Why Did Rock Music Decline and Can It Make a Comeback?

Updated on January 19, 2018

There was a time when rock was the dominant form of popular music. The decline of rock began as early as the mid 1960s. By the 1970s, disco had taken over. However, rock still remained a force until the late 1990s. By the 2000s, pop rock was for the most part the only form of the rock that was charting high on the Billboard Hot 100. Pop rock even struggled between about 2009 to 2011 when dance and electro music largely took over pop radio.

Pop radio radically changed again in 2013 and pop rock made a comeback. Electro-rock band Imagine Dragons and pop punk band Fallout Boy enjoyed success on both alternative and pop radio. Indie, folk, and country inspired music achieved pop success as did R&B and funk.

With pop radio embracing more diverse forms of music including pop rock and electro-rock, is there a chance for the guitar driven rock similar to what was popular in the 60's and 70's to make a comeback as well?

Simplistic Arguments for the Decline of Rock

These are samples of responses from a forum that asked the question of why rock music is in decline.

"Music for youth is now about the packaging and the presentation-not the music."

"Today's 'stars' are nothing more than video created characters that rely too much on flashing lights, back up dancers, video editing to make them look like they're actually singing and much much more."

"its all about making lots of money now"

Except image has always been important in music. Rock legends like The Beatles and Elvis Presley were very well packaged. Bands from decades ago like The Osmonds and The Monkees were as much video characters as musicians. The music industry has always been about making money and finding the next big star. Some people like to blame MTV and the rise of the music video. But rock survived well into the late nineties, more than a decade after MTV's arrival.

These are reasons I think rock music may be in trouble.

Demographic Problems for Rock Music

One of rock's problems seems to be demographic. Modern rock music is mainly being purchased by young, white males. Girls and women 40 and under mainly purchase pop music. Despite the success of some later female rockers like 10,000 Maniacs and Alanis Morissette, modern rock still seems to have a problem attracting female buyers. In 2006, the website smartgirl.com surveyed girls around the world on their music taste. While the survey didn't provide percentages, rock only appeared in the other category and that was just a tiny slice of the overall pie chart. Now, it's possible that some rock fans chose alternative (which covers several genres) but this was still less than half the size of the pop category.

In one 2002 survey, 52% of whites versus 29% of nonwhites said they like rock music. Half of all American children under the age of five are a minority. Rap and hip hop have given urban and minority youth the kind of irreverent outlet that rock gave to white youths in the past. The potential buyers for rock music are in decline.

Unfortunately rock, which had it's origins in blues as well as country music, produced few well known African American stars. Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry and Little Richard (and BB King if you include blues rock) are just a few who are still widely known today. The most well known black artists from the past mostly sang soul, R&B and disco. Representation matters. Black, Latino and Asian youth may be less attracted to a genre with artists that rarely or never look like them.

The early fan bases of rock stars like Elvis Presley and The Beatles were heavily female. However, rock stars themselves were largely male. Female rocker Janis Joplin felt that she had to become one of the boys to succeed in rock. Joan Jett also had a very masculine image. Like rap music today, rock was often criticized for having misogynistic lyrics and was considered an aggressive expression of male sexuality. Despite this, women made up a large portion of the fan bases of rock bands.

Groupies were a prominent part of the 1960s and 1970s rock music scene. Groupies were girls, sometimes underage, who would seek sexual contact with members of their favorite bands. Some would actually travel with the band for a time.

So, why have women and girls become much less interested in rock music? I don't know but perhaps the feminist movement is one reason. The overt sexism and masculine nature of rock may have been a turn off to girls raised with ideas of female empowerment. The rise of strong women in pop music, like Madonna, may have made it more appealing to girls and women as both listeners and artists. Perhaps young women could identify more with independent women in pop than oversexed male rockstars.

The modern rock I hear on alternative radio is still heavily male and seemingly mostly white. Rock music probably became too white and too male to remain hugely popular.

Did rock music become too male and too white?
Did rock music become too male and too white?

Rock Has Become Too Serious?

I listen to both pop and alternative radio. Alt radio, of course, plays a lot of modern rock. These songs are often very serious and somber. Rock music wasn't always so serious. Some of it was fun.

Is rock music your favorite genre?

