Why Do People Hate Nickelback So Much? Research Traces It Back to One Pivotal Event

Why do people hate Nickelback so much?
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Today, a Canadian police chief apologized for threatening to torture DUI suspects with Nickelback music.  But that’s just the latest in a long string of jabs.  All of which begs the question: why do people hate Nickelback so much?

It was the most attention that Prince Edward’s Island (PEI) has received in decades. But amidst a torrent of press, the police chief in a tiny Canadian island apologized for poking fun at Nickelback. But the incident begs the question: why do people hate Nickelback so much?

Just last week, Constable Robb Hartlen of PEI town Kensington threatened to torture DUI suspects with Nickelback music. Small town, good times. But millions of views later, and Hartlen said sorry.  “Our post became an international story.  And somewhere in the noise, the message of ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’ was overshadowed by negativity towards the band I said I would play if you did,” he said.

It was another funny moment to distract us from a tumultuous world.  And all at the expense of one of the most successful rock bands of the past two decades.


Donald Trump Likes Nickelback
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But where did all this mockery originate?

Actually, a researcher in Finland has attempted to answer that very question.  The student, Salli Anttonen, poured through 14 years of Nickelback reviews and articles, and recently published her findings.  The University of Eastern Finland student was looking for the match that started the raging forest fire of ridicule, and became a cultural fixture.

“They follow genre expectations too well, which is seen as empty imitation…”

Anttonen’s study, called “Hypocritical Bullshit Performed Through Gritted Teeth: Authenticity Discourses in Nickelback’s Album Reviews in Finnish Media,” discovered some trends in the hate.  The biggest was that this band has been so successful at mimicking the rock genre that they lost any sense of authenticity.

In other words, they excelled at copying everything that already existed, and being super-successful at it.  They were professionally bland.   “Nickelback is too much of everything to be enough of something,” Anttonen asserted.  “They follow genre expectations too well, which is seen as empty imitation.  But also not well enough, which is read as commercial tactics and as a lack of a stable and sincere identity.”

But blandness and formulaic inauthenticity are like dry needles before a forest fire.  Who started the blaze?

The lynchpin: DFS.

According to the report, there’s one event that ultimately triggered an avalanche of ridicule. In November of 2008, Nickelback licenses their song ‘Rockstar’ for use within a furniture ad in the UK. This, according to the research finding, is widely regarded as the beginning of the band’s image collapse.

It was after this point, according to the report, that existing hate and ridicule exploded. Full-blown memes, non-stop jokes, and all-out protests soon became the norm.  It was the proverbial lynchpin that sparked the unstoppable explosion.

Actually, the furniture ad itself was banned because the seller, DFS, exaggerated the size of its sofas. But hey, it’s hard to delete things off the internet sometimes (here’s the YouTube link).  Just keep in mind those sofas aren’t as big as they seem.

Others have questioned the finding. For example, early skits on Comedy Central may have been the bigger reason. And it’s even possible that a separate, US-based spark occurred. Either way, it’s difficult to debate the absolute torrent of anti-Nickelback sentiment that soon followed.

And with that, here are some other major moments of ridicule against Nickelback. With many more sure to follow.

November, 2008.

Nickelback gets pelted with rocks and bottles at a hard rock festival in Portgual, forcing the band to quit after two songs.  The event coincided with the DFS furniture ad.

November, 2011.

Aux Labs develops NickelBlock app to block all mentions of Nickelback from your internet experience.  App goes completely viral, used by millions and spreads to Facebook.

Later that month.

Nearly 56,000 football fans sign a petition to prevent Nickelback from playing the halftime show between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.  The band plays just one song.

Alberta, Canada, 2013: ‘Until Nickelback Took the Stage’

Nickelback refuses to allow broadcast of their charity performance at Alberta Flood Aid, drawing the ire of thousands of fans.  Media starts declaring them, ‘the world’s worst band.’

January, 2016.

Donald Trump aides removes someone carrying a ‘Trump Likes Nickelback’ sign in the audience.  The troll also attended other Republican rallies.

December, 2016

Constable Robb Hartlen of PEI town Kensington profusely apologizes for threatening to torture DUI suspects with Nickelback music.  World waits for next Nickelback moment of hilarity.

97 Responses

  1. Frank

    You left of the pickle getting more friends than Nickelback on FB.

