Argue all you like about the quality of music produced in 2012, but no one can deny the truly outstanding beefs to which we bore witness in The Year That Was. Social media has made those dust-ups easier and more immediate, of course; 40 percent of our 10 Biggest Band Beefs Of 2012 started or built steam on Twitter and/or Facebook. (That percentage would be at an even half if either blogs or online poker-discussion forums were considered “social media.”) The other half started either in traditional media or in real life — as it happens, both IRL confrontations included on this list ended in physical violence.
It was that kinda year: A lot of people talking a lot of smack on Twitter; a small handful showing up at the club with a knife or an agenda. Perhaps most interestingly, though, the beefs that claimed our Nos. 1, 2, and 3 spots centered not on petty personal melodramas, but industry-based outrage. These were vocal and heated disagreements whose roots lay in a fundamental philosophical divide over new technology. Laugh all you like about the words and actions of parties on either or both sides — heck, I laughed plenty myself; it’s the best medicine! — but the questions at the cores of those feuds are Big Ones: What are the responsibilities of the artist, the industry, the audience? None of these beefs led to bloodshed, but the revolution’s most explosive moments are likely in its future.
But we’re not here to speculate — we’re here to look back on a year of sweet beefery. So let’s get started. The Countdown kicks off here.