See results

Do you think rock music lacks diversity?

See results

Queen's We Will Rock You, Joan Jett's I Love Rock n' Roll, and The Beatles Yellow Submarine and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (which was about a picture preschooler Julian Lennon drew), were upbeat and fun songs. So, was Third Stone from the Sun by Jimi Hendrix even though the alien involved decided to destroy the Earth. The Pixies have a song about sea monkeys called Palace of the Brine. Both Van Halen, and David Bowie with Mick Jagger covered Martha and the Vandellas Dancing in the Streets.

Perhaps fun rock music is still being made but it isn't being played on my local alternative station, so I'm not aware of it. It looks like pretentiousness has taken over rock music. If a song doesn't have a serious meaning, it has no right to exist. Rock fans decry the death of "real music." This is a turn off to many people who want music to serve different purposes. Sometimes, it should be fun. Sometimes, it should be serious. Sometimes it should be about things we can relate to whether that's falling in love or a painful breakup. Sometimes it can deal with social issues.

Can Rock Comeback?

With radio diversifying, the moment is ripe for guitar driven rock to come back. Just like Avicii popularized folktronica (folk/country/bluegrass mixed with electronic music) on pop radio and Imagine Dragons popularized electro-rock, someone may come along who makes guitar driven rock that can appeal to pop audiences, as well as women and minorities.

Imagine Dragons are having a lot of success with electro-rock

Maybe some already successful artists will bring rock back. Perhaps a group like Imagine Dragons, who are having so much success with electro-rock might be inclined to release some traditional guitar rock to pop radio. Or perhaps Fallout Boy will at some point reduce the pop in their punk and sell a rockier sound to pop radio.

Foster the People are given some of the credit for bringing indie music to pop radio. Adele is given a lot of the credit for bringing back the ballad. I can definitely see pop radio embracing rock. All that's really needed is for someone to break through and popularize it. If other artists can capitalize on their success rock may become a force in popular music again like it was in the 1990s with Nirvana and Alanis Morissette.

Maybe the rock purists won't like the form it takes because it doesn't sound exactly like 60s and 70s rock. These are the purists who consider a group like Linkin Park inauthentic because they mix rock and metal with rap and hip hop. But that shouldn't matter. Music has always evolved and changed and it always will. Great music has always incorporated influences from other genres. I would prefer to see rock change and remain popular rather than become a niche genre like jazz.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Robert 

        3 weeks ago

        I think rock is currently the best it’s been since the 90’s. There are countless incredible new indie rock bands now: nearly all of them female fronted. These young women are the ones who now have the angst, power, passion and creativity. Most new male fronted groups are just plain boring.

        Way too many great ones to list, but some of my new faves include Pip Blom, Soccer Mommy, Snail Mail, Dream Wife and Goat Girl.

      • profile image

        Zack 

        4 weeks ago

        As much as it pains me to say I don’t see rock music coming back anytime soon.

      • profile image

        Mark Mitchell 

        5 weeks ago

        I think most of todays music is super simple same beats with simple rhymes and made up words are easy for the younger people to remember. This and over playing on radio stations are why the rap/hiphop are doing well. Not much talent in the music of today. Anyone can rhyme with made up words and somebody elses beats. Not much timing involved such as rock has

      • profile image

        frank grant 

        7 weeks ago

        rock music will return soon as we finish our debut album

      • profile image

        randalscot 

        3 months ago

        Music runs in cycles. "Rock music" in the classical sense is now an alternative genre for many of the reasons well articulated in the article and other comments, but I suspect its day will come again. A bass, guitar, and drum kit will appeal to the youth again sooner or later.

      • profile image

        Ronnie 

        3 months ago

        Maybe everything that can be done with a guitar, bass and drums has already been done. I would like to see artists use guitars with drum machines and synths for a fresh sound that keeps on. It's the synths and drum beats that are constantly changing in hip hop and pop and rock music may also need to do the same.

      • profile image

        Ronnie 

        3 months ago

        You're Wrong, Grunge itself was not bad, in fact I Iike Nirvana, but what was bad was the type of bands that it inspired, namely post grunge and nu metal bands. The likes of Staind and Creed were really poor versions of Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam.

