In the following article we aim to answer the age-old question: Is Rock Dead?

If so, how dead is it? If not, what’s happened to it and how did it evolve or change through time?

The idea of rock being dead has been like a stigmata on the genre since the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

Forbes says that sometime around the turn of the millennium pop rock was the preferred choice for the big radios and that rock suffered a continuous decline ever since.

Let us look at this in more detail. There are many factors to consider before decreeing that Rock is either dead or dying.

So in order to make this easy to understand let us break down this overarching idea into bite-size chunks. For this we will be looking at different factors which influence the current state of Rock music.

Financial

Let’s first get an overview of the numbers behind the music. For this we’ve cross-referenced several sources which, apart from some discrepancies due to the recency of the data, all seem to say the same thing. Rock is neither dead nor dying. In fact, it is one of the most popular music genres out there, and in some countries the most popular one! However, we do acknowledge that the sources don’t disclose exactly what music groups have been categorised as Rock.

Rock By Country:

Angrymobmusic‘s analysis into the global music market reveals that countries generally have a different music demographic.

In The US:

The one trend that seems to be followed across the globe is the rapid increase in digital sales and the inevitable decrease of the physical.

This is interesting to notice, especially since Forbes argues (with lack of evidence we may add) that digital sales are decreasing! Clearly, someone needs to crack down on guest bloggers.

Anyway, here you can see a steady increase in digital sales. This is great for music in general, including Rock. This makes it easier for bands to get a system together and start making some money which they can re-invest into better equipment and more sophisticated mastering. Thus making it easier for emerging rock bands, like Hadrian to establish themselves on the market.

The US music market is currently valued at £3.65 billions, where 47% of the value is generated by streams. Permanent downloads, physical copies and other channels make up the rest 53%. The US market rocks, literally! Of all the music out there, rock has the highest consumption share of 24% and it’s then followed by Hip-Hop/RnB with 18% share. Although Rock has a smaller share in Streams than Hip-Hop or Electronic music, it makes up for it in permanent downloads and physical copies.

In The UK:

Angrymob’s research reveals that Pop music has finally overthrown the popularity of Rock in the UK – 36% versus 24.3% for singles. However the gap is smaller when it comes to albums – 34.5% versus 33.2%.

This lines up with Statista‘s anlysis which shows a similar situation for the £1.4 billion UK music market. The distribution channels in the UK are, for the most part a carbon-copy of Uncle Sam’s. There is one striking difference though. Vinyls are making a comeback in the UK. The Vinyl market has increased by 64% in recent years, thus preventing, or at least delaying the decline in physical album sales. This is good news for Rock music as physical sales are going strong, albeit for well established bands.

To sum all of this up in a nutshell – Rock is still going strong in both Streams and physical format. Rock is not declining but Pop is becoming more popular, at least in the UK.

Awareness

For this segment, we have looked at several Twitter metrics and Google Trends to establish a key index for the general awareness around rock music. For twitter, we have pulled data from both Tweetreach and Keyhole to ensure data consistency. So that we avoid counting irrelevant posts that have the same keyword,  (like a post about a rock or rock climbing) we have only looked at ‘Rock Music’ ‘Pop Music’ and ‘Jazz Music’ keywords.

Twitter Posts Per Hour

  • Rock Music
  • Pop Music
  • Jazz Music

Engaged Twitter Users

  • Rock Music
  • Pop Music
  • Jazz Music

Estimated Reach

Rock Music 408,852 Reach
Pop-Music 109,789 Reach
Jazz Music 600,898 Reach

Google Trends Data

  • Rock Music
  • Pop Music
  • Spotify

As you can see, Rock generally has always had a bigger share of voice than Pop music on Google. The decline for Rock searches coincides with several factors.

  • The increase in digital sales, that was influenced in 2005 by iTunes.

This was the turning-point for how we listen to music. Naturally, when people are given a specialised music platform to use, they will search for new music on there, and not Google.

  • The increasing popularity of streams (see Spotify in the chart)

Spotify has exploded after 2009. With a slick layout, nearly endless quantities of music and a powerful search interface – this will have translated as another drop in google searches for music.

  • Microniched Platforms

Remember that content is becoming more and more niched on the internet? This again means that part of the searches for music are going onto platforms just the like the you’re on now, or specific forums or subreddits.

Emerging Bands

Another important element to consider before we rush and nail rock in a coffin, are new and emerging rock bands that are popping up around the globe. As you may know by now, we promote rock and metal bands in London – and get them to perform in venues close to you. A prerequisite of promotion is research – so we have done our homework on this one. London’s buzzing with emerging Rock groups that sound like they really mean it, and put their soul and heart into their performance. You may or may not have heard of them yet, but that does not mean they’re not out there rocking people’s socks off! Hadrian is a London based rock group that we are especially excited about. Their music is complex, the lyrics have a meaning and the members have the sort of synergy we’ve seen with The Doors.

Other emerging rock bands out there include: All Them Witches, The Devil and the Almighty Blues, Stoned Jesus, Bong of Cthulhu, Samsara Blues Experiment and My Sleeping Karma, to name a few.

Conclusion

Rock is neither dead nor dying, in fact rock is doing quite well.  Streaming and digital copies make the music more easily accessible worldwide, and to the right audience in a split second.

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