This paper compares social network and tribal theory for their fit with the behaviour of real music communities. These theoretical perspectives are attracting considerable attention as researchers and practitioners search for ways to conceptualise, measure, and interact with communities of consumers. The bases for this comparison are how these perspectives treat community boundary demarcation, communication processes, and the temporal order of events in community creation. Results indicate that social network theory provides a better fit with the behaviour of real communities. These results imply that the a-priori expectation should be that consumer communities conform to the social processes suggested by social network theory. However important exceptions exist for the selective use of tribal perspectives.