        I don't think it's healthy listening to that much negativity. It's better to be happy rather than sad. Look at how many Grunge and Nu Metal artists that have deliberately killed themselves compared to the rock stars of the 70s and 80s.

        Rock music just doesn't have any swagger nowadays, where is the next Mick Jagger, Axl Rose, Liam Gallagher? If a rap artist spends millions on a video their peers will laud them, when Guns N Roses were doing the same for Don't Cry and November Rain every other rock artist and the rock media were ridiculing them.

        New music is mostly bought by teenagers and those in their early 20s, these people want swagger in their music.

        I saw an advert on the TV the other day here in the UK. It was for a compilation CD, it was called - 'Now That's What I Call Dad Rock'. It had a lot of bands from the 90s and 2000s on it.That's the way rock music is going.

        Rock festivals in the UK are now being headlined by Pop, Rap and EDM acts. The only rock acts that do get to headline are those from the 80s, 90s and 2000s. None that were formed in the 2010s.

      • profile image

        You’re Wrong 

        3 months ago

        Joan, here is a quote from Kurt Cobain:

        “Although I listened to Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin, and I really did enjoy some of the melodies they’d written, it took me so many years to realize that a lot of it had to do with sexism. The way that they just wrote about their dicks and having sex. I was just starting to understand what really was pissing me off so much those last couple years of high school. And then punk rock was exposed and then it all came together. It just fit together like a puzzle. It expressed the way I felt socially and politically. Just everything. You know. It was the anger that I felt. The alienation.”

        Respectfully, I disagree with Kurt. Led Zep’s more sexually driven songs were pretty shallow and perhaps unsexy, but that is more accurately defined as lust, not sexism.

        Here’s a mixed-race lead guitar player sounding the distress signal with Grunge loomng large. It sums up a lot of our discussion. He never gave up.

        https://youtu.be/nHGbBDwPUL8

      • profile image

        You’re Right 

        3 months ago

        Ok Joan, I understand where you’re coming from. And it’s not just about someone looking like you, it’s also the commercial, financial and social incentive which actually transcends race and gender and also goes into age as well among other things.. Kind of goes back to my original point that the industry does a lousy job investing in Rock acts in the first place, but as an artist you can’t put all the blame there, you have to play and sing from your heart, be true to yourself, and put it out there no matter what. Thanks for the conversation Joan. I really appreciate this kind of thing. ;)

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        3 months ago

        You're Wrong,

        "In your reply you stated “It’s not like people are saying they don’t want to listen to white male acts.” Yet one of the captions in your article literally asks if Rock has become “too male and too white." So which one is it?"

        Both can be true. Someone can enjoy white male artists but also want more than that. I just talked recently to a woman who says her mixed race daughter got into rock at age twelve, was so into it she got an electric guitar, but by age thirteen was complaining that there were no rock artists who looked like her. She still listens to some rock acts, but is less into it. She mostly learns pop songs on the guitar. This is a potential lifelong fan lost because of a lack of diversity. And by diversity I mean all kinds. This isn't an attack on white male acts, which I feel you may be taking it as. It's not to say they shouldn't exist. They should. But other kinds of acts should be allowed to exist as well and I think it's a mistake for labels to ignore that. There's enough room for everyone.

      • profile image

        You’re Wrong 

        3 months ago

        Joan, More important than “is rock too white and too male?” Maybe we should be asking if these guys still trying to understand girls? (Not EMO) One thing I agree with Ronnie about, Grunge and indie rock, critical pretentiousness, kind of turned Rock into a sausage fest. Just like anyone, women don’t want to be treated disrespectfully. That doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in hearing capable rockers sing about relating to them in a way that is respectful and passionate. An example would be a voice and songs like Steve Perry and Journey. In the 80’s a lot of LA metal bands thrived on perfectly executed love ballads that regularly reached the top 40. More currently The Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys have had success. Pretty good as well, but not like those groups of the past.. So, you’re right it’s NOT like women don’t want to hear rock, or white guys singing to them. It’s that these dudes aren’t singing often enough about the right topic in the right way. It’s some kind of male crisis.