    • Desertrider

      I like their music too, and I’m 62 years young. Don’t understand the haters out there.

      • Jessie James

        I love their music and don’t know why folks have to be ridiculous with thèir stupid hatefilled comments.

      • Anonymous

        They rock l’m in my 60’S and have been to three of their concerts. Kroger has a great voice and they are excellent musicians

        • Anonymous

          I’m sadden by everything I keep hearing about this band. Face it, their good and everyone is jealous.

          • still confused tbh

            I’m still really confused as to why people hate Nickelback. They’re a great band and just because they encompass sounds and styles from different genres doesn’t discredit them as a good band. Kroeger has an incredible and unique voice and I love their songs. Most of my friends don’t like Nickelback for some reason and none of them give me a straight answer when I ask why they hate them. Still don’t know the real answer. I know people have their opinions and not everyone should love them, but imma just go with the explanation that most “haters” like to jump on the bandwagon and really haven’t listened to the music.

          • WHL

            It’s not so much the issue of whether you like Nickelback. The issue is that they are purely a product of the record industry. Their music is completely unoriginal, recycled rock riffs designed to appeal to the average rock audience. It is an insult to the seasoned rock music fan that they think they can appeal to our lowest common denominator. Personally, I heard Nickelback’s genericism right away without even knowing their background story, but sure, you can subjectively like them while still objectively acknowledge that they are an unoriginal, mediocre band designed to do nothing but make money.

    • Starstringz

      Fact is even the worst of Nickelbacks songs had a million more times the talent of all of rap music ever created.

    • Dennis R

      After you read all that ^^^ you still like a band that is a douche to charity?

      • Anonymous

        you realise they did a charity livestream and didnt want publicity for it? thats literally as noble as it gets

    • Anonymous

      I love their music & have seen them live 10 times – each show was different & performances were tops! Haters hate for whatever reason – they are still Canadian & I’m still proud of their music & them.

  2. Lang

    They are better than any of this new crap playing on the radio!

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Got a problem with my spelling? j/k. thanks for spotting that.

  3. Brandy

    I honestly don’t know where all the hate comes from. It has to be more than the bland and boring thing because that label applies to 9/10 of the mainstream industry and has for at least the last two decades. And, besides, since when did “boring” equate with irrational amounts of rage? I find Taylor Swift VERY boring and mundane, but I don’t feel the urge to pelt her with beer bottles or use her overly saccharine and trite music as cruel and unusual punishment.
    Imho, so many people claim to hate Nickelback merely for the reason it makes them feel included. Call it the Bandwagon Effect, but people gravitate towards what makes them feel vindicated and liked. “The cool kids hate Nickelback?” “Me too!!!”
    Personally, I didn’t hate Nickelback and actually really like a few of their songs. I will NEVER not love Lullaby, for very personal reasons.
    If Everyone Cared, If Today Was Your Last Day, Someday, Leader of Men, Savin’ Me, Photograph… I like all these songs. I have no strong feelings about Nickelback either way… I’m not hopping aboard the Internet Hate Machine just because I’m told I should.
    And besides, the one thing I have maintained throughout this hole bizarre kerfuffle: SOMEBODY is buying Nickelback’s music and going to their shows. Methinks there’s a whole lot of “haters ” who have a dirty little secret.
    Smell that? Pants on fire. Pants on fire everywhere…

    • dub

      Rockstar. The release of that all-time garbage song of how well a band (them) has “made it” is the moment. One of the worst “hits” in musical history.

        • NickelCrack

          And you don’t know how to spell the contracted form of “you are.” So, I could safely say “You’re a dumbass.” That’s 2 strikes against you – your affinity for Nickelback, and that you cannot spell something you should have learned in 2nd grade.

          • Ty

            So actually after the you are you put a period inside the quotations mark when the end of the quote can just be ended with a quotation mark and use a period after the sentence since the quote wasn’t the end of a sentence

      • Fan

        How many rap songs are there about “making it” out there? Or country songs, let alone other rock songs. Juke Box Hero? Every rap song not about misogyny? Come on that is a lame reason to hate.

        • Taz

          I don’t think it’s a “lame reason to hate” a song. Personally, if I perceive an artist as being full of themselves and egotistical, I’m more likely to not enjoy them in general, whether it’s a rap, country, or rock song.

