There are, quite literally, millions of different types of music fans all over the world. From anti-fans to die-hard fanatics and everything in between, each of these fan types have been discussed at length through out the ages, but there is rarely any discussion on what an Omni Fan really is. Articles like Confessions of an Omni Fan written by my colleague Ceefu from hellokpop, delves into the realm of the Kpop version of the Omni fan. However, that isn’t the definition of a true Omni fan as I see it.
To me, an Omni Fan is someone that loves music from across all musical styles, genres, and global regions. Meaning that, as an Omni Fan you have a myriad of music from all over the world, not just centered on one country or part of the world, and consists of globally popular artist combined with a multitude of obscure artists as well. Many Kpop fans are what we call a localized fan. They center their musical preferences only around the music coming from South Korea or South Korean artist, just as a localized JPOP fan would center their preferences to only songs coming from Japan or Japanese Artists.
[Japan] Friendly Lie by Acid Black Cherry (Avex Trax)
On the other hand, you have fans that have worldly musical preferences but remain centered in the popular music trends only. This type of fan would say follow groups like Big Bang from Kpop, Justine Bieber from the US, and The Wanted from the UK. Although all great artists, this type of fan sticks only to popular music and rarely listens to anything else.
An Omni fan can truly be categorized as a connoisseur of all things music. They appreciate music in all its forms, from highly popular Pop, Rock, Religious, and Classical to obscure Indie, underground Hip-Hop, R&B, and even traditional musical artists, and everything in between. The music is the priority to an Omni fan, not how many fans actually like the song. Their mantra: “If I like it, I like it”, is one that helps propagate global cultural awareness.
[USA] Love Scene by SNRG (unsigned)
We as a human race, no matter where we come from, are innately centralized in our cultural awareness. For example if you live in a multi-cultural city like New York or Los Angeles, you will likely be more culturally diverse as apposed to someone like me who was raise in a rural small town in central North Carolina.
Of course by that argument you would assume that I am in fact not an Omni fan, but that is where you would be wrong. Luckily, I was raised by a mother who took pride in teaching me to be more culturally diverse. She always said “Remember, they may look different from you, they may speak a different language from you, they may eat things that are strange, and they may do things you don’t understand; But NEVER dismiss them. Keep an open mind and an open heart, and be better for it.“ This phrase has stuck with me my whole life. Even though I come from an area where the cultural diversity is limited to just a few regions in the world, I have spent my life learning anything and everything about the global cultural world. While I do admit to being more partial to Asian cultures, I have never in my life dismissed any culture for being different.
[China] Les Victoires de la Musique Classique performed by Lang Lang
This belief system quickly found its way into my musical preferences. While I can honestly boast that I have an over twenty-thousand-song personal music library, I can also admit that its most likely one of the most diverse collections I’ve personally ever seen.
My library consists of songs in over 30 different languages and range in any musical style you can possibly imagine. For me, the language barrier has never been an obstacle. I once had a discussion with a music group- based out of DC -about my personal outlook on music, and one of the band’s members summarized me with the following sentence “You have the soul of a musician.” Perhaps that explains why language barriers and cultural differences have never affected my love for any musical genre. Who really knows? I don’t think I will ever be able to explain it for sure, but to be honest I really don’t need to.
For many of you who maybe familiar with my personal outlook on music, I have no doubt you are shaking your heads in agreement right now. My social networking sites display music videos, articles, and news about artists from all over the world, and include artist from genres such as: Kpop, K-Indie, Mando pop, C-pop, Jpop, Jrock, Visual Kei, Religious, R&B, Soul, Underground Hip-hop, mainstream Hip-hop, Classical, Brit Rock, Instrumental, YouTube Artists, and even the occasional Country thrown in for good measure. While many may assume that since I’m in the music news business, these posts are more for promotional purposes; I can’t deny that is a very small portion of my reasoning. When I find an artist I truly enjoy, I innately want to share it with my friends. However, I don’t promote these songs/artists for personal gain. I simply do it for the love of the music.
[Taiwan] Bubai by Vanness Wu (Sony Music Taiwan)
There are two major drawbacks to being an Omni fan, and that I’m afraid is time and availability. There is simply not enough time in the day, to watch/listen to all the great music in the world. As an Omni fan this can be quite disappointing. I am constantly bombarded with text, emails, Facebook tags, and twitter mentions, that say something along the lines of “Hey have you heard this?” or “Have you checked out this group yet?”. Many of my friends/followers aren’t aware of the massive amounts of music thrown my way on a daily basis, and I’m sure they would be quite surprised to know how I deal with it all. I actually keep a on-going Google document that consist of thousands of YouTube URL’s. When a song or video is sent to me, I list the artist name and link in the video’s URL. After I’ve done that, I will like the post (on Facebook) or re-tweet it on Twitter. For the Facebook posts, you can know that I really have watched it when I comment. Until then its highly likely that the song is still sitting in my “Listen List”.
With the age of internet it has become more easy to find new artists and songs via sites like YouTube, but the issue of being unable to add that song to your personal library still remains. Especially when your talking along the lines of unsigned indie bands from around the world. This is the most disappointing part of being an Omni fan in my eyes. Stumbling across a new artist or song, and then spending hours trying to find an official download becomes quite time consuming for the Omni fan and to alleviate this, I set up a separate YouTube account just to keep track of all these great artist and music videos. This particular account, at last tally had some six thousand “liked” videos.
[YouTube] There Goes My Baby cover by Jason Chen, Paul Kim, Travis Graham, and David So
You may be asking yourself, “If being this way is so difficult, why don’t you just stick to one genre?” to which I would answer. “Why in the world would I limit my music experience?”. Music true purpose in this world is to help the listener cope with day to day life. Whether its with a comforting song when your sad, one that makes you get up and dance with pure joy, or even makes you cry- music is the soul of the world. To ignore that soul would be like ignoring my own.
I know that the life of an Omni fan isn’t for everyone, but I can honestly say I wouldn’t have it any other way. Just check out this Music Video for Rainy Night by Rude Paper I stumbled upon today. How disappointed would have I been had I not found this little gem?
[Korea] Rainy Night by Rude Paper (Giant Hive)
With the wealth of music in this world, I charge all of you out there to expand your musical experiences. Give every artist and every song their due respect and you may just find the song that truly epitomizes your life. Since I’m an Omni fan trying to pick an all time favorite artist or song is as difficult as trying to count the grains of sand on a beautiful shoreline. I treat every song with the reverence of looking at a piece of fine art, because in the end that’s what it truly is.
[USA/Korea] Go (acoustic) by Aziatix (Astar Inc.)
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope that through the included videos, you may have stumbled across a new artist for your own personal library.
“To be truly happy one only needs LOVE and MUSIC” ~ Nini.