      • profile image

        You’re Wrong 

        3 months ago

        Ronnie, some of the most successful Rock bands of all time in the 60’s and 70’s wrote about girls/having fun AND also about personal or social issues. Rock songs always had the option to write lyrics like Elvis Presley or Bob Dylan. After the early 1990’s a lot of people fell into the trap that it had to be one or the other. It doesn’t. Also, both of those scenes were centered mainly in LA and Seattle and had bands with major problems involving substance abuse and various excesses. Both scenes had no trouble imploding all on their own. The Seattle rockers were more personal and serious the LA rockers were more social and fun. At this point I think a few really skilled young groups that could write hit rock songs similar to Journey, Scorpions, Prince, Bon Jovi or Guns n Roses might turn some heads. I think that would be pretty awesome and fun no matter what gender or color. There are some formulas that can be re-used. Many retro artists have been successful and even rebellious in the process.

        Somebody said something about electronic music being a substitute for Rock with instruments. Nothing against electronic artists, but when you take the musical performance away and only compose your music, calling it rock would be a stretch. Electronic music is fine but can we give each style it’s proper respect and not misbrand things?

      • profile image

        You’re Wrong 

        3 months ago

        Joan, In your reply you stated “It’s not like people are saying they don’t want to listen to white male acts.” Yet one of the captions in your article literally asks if Rock has become “too male and too white.” So which one is it? Also, black people have been a demographic minority in America throughout it’s history, and this has not a problem with the most of the music business in about half a century now, yet suddenly when white people move into a smaller demographic it’s a problem? Please enlighten me as to how that is not totally hypocritical. Also, where are the Asians? The Hispanics? Isn’t there more to this so-called diversity than Black and White? Something seems a bit off to me. Also, the claims of white male misogyny in Rock seem a bit dated. You could morph Mick Jagger and Axl Rose together and put them on attitude steroids and they still would probably fall short of 90% of the gangsta rappers that have come out on the misogyny scale, and that was back in the 90’s!

      • profile image

        Myths 

        4 months ago

        I don't mind that rock isn't super popular anymore. All I need is for enough new releases to interest me each year and I'm happy. Metal has been doing that for me. Though maybe with rock not being as popular, there may eventually not be as many kids/teens who get into metal and decide to make new bands, which could be problematic for me. Though I think a lot of the people who produce the metal I like dug deeper than mainstream music to find their influences, so things may continue as usual despite rock/metal not being very popular.

        If you want recommendations of good metal releases made in the past ten or twenty years I would be glad to share. 2018 has been an amazing year for metal so far.

      • profile image

        Ronnie 

        4 months ago

        As the author mentioned Rock music today is not fun music and hasn't been since Grunge came along in the early 1990s. Prior to that Rock music was about having a good time, being cool and macho, just like hip hop today. Rock stars used to wear outrageous clothes and were larger than life characters then they became regular looking joes singing about depressing matters. Rock fans are also extremely arrogant which doesn't help their cause.

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        4 months ago

        Mike,

        Rock will never die. But the question is whether guitar driven rock can return to the mainstream.

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        4 months ago

        You’re Wrong,

        I don't think the issue is with listeners. It's with record labels. They tend to push artists toward areas where they feel they will be most commercially successful. But that creates a situation where people don't see themselves reflected. I don't see that as prejudicial. It's not like people are saying they don't want to listen to white male acts. But if they want to listen to something that reflects their personal experiences and rock isn't doing that, that could lead to a lack of interest. It would be interesting to see how a black rock star singing about black life in America would fare and if that would attract black youth to the genre. If labels aren't willing to take a risk like that, we won't know.

      • profile image

        Mike 

        4 months ago

        ROCK will never die. Get over it.

      • profile image

        Evans 

        4 months ago

        Imagine Dragons aren't rock.

      • profile image

        Tano 

        4 months ago

        Same people say you're right, some say you're wrong.. I gound your article looking gir tge same answer everybody is looking for ..i switch off the radio and use you tube or genre radios to listen to the real music...however I play also postmoder jazz,( jazz version of pop songs)..as the old jazz doesn't suit my tastes..."Keep on rocking on a free world"!

      • profile image

        Umm 

        4 months ago

        Clear Channel/iHeart

        You can find all kinds of articles, going back, about the affect of Clear Channel owning 60% of rock stations, in the US, and programming them all the same. Rock was always driven by local radio and local bands. One area would curate a "sound" and it would take over, but by and large rock music has always been an underground genre. Now local radio markets have mostly plateaued, satellite and Internet content curation is national.

