Never, ever make the common-but-ignorant (and for musicians, Berserk Button) error of using "crescendo" when what you mean is "climax", e.g. the egregious "It rose to a crescendo". NO. That is WRONG. And a musician within earshot may well give you a dope-slap for it (verbal or physical, depending on said musician's genre). Crescendonote Italian: "I wax, I grow greater" refers to the process of getting louder - which may, but doesn't have to, culminate in a climax (it could instead fall away in a decrescendo.) Ravel's well-known Bolero is one great twenty-minute crescendo. For you rock fans, "Stairway to Heaven" is pretty much one as well.
Marilyn Manson is a band, and the lead singer's stage name (not even his parents still call him Brian Hugh Warner, and he does not answer to it, so you don't get to call him that). They are not "devil worshippers", Marilyn Manson (the man) did not have any ribs removed, was not on The Wonder Years, is not dead and does not ever kill animals on stage. The one time someone suggested he hurt a cat in an interview, he shot them down and told them that he likes cats, and in fact he has a pet cat (formerly two, but his ex-wife took one in the divorce) named Lily White. Oh, and all of the band is male. Even if Twiggy Ramirez doesn't always look it. Although the fandom generally doesn't mind if you think that Twiggy and Manson are together, because a fair portion of them agree. Also, their second LP is Antichrist Superstar. Not "Anti-Christ Superstar" or "Anti Christ Superstar" or "Anti Christ Super Star". Blaming either the man or the band for Columbine is a surefire way to be flamed to oblivion. The Columbine killers hated his music.
That famous Lynyrd Skynyrd song with the long guitar solo? It's called "Free Bird", not "Freebird". Diehard Skynyrd fans WILL correct you.
Luca Turilli's first album is King of the Nordic Twilight. The tenth track on said album is "Kings of the Nordic Twilight". Remember this if you do not wish to be set on fire.
Quiet Riot's song "Metal Health (Bang Your Head)", or "Bang Your Head (Metal Health)". Calling it just "Bang Your Head" is Tempting Fate.
Do NOT pronounce Yoshiki Hayashi's name as "Yosheekee." Even if the mainstream media almost always does this unless the reporter is Japanese, and even if he tends to ignore it. The best pronunciation for most native English speakers is "Yosh'ki" or "Yoshkey." Neither are perfect Japanese pronunciation, but both are far closer to correct than "Yosheekee."
Calling all electronic music "techno" will earn you death in some circles. It's only swift if you're lucky.
Likewise, dubstep is now the new "techno", becoming more mis-associated with any electronic music that uses harsh leads and drops. The genre itself also an example of a Broken Base by classifying music under this term. It originally described electronic music that contained elements of garage, 2-step, and dub, hence the name. Dubstep's association with huge drops and wobbly bass came later, when it somehow crossed over with the drum & bass scene. However, in practical terms, it can all be called dubstep in certain contexts. Just don't tell people at the Dubstep Forum (or other diehards of older styles), how Skrillex makes awesome dubstep.
Calling all electronic music "disco" will reveal that you're trolling intentionally.
Calling an electronic music event a "rave" around EDM enthusiasts, particularly those who dislike the term's connotation with illegal drugs, is a very bad idea. And for that matter, do not insinuate that all EDM parties/events/etc are drug-fueledorgies of debauchery and the music is meaningless.
Phil Collins was not a founding member of Genesis (the band having released two albums and going through three drummers before hiring him); claim otherwise around Genesis fans, and prepare to get laughed out of the room.
Don't ever refer to Lana Del Rey as Lana Del Ray. The Lana fandom will tear you apart if you do and you will have the label as a Ray for a really long time.
Refer to the band as "he" and prepare to be laughed at. This was actually referenced in their song "Have A Cigar":
Oh by the way, which one's Pink?
Saying your favorite song is "Dark Side of the Moon" will most likely make the fan you're talking to Face Palm. There is no actual song with that title. The penultimate song of the album, called Brain Damage, contains the line "I'll see you on the Dark Side of the Moon" and is often played together on the radio with the following song named Eclipse, leading some people to believe that it's one self-titled song. Or they might be talking about the singles from the album (Money, Time or Us And Them).
There is no song called "The Wall" on the album of that name. The song in question is called "Another Brick in the Wall (part 2)", and shares its names with two other songs (parts 1 and 3, natch). It's also often played with "The Happiest Days of our Lives" attached to the beginning, and playing the former without the latter can result in casual fans asking "Why did it start in the middle?"
