By Denny Bolanos
The College Union Board welcomed blogger and music critic Anthony Fantano to the College to deliver his lecture, “Music Journalism in the Digital Age,” on Tuesday, Oct. 2.
Fantano’s YouTube channel, The Needle Drop, is dedicated to reviewing and recommending new music. He also gave advice to students looking to build an online platform.
Because of his outgoing personality and opinionated content, Fantano has also developed a meme-like reputation on the internet, which he poked fun at during his lecture.
Part of what makes him “meme-worthy” are his many aliases, one of which he brought up during the lecture. He earned the nickname “The Melon” in part due to his large bald head. His many bylines reflect the spirit of his reviews, with names like Badthony Scoretano, Spongethony Bobtano and many more.
Fantano asked the audience upon reaching the stage, “I heard somebody was messing with my laptop. Is that true? I heard somebody put up a meme of a moth,” and true it was.
In the minutes leading up to the lecture, a parody of Kanye West’s recent music video “I Love It,” was displayed via the projectors, reading: “You’re such a fucking lamp, I love it.”
Fantano delved into the new age of music and how music listening has changed over time.
“The dinosaurs are dying,” he said. “How many of you listen to the radio for one hour a day? Two hours a day? Anybody?”
Almost no one in the audience raised their hands. Fantano continued his mapping of the present state of popular culture and content creation.
“Taste has been democratized,” he said. “People have way more choice, way more options than they ever have before.”
While distinct tastes can lead to a diverse array of options, it can also paradoxically lead to a lack of fame and originality, according to Fantano. With too many people vying for the limelight, it grows harder to find a place under the sun.
“It’s easier than ever to start your own thing, but it’s harder than ever to grow,” he said.
Fantano’s journalistic and professional aura began to shed as he reverted to his meme-centric personality so commonly witnessed by his 1.6 million subscribers. Following his lecture, Anthony wasted little time in projecting a second slide show on the screen, this one titled, “BEHOLD: A Lyrical Breakdown of Smash Mouth’s ‘All Star.’”
What ensued was a true adherence to the title of his presentation — the audience was subjected to ten minutes of deep lyrical dissection of the Shrek anthem.
Fantano, who has climbed his way up the social media ladder to fame, gave advice in regards to establishing a presence in today’s saturated media landscape. A slide in his presentation communicated his message: “Three Things You Need to Build an Audience: Consistency, Quality, Identity.”
The floor later opened up for a question and answer session. Joseph Natale, a junior computer science major, asked, “Was there a point at which you thought, ‘Maybe this isn’t for me. I’m not seeing the results I want to see?’”
Fantano reassured Natale that self doubt is just a part of the creative process.
“Yeah, I had that feeling all the time,” Fantano said. “I tried my best to balance it. If you want to build something that has longevity, it does take a while to get there. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not worth it.”