        Do you remember the stories about Sam Phillips and Alan Freed? Motown and Sun Records. A rock subgenre starts out as popular in a region, then it gets discovered by the rest of the world. It becomes mainstream, then several bands gain "overnight success."

        I live in Tucson, AZ. The "modern" rock station is owned by Lotus and still has segments where they introduce new music to be added to the lineup. They still play a lot of music from the 90s-00s but they play the new stuff too. They play what the local area wants to hear. It seems that it's easy to find complaints about ClearChannel/iHeart owned stations only playing a small handful of the most popular modern rock music. The "real music" complaints, from rock fans, doesn't lend itself to rock stations only playing the most nationally enjoyed music. The general populous likes happy sounding, easy to digest, repetitive, etc... and that's not "real music."

        Or you're right.

        Misogyny and masculinity are only acceptable if it isn't coming from a white person.

        Maybe we'll see. iHeart went chapter 11 last March. Depending on how the creditors handle things, it could get broken up and the stations sold or they might have a buying who'll take the whole mess. Hopefully, either way, the new owners might see local curation as one of radio's strengths, and if I'm right about how certain subgenres of rock music go mainstream then we might get another wave. If you refuse to call Imagine Dragons rock music though, you might not recognize it when it does.

      • profile image

        Thom Furd 

        4 months ago

        Kids want their own music. If their parents like it, it's not their music. Whatever comes along that connects with kids that adults absolutely hate, that will be the next Rock. Hip Hop serves that purpose now. But when you see 35 year-olds mouthing the words at weddings, it's the beginning of the end. You can't go back home again.

      • profile image

        You’re Wrong 

        4 months ago

        If you are right and diversity is holding Rock music back and white guys are the only people who relate to it because of everyone’s colective prejudice, then the music business better start looking for the next artist formerly known as Jimi Princess Hendrix right now because the situation appears pretty dire.

        By the way my name is Shaun. I picked that user name satrically, seeing as how it’s the internet and nobody’s really nice here. In real life most people are like euphemisms of our online persona. Maybe call it a “Humephism.” (Hey, I tried)

        https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2018/03/...

      • profile image

        You’re Wrong 

        4 months ago

        If the talent is out there then the business should be bringing it, whether the artists are white guys, women or minorities means little to me, but maybe to others it does. So sure, whatever helps.. Sign some non white male human beings. I will say it’s too bad white guys seem to often be on trial for things most of them didn’t do or never wanted to happen. Maybe that has something to do with things? I’m sure for a lot of folks it does. At least that’s what I feel and observe. I still stand by my previous statement that the commercial failings of Rock music have mostly to do with electric guitars being currently unfashionable to most of the kids. On the social side of it there is a lot I can say, but plenty of others say it better. Here are some links for you:

        https://medium.com/cuepoint/like-it-is-bob-dylan-e...

        https://medium.com/indian-thoughts/on-leaving-the-...

        (Jimi’s aliens were probably right)

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        5 months ago

        You’re Wrong,

        I mean why aren't more modern rock bands household names? Why are they not having top ten hits? Rock is doing well outside the mainstream, as is country. But it's rare for either to reach the top ten. I think music and movies are an apples and oranges comparison. There are only so many big movies coming out in theaters every year. But dozens of albums in all genres are coming out every week. People have more choices and can pick and choose what they listen to more than what they can see in a theater. Notice that television is also far more diverse than movies. Because people have far more options, they have to appeal to more kinds of people. It isn't about obsessing over race and gender. Record labels tend to push female singers who want to pursue rock careers toward pop. I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happens with minorities. It may be in the financial interests of labels to diversify their rock acts to attract more listeners.

      • profile image

        You’re Wrong 

        5 months ago

        I’d also like to add that there is a lot more to music than race and gender. I like music in general, but gravitate toward Rock music. It has extremely little to nothing to do with the race or gender of people who play it. I listen to it because I like the sound enough that I don’t care what sound is fashionable at the time. Validation is nice, but not necessary. People with a certain mental toughness can handle cranking up their unfashionable music in mixed company. LOUD LOUD LOUD. We can obsess about race and gender all we want, but unless we can reconcile it with the fact that we are all individuals it means nothing.