Even though it's impossible for two people to agree on what emo is, if you call a band emo and it isn't, you're bound to catch hell for it. Special mention goes to My Chemical Romance (who the mainstream considers the codifier for Emo); the fanbase and the band itself are less than happy about the implication they are comprised of stereotypical wrist cutting, Straw NihilistEmo Teens (Gerard Way has had a major rant about this). In reality they're pretty much the opposite, albeit in a very dark way.
There are many fans who do not like Freddie Mercury's first name being spelled with a Y at the end.note His birth name was Farrokh Bulsara, so to some people it doesn't matter. The reactions will range from a gentle "*Freddie, please" to flaming you from heaven to earth.
Calling Freddie Mercury gay will undoubtedly lead to legions of fans correcting you that he was bisexual. It's best not to talk about his sexuality or the circumstances that led to his death, either.
If you're discussing Mozart with any serious classical fan, don't make the mistake of mentioning how Salieri poisoned him. Amadeus plays quite fast and loose with historical fact; it was never intended to be a Mozart biopic so much as just the film of Shaffer's play. No reputable Mozart scholar out there thinks Salieri poisoned him or plotted against him; in fact, the two men actually got along quite well (save for a brief dispute arising from an alleged attempt by Salieri to sabotage The Marriage of Figaro) and greatly respected each other. Salieri also had nothing to do with either the commission or the completion of Mozart's Requiem. And by the way, Salieri wasn't the talentless hack portrayed in the movie. In fact, he taught Beethoven and Schubert and was one of the most successful composers of his time (even if his popularity died down after his death).
Fans of Muse have sometimes been critical of the name being written as "MUSE" just because the logo is all caps.
Melvins fans will get angry if you refer to them as a grunge band.
Don't call into a classic rock station and request "The Who's Teenage Wasteland". Not only will they not play it, but they may come to your house and work you over. The title is "Baba O'Riley."
The genre is called "country music" or "country"; it hasn't been "country western" since the 1960s. Using the "western" tag automatically identifies you as a non-fan, and is nothing short of a Berserk Button for fans of the genre.
It's Mötley Crüe, not Motley Crue. The dots are important. However, most English (North America and the UK) computer keyboards don't have an umlaut function, and not too many people know the "alt + numberpad combo = special character" feature; several North American keyboards, especially on laptops, don't even have numberpads. So this is considered at least somewhat forgivable. Since they're ëxtränëöüs ümläüts that were basically chosen because the band liked the way they looked in "Löwenbräu", this comes across to non-fans as a bit precious.
Led Zeppelin is a band — not a solo artist. Saying "Yes, I like him" will mark you as a poseur by hardcore fans.
Led Zeppelin's fourth album does not have a title. Call it "the fourth album" or "the untitled album", and you should be fine. In some circles, calling it "Led Zeppelin IV" or "Four Symbols" will give you away as only a casual fan. Call it "the Hermit Album," "the one with 'Stairway to Heaven'" or "Zoso" and you will be held beneath contempt. Casual fans might take a bit of ribbing if they say "Zo-so" instead of 'Page's Symbol.'
Naming John Williams as your favorite "modern music" composer is likely to get you dissed by most serious classical music fans on its own. Same with Danny Elfman, or Andrew Lloyd Webber, or any modern film/Broadway composer, but John Williams is a huge Berserk Button since so much of his music is directly-copied from, if not heavily influenced by, older works.
Likewise with confusing the "classical-crossover" genre (i.e., people who blend classical music with pop genres, like Vanessa Mae) with "contemporary classical music" (i.e. music by modern-day classical composers, like Steve Reich, Pierre Boulez, Philip Glass, etc).
If you refer to a well-known song, especially one involved in Memetic Mutation, by its catchiest lyric, there is a very good chance someone will swoop in and insist you refer to it by the "proper title", which is usually much less known and thus does a poorer job of conveying which song you're talking about.
Spelling the band's name as "Mettalica" won't get a nice reaction.
Or writing it as "MetallicA", just because the logo draws the bordering letters bigger.
Also, whatever you do, do NOT refer to the Load and ReLoad albums as "metal." Some also make this case against St. Anger, even though metal is probably the genre it best fits into (whether it's good metal is another matter, of course...)..
Referring to any member of the Backstreet Boysexcept Kevin Richardson as a "former Backstreet Boy" is an instant Berserk Button trigger for BSB fans.
Never EVER wonder out loud how many bass drums Iron Maiden 's Nicko McBrain uses while drumming. The answer is one.