    • Darryl

      yeah I’m kinda the same way, I can see some points about them being a rehash of popular rock music. But if its sounds good and makes you want to move, do you really give a shit, I’m not looking for enlightenment in a song, just keep me singing to annoy my sweetie

    • Jessie

      Well said. Not a huge fan but they have some good songs. Forget hating Nickelback; hate the bandwagon

    • Mike

      Jesus, the reason why is because Taylor is a pop star she is suppose to be boring, these guys are a rock band, that is everything rock is, dangerouse, loud, ect, the are bland and safe , the kind of rock middle aged mom’s rock on the jukebox while dancing drunk and woo hooing. Lost in a myth that they still have it after all these years.

    • white dude

      it’s acceptable to hate white dudes, not so with minorities or women

    • Anonymous

      EXACTLY!!! Very well said Brandy!! They’ve made MILLIONS of copies of their albums, but they’re hated? lol SOMEONE is buying their music. 😉

  4. Rudy

    No different than Mozart, Beethoven, Picasso, or heck even pizza –the Italians didn’t invent it. Not that Nickleback is any of these but they hugely successful.

  5. asdasd

    Paul… your articles are so stupid. Always. I don’t remember reading ONE smart article from you. You are being delusional with this Nickelback thing. Nobody hates them, they don’t have so many dislikes on their video (not like Justin Bieber videos for example). I don’t like them btw. but this is just stupid.

    • Chris B

      This is a question i have asked myself many times over the last couple of years. Glad someone actually took the time to figure it out…even though its still a mystery. As for you asdasd, you sound like a prick.

      • Steve

        Agreed. Just saw them in concert and they rocked it. Lead singer does have an ego but who on stage doesn’t. If it sounds good and lyrics are good that’s all that matters. Besides, I think most hate for them stems from the anti-immigrant sentement that exists in the U.S., which has only increased in the age of Trump. It’s not the fact they are overplaying a particular genre, or mocking other rock bands, it’s that they are from Canada. That bothers many people and they use the “same ole rock band” excuse to hide their immigrant issues.

        • TonyTheTiger

          You’re a moron. No one gives a damn they’re from canada. Nice try making this a political thing.

    • Warden Raz

      I hate them. They suck. Chad Kroeger is an arrogant prick. He had the nerve to call Slipknot and Stone Sour Nickelback light. Both bands are more talented and neither band sound like Nickelback garbage. Nickelback reminds me of Creed. Overhyped and overrated.

      • Anonymous

        they took lighthearted jabs at each other and laughed it off, if you think he was serious in that you are braindead

      • Anonymous

        HOW do they remind you of Creed?? Creed has two major hits, Nickelback has…..24!! They are also the 11th best selling band in history. HISTORY!!! Creeds 2 hits were good, but there is no comparison to Nickelback. You have obviously jumped upon the haters bandwagon with nothing left to stand on to back up your hatred. SMH

    • Ross

      It’s become cool to hate them, it’s become so popular to hate them that many people dont even know why they are hating.
      The real reason nickel back sucks is this: the name of the band is douchey for starters. the guys face is lame, he is a total arrogant dorky douche, the songs all sound the same, like generic rock. It’s the exact opposite of a band like nirvana that has sincerity, and originality. the article got that right. They also bought guitar riffs from dime bag Darrel. Which is kinda lame too. They are the epitome of commercial generic shit rock. Even if some of their songs are “catchy”

    • Mike

      You’re stupid they are the biggest meme joke for a ROCK BAND moron, beiber is pop, plus the whole world except you apparently knows bands by YouTube views and likes as a promotion gimmick. Smh

  6. Jim

    Can we talk about how that DFS ad narrator has a (North) American accent? That’s kind of creepy when you think about it.

  7. Bill Me Later

    I don’t get it. I don’t love Nickelback, but I don’t harbor any resentment toward them either. If we are going to crucify a band for “selling out” and allowing their songs to be used in ads to sell things there are plenty to choose from. Seems like old AC/DC songs are being used to sell everything from pick-up trucks to Apple devices. If its that they play the same chords over and over again and most of their stuff sounds the same then that’s AC/DC as well, but I don’t see any haters on them.