      • profile image

        You’re Wrong 

        5 months ago

        By “mainstream” I’m assuming you mean “why isn’t Rock more prominent on the Billboard chart?” Well, if Hollywood movies or Country music is any indication, it can’t be the race or gender of the performers. Country music stations have done well to incorporate new artists into their programming. Hollywood still essentially worships euro centricity as the gold standard in it’s products. There is no shortage of whiteness or maleness in either of these. Changing demographics hasn’t stood in the way of the latest Avengers or Deadpool movie. I would contend that with Rock music the issue is twofold: Exposure and fashionability.

        First exposure: Rock radio stations have missed out on a ton of hard rock performers in the 2010’s. I will name some names. Sasquatch, All Them Witches, Mos Generator, Elder, Duel, Gary Clark Jr, Torche. Now fashionability: Here are some bands with either female or non white singers that have gotten some airplay: Wolf Alice, Dorothy, Sevendust, Halestrom. Loud distorted electric guitars aren’t fashionable right now. The younger Millennials and older Gen Z kids like elevator music like Glass Animals compared to the Alt Rock from the 90’s and 2000’s.

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        5 months ago

        Corporations sold it because people wanted to buy it. The question is why do people want to buy much less of it than they used to? Rock is still doing very well but it isn't in the mainstream. The fact there aren't a lot of female and nonwhite purchasers of rock music is likely playing a role. That's why I say diversifying rock and bringing in more female and nonwhite voices could change that. But record labels don't seem to be interested in doing that.

      • profile image

        You’re Wrong 

        5 months ago

        Every time I read one of these “rock is dead” articles (really should be called “rock is obscured) the comments section blows up with 100 differerent reasons why. That only tells me one thing: If you heard Rock on the radio back in the day it was because corporations decided to sell it. If you aren’t hearing it on the radio today it’s because corporations decided NOT to sell it. It’s that simple. They were in control all along. Want to do something about it? Don’t listen to the radio, and support LIVE music. Do your reaearch. You can find literally one obscure band from you’re favorite rock sub genre that was part of a festival line up and punch it into any streaming service and you’ll find scores of bands that probably deserve to be on Rock radio. Big media companies don’t care about anything but money and control, not to mention they are tied into all kinds of social underpinnings just like the one in this article. Misogyny in Rock? That died after Grunge!

      • profile image

        i like it all 

        5 months ago

        fed... come on. first of all, disco's "cheesiness" didn't doom it to a short shelf life. It literally evolved into house music, which spawned raves which are a continuation of dance music parties that continue to evolve year after year. From r&b to disco to house to two step and drum & bass, to dubstep to... whatever. rock is badass. it has its own niche and just because it's gone from the airwaves due to pop music's rise in the "song-by-song" era rather than the album oriented and white male dominated classic rock era of radio, doesn't mean it isn't awesome. musicians will play what they love and rock will always have its' students. it's even more special now when an awesome rock project pops up now because it's it off the radar and people are playing it because they love it, not because it's popular. See Royal Blood, Greta Van Fleet, The Sword, Baroness... qotsa of course. every genre has it's awesomeness... even if most of it sucks. give disco a chance buddy. :)

      • profile image

        Federico 

        6 months ago

        I think the problem is better understood once we're mindful of the distinction between relevance and "success". Rock music's place in the Zeitgeist is owed more than just to chart presence. In fact, often it thrived precisely because of it's open defiance to commercialism. One conflates both at their own peril: if commercial success were proof enough of lasting cultural impact, Disco as a phenomenon would be completely inexplicable. It was a massive hegemonic force, but it's repetitiveness, cheesiness and superficiality, not only doomed it to a sort shelf life but also an immediate and serious degree of backlash by any and all, including those who were suddenly embarrassed to have ever participated in it. This should also help undertand the fact that whenever Rock was at the top it wasn't necessarily due to it being at it's most dignified (let's not pretend that Hair Metal and Grunge are an equel credit to Rock's overall reputation). One of the conclusions I draw from this is that, if Rock music has indeed irreversibly waned as a hegemonic cultural force, it's not necessarily for the worse. On the other hand, if it were to make a comeback, it's gonna take more than these pathetic PR-like efforts to merge it's aesthetic with whatever is trendy (if Imagine Dragons is the last ditch effort, Rock music deserves to die a slow, painful and undignified death). Obviously, it needs to innovate (God save us from the legions of revivalist nostalgia acts that have been kicking for at least the past fifteen years!), but that innovation has to come from a place of dignity.