DragonForce's famed song fromGuitar Hero is "Through The Fire And Flames". "Through The Fire And The Flames" is a lyric from said song. Also, ZP was ZP's actual first name, not initials.
On the Band Geek side: Gorramnit, people, trumpets are NOT the awesome ones with the slides!!
Calling every wind instrument a "horn," calling saxophones brass instruments (despite being made of brass, they're actually woodwinds), or confusing a Sousaphone with a tuba.
Drum corps do not have woodwinds, so please don't call them "bands".
If you don't know who wrote the song, you probably shouldn't guess. Saying something like "I love 'Here Comes the Sun'! It's my favorite song by Lennon"note George Harrison wrote it (or any other song with the incorrect songwriter) could earn you ridicule from a die-hard fan (to give an example, even Frank Sinatra never heard the end of it after he called George Harrison's "Something" his "favorite Lennon-McCartney song"). Likewise with who sings it; while their Liverpool accents might make them all sound the same to more casual fans, hardcore Beatlemaniacs usually have no trouble telling their voices apart.
Saying with a straight face that Yoko was the sole cause of the break-up of The Beatles. At the very least, it will expose you as a newbie or casual Beatles fan, someone who hasn't spent a lot of time diving into their history. If you had, you would know it's clear that, while John focusing more on his relationship with Yoko and bringing her into the studio certainly exacerbated things, the biggest culprits were money problems, particularly the disagreement over whether Lee Eastman or Allen Klein should handle their finances, and the ever-common "Creative Differences".
Do not ever call the group Gorillaz "Gorillas", or even worse, "The Gorillas".
Calling Richard Wagner a Nazi or his music "Nazi music". While Richard Wagner was a virulent anti-Semite and his music was beloved by and used as propaganda by the Nazis, Wagner himself died before Hitler was even born. There was no way he could ever have been a Nazi. (The Nazi stuff, and how much Wagner's anti-Semitism influenced his music tends to be Internet Backdraft territory among Wagnerian opera lovers anyway, so they are touchy about it.) Also, don't confuse valkyries with Vikings, whatever you do. Friedrich Nietzsche, who had been an anti-Semite himself before he reformed and had been Wagner's friend, eventually renounced him as well.
"Wagner contaminates everything he touches – he has made music sick."
Do not call Rammstein Nazis or fascists. Not only will you mark yourself as an idiot who can't even go and look up the lyrics if you don't speak German, but one who also is likely just racist towards Germans in general. Especially because they're rather more conventional left wingers (although most of their songs are apolitical), which is quite different from Nazis, who would typically fall under the lowest quadrant of the political spectrum. Oh, and don't mispronounce the band's name, the fangirls and David Lynch will rip your limbs off.
Also related to the above, do NOT imply that 311 is affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan (K is the eleventh letter of the alphabet, 3 Ks, get it?). The band's normally laid-back fanbase will tear you a new one.
Rap in general:
Don't insinuate that all rap music is "gangsta" rap and bitches-and-whores rap.
Don't be surprised when someone bursts into a tirade that Hip-Hop and Rap are completely and entirely different forms of music that have absolutely nothing to do with each other. The usual distinction? Hip-Hop is whatever that person happens to like, whereas Rap is whatever they don't like. In other words, Hip-Hop is the good stuff, while Rap is the bad stuff. Or the other way around, depending. For the record, the actual distinction is a technical one: rapping is something someone does with their mouth. Hip-hop is a genre of music. They are often paired (rapping over hip-hop beats), but you can have rap without hip-hop (a capella or rap vocals over another genre like rock) and you can have hip-hop without rap (instrumental tracks, or singing instead of rapping over hip-hop beats).
The name of R.E.M.'s 1986 studio album is Lifes Rich Pageant, with no apostrophe. The missing apostrophe came from one of Michael Stipe's notorious typing errors, and the band decided to run with it instead of correct it, thus making the "incorrect" version the official title.
When listening to Yuki Kajiura's music, saying that it's in a familiar language will get you a facepalm. It's her own made up language. And don't ask for a translation either, because the individual words don't actually mean anything. It's essentially just gibberish. Even worse than asking is answering the question with "it's in English/Japanese/Latin/any combination thereof". Dozens of angry Kajiura fans will rush to correct you.
