small community/college radio station with 100% choice by presenter is a vastly different kettle of fish that is a mainstream radio station with set playlists.


I used to play shitloads of underground stuff but wouldn't regard that as significant cause we had limited listenership (probably in the dozens if that).
M C Vice
Ex-polydactyl

Posts: 1712

Age: 28
From: Australia

  21.08.2014 at 11:06
Written by deadone on 21.08.2014 at 10:11

Written by M C Vice on 21.08.2014 at 10:00

I meant do you consider being played on the radio to be a sign of a band being mainstream?



Yes I would though it would depend on radio station. A small community/college radio station with 100% choice by presenter is a vastly different kettle of fish that is a mainstream radio station with set playlists.


I used to play shitloads of underground stuff but wouldn't regard that as significant cause we had limited listenership (probably in the dozens if that).

Yeah, I meant the mainstream radio stations. The AM/FM commercial ones, plus the various ABCs.
Maybe we'd better start a new thread discussing mainstream/underground differences. This one is starting to drift way off course.
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GO THE SHARKS!

"I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "How does he know what I'm thinking?" Well I know everything, and so does your internet service provider."
no one

Posts: 2143

Age: 31
From: New Zealand

  21.08.2014 at 11:22
One of the most popular mainstream radio stations in new zealand plays bands like

mastodon
rise against
deftones
tool
social distortion
megadeath
Metallica
rage against the machine
queens of the stone age
offspring
airborne
a perfect circle
black sabbath
pink floyd
alice in chains
...and shit loads more.. it gets boring

...i'm sure there was a metal/rock radio station in melbourne?? maybe not, but there were plenty of metalers anyway hanging at the record stores and things, a few at the corner....good pub the corner
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hipster fag
Ilham
attention whore*

Posts: 2856

Age: 25
From: Morocco

  21.08.2014 at 15:13
You guys are forgetting TV. When I was younger the only source of music for me, in Morocco before internet, was illegal TV hookups. I would never consider anything I have seen on MTV/MTV2/VH1 to be anything less than extremely popular and mainstream. Headbanger's Ball, volume 1&2 anyone?
And it could be easy to find a list of what has been played during certain programmes and on certain channels, there are archives.
BitterCOld
OldBitterGringo

Posts: 12441

Age: 41
From: Paraguay

  21.08.2014 at 15:55
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 18.08.2014 at 12:33

Imo the mainstream albumss get higher ratings than the underground stuff. I am of the opinion that mainstream listeners are more easily pleased than people who dig into the underground.


depends. Mainstream will have a higher level of inflation, but lesser known (more underground) acts can also have higher scores as it is completely possible that they haven't been checked out /rated enough by non-kvltbois (ug fanbois) to balace out the score.

it depends how much attention is drawn to them.

i remember early in my MS time when Naglfar was still (or seemed) relatively unknown... none of their albums had more than a dozen votes and ALL were 9.2 or higher. now most still under <100 votes, but at least the scores have all dropped a full point. (and was also my lesson in "never trust user's ratings. find someone with similar tastes - ozman, deadsoulman* and use them as an analog")

real easy for bands under the radar to have high rankings. of course, that's why a certain amount of weight (ratings) are required before they show up on charts.




(back before you or he went by first names... about a decade ago )
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get the fuck off my lawn.
deadone
Mainstream Poser

Posts: 3896
From: Australia

  22.08.2014 at 02:14
Written by BitterCOld on 21.08.2014 at 15:55

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 18.08.2014 at 12:33

Imo the mainstream albumss get higher ratings than the underground stuff. I am of the opinion that mainstream listeners are more easily pleased than people who dig into the underground.


depends. Mainstream will have a higher level of inflation, but lesser known (more underground) acts can also have higher scores as it is completely possible that they haven't been checked out /rated enough by non-kvltbois (ug fanbois) to balace out the score.

it depends how much attention is drawn to them.

i remember early in my MS time when Naglfar was still (or seemed) relatively unknown... none of their albums had more than a dozen votes and ALL were 9.2 or higher. now most still under <100 votes, but at least the scores have all dropped a full point. (and was also my lesson in "never trust user's ratings. find someone with similar tastes - ozman, deadsoulman* and use them as an analog")

real easy for bands under the radar to have high rankings. of course, that's why a certain amount of weight (ratings) are required before they show up on charts.



This is 100% true.

Look at the MS best rated albums - most have 1-2 votes and they're all 10s:

http://metalstorm.net/bands/albums.php?a_sortby=rating&a_where=b.bandname&a_what=&page=

1 Your Shapeless Beauty - Terrorisme Spirituel (Insoumission Complete) 2001 Studio Melodic death
doom 10 1 - - 8
2 Lilitu - The Earth Gods 1999 Studio Death gothic 10 2 - - -
3 Leiden - Dualité 2005 Studio Electro gothic 10 1 1 - -
4 Thronar - Promo 2003 2003 Studio Atmospheric black
folk 10 3 1 - -
5 Executer - Psychotic Mind 2003 Studio thrash 10 1 1 - -
6 Eciton - Oppressed 2005 Studio death 10 1 1 - -
7 Dark Domination - Rebellion 666 2006 Studio black 10 1 1 - -
8 Perzonal War - The Inside 1998 Studio power
thrash 10 1 - - -
9 After All - The Vermin Breed 2005 Studio thrash 10 2 - - -
10 Striborg - Trepidation 2005 Studio Ambient black 10 1 - - -

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