      • profile image

        Curtis 

        6 months ago

        Rock still dominates it's a fact

      • profile image

        Pteronychus 

        6 months ago

        Frankly I don't care if the music is pop or rock. Just the tune and the lyrics has to be my taste and sensible. I stick to four rock bands :Disturbed, Evanescence, Breaking Benjamin and Within Temptation, cause I just feel calm or nice or excited by their music. I'm only talking about the songs, not the concerts because I live in India and I've never been to any concerts. One of the main reasons I don't like pop music much is because they're always so cliched. It's either love songs or partying or drugs or sex. I'm just feeling so damned bored with modern pop music. I'm also afraid that rock is developing those kind of attitudes and that's why I stick to only four bands. If you guys could suggest a new song for me, post your comment on cretoxyrhinamantelli@gmail. com.

      • profile image

        Chris 

        7 months ago

        Rock has been out of the spot light for several years, but in South America , especially Brazil, rock is HUGE, europe, the fans are nuts. They hold the massive sonisphere festive that draws hundreds of thousands. I have lived in Brazil, England, Russia, and Germany and the dominant music is rock. The rest of the world appreciates rock, but the in america the popular music is pop, rap, hip hop. A lot of rock bands tour outside of the U.S. Music today has come to auto tunning, lip syncing and having writers write songs, its what can can make the most money now.

      • profile image

        metalhead666 

        7 months ago

        You 'purists' are the problem!! They are in a box.linkin park's hybrid theory went diamond by riaa. Awesome man. Be happy about it. Support em. Did megadeth ever went diamond?no. When some rock band really popularizing this heavy music support em. I like megadeth,led zeppelin, black Sabbath,acdc etc. But I love bands like linkin park even Limp bizkit. People criticize Metallica for going radio friendly.. F**k off you guys. Their black album,load I love those records as much as I like kill em all and master of puppets. 16x platinum black album!! Why u hate it? You want rock and heavy metal to be underground. I respect those successful bands for making it popular. Look at hip hop fans, Eminem is the best selling artist of 2000s. Yeah rock is dead. It's your fault. Plus we don't like experiments. This is dying because it just Same revolve around electric guitars. ...and satanic image for metal is not scary anymore.Look like rock is made every way it can. Time to move on. Keep up the good work Imagine Dragons... At least they have some songs in billboard hot 100. Up the irons! Good goodbye!! \m/

      • profile image

        KJ 

        7 months ago

        Disney killed rock/alternative

      • profile image

        Corey Donaldson 

        7 months ago

        Interesting article !

      • profile image

        Zeke 

        7 months ago

        Im teen and im am the few who listen to rock because , most people at my high school will hate on you because of your music which is very stupid

      • profile image

        Nikki 

        7 months ago

        " Perhaps young women could identify more with independent women in pop than oversexed male rockstars." That is very very true

      • profile image

        Aditya 

        8 months ago

        Another problem, not really spoken about here is global expansion of listner-ship beyond traditional markets means music being produced is in line with what will sell in these new markets, and in turn, influencing the music that is actually coming out of said markets as well.

        As a massive fan of Hard, classic and Psychedelic rock and being based in India, I would know. I have to say Rock music has taken a nosedive off a cliff in the past decade here and there certainly won't be any music coming from this country.

        The 60-80's produced a first and small audience (like my dad) in India, which in turn got a lot of my generation interested in rock music too. Now ideally this should have been a turning point for aspiring rock musicians from India, who looked to listen into the music coming out from rest of the world to shape their own styles.

        My generation growing up was particularly influenced by grunge, hard rock and metal, and there was a time where bands were exploding out with new ideas, but the larger market moved towards consumer pop, and what could have been a beautiful thing was nipped at the bud as most of the rockers hung up their guitars and gave up due to a lack of listens.

        Now I know this is India specific, but I think that emerge of musicians who are different to what sells in the market is discouraged or simply not financially viable is a common phenomenon everywhere.