Vocaloid, like Touhou, has the classic "what anime is this from?" At this point, though, it's happened so many times (both intentionally and not) that it's usually just laughed off. A more dangerous error is to refer to the characters as a "band" or "holograms." This will make fans assume you're too clueless to know that the concerts are only a tiny part of the fandom, and gullible enough to believe that the characters' concert appearances are actually holograms (they're just projections on a transparent screen, but at some point a news article wrongly called them "holograms" and the misconception stuck).
Don't tag your Vocaloid songs such that only the Vocaloid's name is in the "artist" field, or refer to a song as being made by a Vocaloid and not a producer (for example: saying "'World Is Mine' by Hatsune Miku" instead of "'World Is Mine' by supercell"). Many Vocaloid fans who follow their favorite Vocaloid producers' works don't take kindly to this practice.
The famous song Senbonzakura was originally composed by Kurousa P (aka White Flame) in 2011 and sung by Hatsune Miku. Claiming that it was created by Wagakki Band (known for being Vocaloid fans and covering numerous songs) or that it is actually an old folk song will enrange many fans - it looks like you're trying to take away the merit of the creator just because you're prejudiced against the software and the community.
This mistake's status as this trope became Hilarious in Hindsight when it turned out that the song actually was about the Wrath sinner. It's still not the Wrath song, but it is much closer to it than fans had initially thought.
Better yet, call a post-hardcore or metalcore band "screamo" in front of a fan of actual screamo. That skinny dude with the glasses in the City of Caterpillar shirt? Yeah, he's probably going to try beating you to death.
Whatever you do, don't confuse "skramz" with the second-wave bands labelled "screamo" in the popular imagination either.
John Stump's "Faerie's Aire/Death Waltz" has absolutely nothing to do with "U.N. Owen Was Her?", and attributing Death Waltz to ZUN does not go over well with Touhou fans in the know or John Stump fans. It's a commonly made mistake and the more people try to clear it up, the more people get confused from the mention of both of them in the same sentence.
When speaking to, or near, Kpop fans, it is inadvisable to imply that any member of any group is homosexual just because of their playing Kpop. While many fangirls would squeal, those who aren't into that kind of thing may go on a homicidal rampage.
Jethro Tull is a band. Their lead singer and flutist is Ian Anderson. Get it straight. Historical note there was a man named Jethro Tull in Real Life- an 18th-century agricultural reformer, whom the band was named after.
Slightly more minor: calling them emo. They're pop-punk, though some magazines like Rolling Stone still call them straight-up punk.
Do not mention Leona Lewis's version of "I Will Be" to Avril Lavigne fan, especially since Avril's version of the song is only available on YouTube and special editions of The Best Damn Thing. It might be a good idea just not to mention Leona at all.
Sunn O))) is not pronounced "sunno". It's just "sun".
Since Zedd began dating Selena Gomez, many media outlets have been calling him DJ Zedd, which fans do not like.
Nirvana fans don't really like it when people say that Kurt Cobain's death wasn't suicide. They ESPECIALLY hate it when they say that Courtney Love was the one who killed him.
Don't tell a fan of film, video game, and TV music that it's not "real" music.
Regarding game music: Don't tag your music with the name of the game or the developer in the "artist" field. If the developer is a single person who worked on both the game and the music (including many Doujin Soft creators such as ZUN), you're forgiven.
On Last.fm, putting the wrong kind of data in the wrong fields in general is a major source of grief amongst users and staff, as precisely tagging your listened-to tracks is very important on a site that tracks listening statistics.
Do not spell Charli XCX with an "e" ("Charlie XCX"), or you will be laughed at.
Do not compare Marmozets to Paramore. It's certain to start a war online, and for good reason — The two bands have nothing in common except that they're both fronted by women. Marmozets is much heavier, while Paramore barely counts as rock these days.
During Blondie's peak period of popularity, fans got very upset with casual fans and other people assuming that "Blondie" was the lead singer Debbie Harry and that she was a solo artist. There were even T-shirts with the slogan "BLONDIE IS A GROUP".
Their drummer's last name is pronounced "peert," NOT "pert." In the words of Geddy Lee, take the word "ear" and put a "P" in front of it and a "t" at the end.
Also, it's "why-why-ZED," not "why-why-ZEE." They're Canadian.
Many Fall Out Boy fans will get upset if you refer to Pete Wentz as their frontman. He is their bassist, and Patrick Stump is the actual leader of the group.
If you're around a classical music enthusiast, please don't get "symphony" and "orchestra" confused. A symphony is a piece of music, and an orchestra is the group of people playing the music. It does not help that there are a lot of orchestras that have the words "Symphony Orchestra" or just "Symphony" in their names.