    It seems the true dislike stems from being too popular and when a rant starts it is perpetuated by social media. Hell, last night Jimmy Kimmel made a joke about Nickelback and he doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground, like others, he’s just piling on.

  8. fan

    this article contains factual mistakes thus proves itself irrelevant

  9. Notastupidfuckingbrit

    Your “research” is fucking a joke. People started hating on nickelback for the two songs with the same music behind them. Seriously no one fucking cares about a garbage UK ad that THE ENTIRE WORLD HASNT SEEN.. Seriously you must be a dumb fucking brit to think that has anything to do with it.

  10. Dean

    I’ve heard their next gig is at a Holiday Inn lounge in Fargo, ND.

  11. Lord Voldemort

    Those music is good. I like Nickelback and don’t care whether they stole the music or whatsoever but their music is million times better than today’s shits…

  12. Lizzy the great

    I could not stand them long before I found out that many many people felt the same way. However, I am waiting for more to join the hated music scene. Taylor Swift, justin beiber, selena gomez, Miley cyrus, staind. I might have to start my own site

  13. Lou

    People who hate them are the ones that are so insecure about life. They have to join every latest trend in a pathetic display of trying to look cool. Most of today’s artist can’t sing, and unless they jump around, or look like a freak no one will be interested in them. Rock music sucks, the only one close to the great bands of 60s 70s are pearl jam, and chile peppers. Nickel back is ok, don’t listen if you are not a fan leave them alone.

    • Kim

      Just saw Nickelback in a packed outdoor concert in Foxboro Mass. It was an EXCELLENT show and my husband and I walked away bigger fans than before. They thoroughly entertained their fans, not one bottle or can was thrown! I saw people of all ages there who said they LOVE Nickelback; from millenials to a couple in their 60’s. I even saw a few families, moms, dads and teenaged kids. These guys are savvy, talented, handsome, and uber successful musicians. They dont lip sink their shit, and despite what idiots say, Chad is one of the best guitarists I’ve ever heard. (My brother agrees and he’s a professional musician). THAT is why they are hated. Their the epitome of a perfect Rock band. They write, they compose, they perform, they harmonize , they are funny, relatable, band members are good looking, and their songs have a message! They keep their noses clean, you never hear about any members of the band as tabloid fodder . No stints in rehab, jail, or previously deceased band members in their wake!
      They are not victims of their own success! I guess some moronic industry critics define success as the opposite of everything Nickelback epitomizes!

      • Shmoop

        I couldn’t have said it any better!! Not one lie in the whole damn comment!!! Jealousy from haters is just a good indication that they are all poor struggling and inept human beings…quite similar to a blow dryer in a swimming pool…
        Not losing sleep over this…they are the minority…

    • Jeremy

      Pearl Jam and Chili Peppers? You my sir are a moron. There is either an issue with you that you have not listened to any good music at all or you are tone deaf. An enormous list of bands that you must have not been exposed to. Without going into great detail I will just leave one name. Chris Cornell

  14. Sha

    Nickelback has an awesome sound, a terrific look and boy could they play!!! They have the sound of classic rock with a slightly modern twist. If you hate them then you must hat Zeppelin, Moutain, The Who, the Stones, The Doors, that’s just some classics. What about Metallica, Creed…. you can go on and on and on. Give it a break and sit back, pump up the volume and listen.

    • Anonymous

      To compare the nickelback with any of the classics you mention is absolutely ludicrous.

    • John

      To compare the nickelback with any of the classics you mention is absolutely ludicrous.

  15. John

    I don’t get it. I think their music rocks and seen them in concert a couple of times. Awesome band. I just don’t understand all the haters.

  16. Jeremy

    Pearl Jam and Chili Peppers? You my sir are a moron. There is either an issue with you that you have not listened to any good music at all or you are tone deaf. An enormous list of bands that you must have not been exposed to. Without going into great detail I will just leave one name. Chris Cornell

  17. Bildo

    The hatred of Nickelback is more mob-mentality than logic or taste at this point. There aren’t bad. A bad song that made it big? Really? Bad hair?

    That’s the best that anyone can come up with? Grow up.

    They have some good songs. They have some bad songs. The fake hatred of them is just stupid though.

    • Clint

      Highly agree. They are perfect after a way too late night at a bar or something. Whenever you don’t particularly feel great. I know other bands fit this bill, they just happen to do it quite well.

