This just drives me nuts.
First, there isn't an epidemic of people on Facebook claiming to like Joy Division; ~340k people "Like" Joy Division, compared to ~3.6MM for Avenged Sevenfold.
Second, it's an extension of a high school attitude that enjoyment of music is a kind of badge that needs to be earned; not only does it very much matter to Reznor that you like Joy Division and not, say, Collective Soul, but also he's pretty sure you don't really like them as much as you say you do.
Joy Division was a pretty great band. But compared to the landmarks of western culture, they're not particularly Important. You like them if you like them. They aren't a club and you don't need to pledge to them. Reznor has plenty of good reasons to hate social networking services (he has cultivated a particularly drama-heavy collection of fans online), but they are Reznor-specific, not endemic to the whole Internet.
I agree with both you and Reznor's point, actually.
Not sure exactly what I have as the music on my Facebook page (FB blocked in Vietnam, and I can't be bothered setting up a proxy to check) - but if I remember correctly, I filled out my Facebook music tastes in a way that says, "I'd like to go places with this kind of music playing in them if we go out."
Since I travel a lot and connect with people when traveling, lots of people don't know my tastes - so I list music for places I'd want to go to. For instance, I've got Bebel Gilberto listed in my profile - she makes really nice bassanova music, which is softly sung Brazilian Portugese with light music with lots of strings behind it.
I used to listen to bassanova quite a bit. Nowadays, not as much, but I'd be happy hanging out anywhere it's playing. Likewise, I've got some of my favorite electronic artists listed, and some of my favorites from opera and classical.
I actually like Nine Inch Nails, I've got The Fragile on my iPod, but if I remember correctly, I didn't list it down in my music likes. Oh, it's good music, don't get me wrong - I'm just not at the point in my life where I'd want to go hang out at a rock/metal/industrial club.
So you're both kind of right. Reznor says people put it down for signalling value, which is true - I've got my music down partially to signal what parties and bars and clubs I'd particularly prefer to be invited to. You're saying that's kind of a pretentious attitude on Reznor's part - I agree with that too. I think you're both right.
Are you looking at the same internet as I am?
(Reznor's drama heavy fans are Reznor-specific, but drama heavyness in general _is_ the internet, if you look at it the right way...)
By putting "I like Joy Division" on your profile, you're making a statement that you're not a follower, you won't stand for authority, etc, etc.
At least, that's what people like to think.
I think it's ridiculous to try to make such general and vague pronouncements as "Most Joy Division fans on Facebook must be faking it" with nothing to support or ground your statistic in.
You've never listened to proto-punk, have you? ;)
Anyway, I make no judgement about Reznor being right or wrong. I think you're totally right, it's not surprising that 40 years later, a notable band's audience is large.
I think the parent commenter has a valid point.
EDIT: Hah! Turns out Facebook no longer allows this. I just checked my FB profile and it does not list my last.fm profile. It also does not allow me to add it back.
It's not a thing of statistics as much as it is a remark about the culture of being "relevant".
Just wanted to share an opinion on that tangent.
This is simply nostalgia. Some people have always been posers, phonies, narcs, fakers, wanna-bes, tools, charlatans, jive turkeys, bullshitters, etc. I don't think we can blame this one on Facebook.
I mean sure, their success is huge, and lots of people would have a hard time living without FB. But if prostitution or heroine was legal, it also would have lots of success and (more)users. But would we be right to say it's a good thing ?
And yes, voyeurism is not heroine, but it's certainly not a good thing either.
Factory elevated the then-usual record company catalog into a numbering system that clearly established authenticity and intentionality. Also, as it happens, it naturally increases fan collecting interest.
The Factory Records numbers included not just records but all manner of designed items such as concerts and their posters, videos, promotional items and some even more interesting examples.
Reznor limits them to recordings, which does allow the realistic completion of a collection and there are indeed many "Every Halo" fans who have made Nine Inch Nails' old singles unusually collectible.
Apart from the collectibility, it's a simple way of creating a story by putting things in a timeline as well as establishing what's really in the canon and what's peripheral.
FAC 501: Tony Wilson, his funeral, & his coffin
The Joy Division pages on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoyDivisionOfficial?ref=ts [55k fans]
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Joy-Division/108018775886004?r... [260k fans]
The U2 page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/u2 [5M fans]
But it's never going to be the perfect image of ourselves, just as how we project ourselves to two people becomes different than when we project ourselves to one. Just as how we project ourselves to three people becomes different from how we project ourselves to two. And scale up to your 400+ friends on the 'book.
So is every social interaction. We're all obsessed with the matter of authenticity, but every personality is extensively contrived in every social environment. The main difference between online and personal signaling is that our online performances are more scripted and our live performances are more impromptu.
Look at yourself, I bet the version of you that you present to your parents is different to the one you present to your friends, which is different to the one you present to your partner, which is different to the one you present at work, etc.
I think it's much more common for people to avoid listing uncool bands that they do listen to. Guilty pleasures, if you will.
But what can they do about it? It's not like they have access to your youtube play logs or winamp stats or anything like more like that from which to derive "you".
IIRC, there's a last.fm app for syncing your Facebook music section every week to your actual top artists for that week.
He's basically acting like a 45 year old Holden Caulfield. I think he just wishes he was as good as Joy Division.