February 27, 2024

New Fury Media

Music. Gaming. Nostalgia. Culture.

The music scene has a huge issue. The problem at hand? Gatekeeping.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 05: (FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) (L-R) Daniel Fang, Pat McCrory, Franz Lyons, and Brendan Yates of Turnstile attends the 65th GRAMMY Awards on February 05, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Gatekeeping is defined as this: “The activity of controlling, and usually limiting, general access to something”. This can apply to many things, but few forms of art and expression can embody this word more than music. Especially hardcore, metalcore, and many heavier sorts of music, but it can also be applied to any genre of music as well.

It’s hard for most people to imagine others being upset that bands from the hardcore scene are being represented at the Grammy Awards, or that Post Malone is a big fan of those same bands (and even reps them at his shows). There was even an incident recently where someone on Twitter seemed to be really, really offended that Doja Cat wanted to pursue a musical direction that few would imagine her actually doing.

Generally speaking, the main issue is that certain fans (or worse, even bands) also seem to not want bands like Turnstile and the like to end up experiencing success. Which is strange, because seeing bands like this on bigger stages ends up elevating all of those involved. For example, Knocked Loose is celebrating their 10th anniversary this year by headlining the annual LDB festival in Louisville, Kentucky. Now, they haven’t been nominated for a Grammy or anything, but they are a pretty big band now. I mean, they tour with bands like Bring Me The Horizon, which is wild to think about, but also awesome for the scene.

However, it also wasn’t that long ago that they were a basically unknown band outside of their home state. They gained momentum the more word caught up to their incendiary live shows, though. And other, bigger bands ended up taking them out on tour. Bands like The Acacia Strain, Every Time I Die, and plenty of other names in hardcore and metalcore did this – eventually, Knocked Loose caught fire and are where they’re at now. They’re so successful that memes relating to SpongeBob are being made about the band, so clearly they’ve made it. The same thing can also be said about bands like Code Orange (Grammy nominated), and even the likes of Vein.fm, just to name a few.

Some bands, like Baltimore’s End It, definitely get it. Gatekeeping definitely isn’t a new idea or action, either. After all, hardcore and metalcore genres as a whole have been victims of gatekeeping since their genres were even invented, when those outside of their collective scenes were exposed.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with so-called “outsiders” discovering music like this and even trying some of it themselves. Who knows? It might open up even more eyes and ears to fans of heavier music, and when you consider that rock and metal in general are not the dominant chart-toppers that they used to be, anyone who thinks a band like Turnstile landing a top 30 Billboard 200 debut is somehow a bad thing has to be kidding themselves. These same critics (read: Internet trolls) are often the same ones complaining that new fans discovered bands like The Plot In You and Sleep Token on TikTok. Honestly lame AF.

After all, it’s bands like Turnstile, Knocked Loose, and Code Orange who will eventually pass the torch to younger, developing acts in the years to come. Gatekeeping isn’t even profitable, let alone a net positive of any sort.

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