    • Anonymous

      I legitimately hate them. I didn’t need to know what the mob was saying.

  18. Donald

    Lets make Nickelback great again. A great big Nickelback comeback. It will be BIG. Very big. And great. It will be a great, big, Nickelback comeback. And you know what? I will go with my beautiful wife, very beautiful lady, and we will hold up a sign saying “Nancy Pelosi LOVES Hanson!” It will be BIG, very big. And it will be great. So great. We are going to make Nickelback great again.

  19. Anonymous

    I don’t know much about Nickelback. However, Rock Star and How You Remind Me are two of my favorite rock songs of the last 10 years. On that same playlist is Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down, Too Close by Alex Claire, Smooth Criminal by Alien Ant Farm, Tainted Love by Marilyn Manson…

    …and Two Princes by The Spin Doctors.

    Flame on.

  20. Issac

    Too many people are the bandwagon sort. The band is not bad at all. They have a lot of memorable music. People just like to get on board to hate. It is really sad. Throwing bottles and rocks is just pathetic. Grown people acting like children throwing a tantrum. Pathetic.

  21. Kim

    I dont hate this band, in fact, like a couple of their songs, but also dont love them. I think their worst song is “rockstar”. Its probobly the most white trash song played, since anything musical by Kid Rock.
    And, it got me thinking that thats why people may dislike them so much. Not really sure how, but they put off a real jerk face, white trash vibe sometimes. Am i wrong.

  22. Clay

    Actually, people who hate Nickleback jumped on a hate bandwagon. Nickleback didn’t copy a genre anymore than Alice in Chains or any other rock band. Rock is a genre that people like, just like rap. It is a genre that we still enjoy, just as people like classic elevator music. It will be with us one hundred years from now.
    Also, it’s not the commercial. Rock stars of the past have done commercials. Today’s NFL stars do quite well with commercials. Peyton Manning’s “Nationwide is on your side” is a success and actually boosted his popularity.
    Nickleback is hated because there is a mass of people out there who enjoy hate. I like to hate. It feels good. Even more fun is when a hundred million people are on your side because all of the sudden your hate feels justified which feels really good because that makes you justified in your hate.
    As a rock enthusiast for many years, I still scratch my head at the Nickleback hate. They were a good band. True, Photograph was overplayed, but they had other good songs. Anyone over the age of thirty who listens to Photograph is taken back to their past for a spell of reminiscing. If you think nostalgia is a do over of a long lost genre, then you are too young yet to understand. Nostalgia is one of the most powerful drives in music. It’s second only to love songs.
    So go on and hate. I hate rap. I hate it with the deepness of the marrow in my bones. There are only five rap songs that I like.
    I personally believe that Nickleback hate was a conspiracy movement by the music industry to stomp the rock comeback out. I don’t know why they did this. Maybe our governments don’t want us white folks listening to rock because they don’t want to see their kids imitating rock stars, yet they don’t mind black rappers corrupting black communities with the thug life? I don’t know. It’s just my conspiracy, but it might have merit, otherwise how do you get 100,000,000 people to move in unison against rock music? Especially since today’s young people are listening to the older rock songs more than they are listening to today’s music.

  23. Clay

    Also, all music today is just a rehashing of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. There’s no “new” music because there are no new musical instruments. The 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s were unique because we had two new musical instruments, the electric guitar, and electric piano. Almost any combination of tone and beat has been used on tens of thousands of songs. In other words, there isn’t a new tone of beat to use.
    Sorry, but we’ll be stuck with the genre we have for the next two hundred years until another form or type of music is created with new musical instruments. The new music will probably be more futuristic based on sounds made with computers.

    • Guest

      There’s plenty of new music but it doesn’t find huge commercial success because it doesn’t appeal to the masses.

      Most of the stuff I like is performed by highly skilled people that will never win a Grammy. Thank God for the internet and YouTube.

  24. Dixie Deckenheart

    What’s up with people not liking Nickelback? Because last time I checked, I didn’t really see what’s wrong with lessoning to Nickelback anyways

  25. andy

    if you hate nickelback, then youre a moron, new music suck, and you should go kill your self if you like it, well, dont do that, but NEW MUSIC SUCKS, and NICKELBACK IS ACTUALLY GOOD IT HAS BEEN MY CHILDHOOD BAND