      • profile image

        90s kid 

        8 months ago

        As a teenager in the 90's, I saw alternative rock became mainstream :)

        Although most people admired rock acts of the 60's/70's/80's, they detested the hair bands and all their glam. Alternative rock was really in. Grunge, punk, brit-rock, hard-rock, emo, metal really played on radio / TV. Pop was popular but rock was everywhere as well - in the music stores, in concerts, in your neighbour's music system.

        It all went downhill from 2000. Most of the fans mellowed to either country stuff (which is on charts nowadays) or went into the extreme metal scene (pretty much underground everywhere). I found my refuge in atmospheric black metal.

      • nabilahsafira profile image

        nabilahsafira 

        8 months ago

        That's why I'm listening to Japanese bands now. The rock genre is still pretty much alive there.

        You could try Tricot, Ling Tosite Sigure, toe, and Downy for starters. Of course, language is the main barrier for personal enjoyment.

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        8 months ago

        JoeEveryMan,

        A lot of the criticism of misogyny in rap and rock is of songs that treat women like things, or encourage abuse. Think of lyrics like “Turn around, bitch, I got a use for you/ Besides, you ain’t got nothing better to do/ And I’m bored” or “Won’t your daddy be disgusted when he sees your pussy busted?” It's rare for women to sing songs like that about men, and when they do, it's often for parody purposes and to make a point about how music disrespects women rather than to denigrate men. Disrespectful lyrics can be a real turn off for women who don't want to listen to male singers denigrating them or encouraging violence against them.

        As for misandry in entertainment in general, most movies and tv shows are written and made by men. So, men really need to rethink how they negatively portray both themselves and women. Because there are far two many negative portrayals of both men and women in entertainment.

      • profile image

        JoeEveryMan 

        8 months ago

        "Like rap music today, rock was often criticized for having misogynistic lyrics and was considered an aggressive expression of male sexuality. Despite this, women made up a large portion of the fan bases of rock bands."

        --

        That's because it's not "misogynistic", if those songs are misogynistic then it would be fair to call Swift, Rihannna, Beyonce and other female artist who write negative songs about men as Misandrist.

        The reality is the rock and rap stars are writing songs complaining about women the same way women complain about men. Throwing the word "misogyny" around every time you don't like a song written by a male artist cheapens the meaning of actually misogyny. Having said that if we are to redefine the term then I'd argue Misandry is more prevalent in entertainment then Misogyny. It's always men who are being vilified and marginalized in songs and movies. When was the last time you saw a movie full of faceless,nameless disposable female henchmen being brutally killed?

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        8 months ago

        I'm referring to rock in the mainstream and top 40. None of these are mainstream acts.

      • profile image

        Foo 

        8 months ago

        Ridiculous. Go listen to any of these bands and rethink this entire article.

        Greta Van Fleet

        Goodbye June

        Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown

        Order of the Emporer

        Black Country Communion

        Black Pistol Fire

        Blackberry Smoke

        Bully

        Pujol

        Natural Child

        JEFF the Brotherhood

        Diarreah Planet

        Sjowgren

        Moon Taxi

        White Room

        Paves

        False Heads

        BREED

        SHEAFS

      • profile image

        MarkE 

        8 months ago

        I think the best rock was in the 80’s. You had a wide variety of rock bands. There were the hair bands like Poison, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Cinderella, Europe, Twisted Sister, Great White, etc. These bands either wore makeup but they all had one thing in common. They had great videos, a variety of music (ballads, hard rock, fun songs, and pretty much anything that people could relate too.) They were creative and flat out had great songs and also kept the hairspray co. In business. Then there was also your heavy metal bands. Bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Metal Church,etc. These bands played harder and faster but every now and then I needed that music to get me through some days. Some ppl like one or the other types of these bands but I loved it all. The guitar and drum solos from these bands at the concerts were priceless, Then the bands from the 70s blended in like Kiss, AC DC, Rolling Stones, etc. Also there were bands like Night Ranger, Journey, and Loverboy that were more pop/rock but they could jam on the guitar. There was a lot of great guitar, long hair, and variety of bands. All had their own look and style.It was a wonderful decade of rock !!!!

      • profile image

        hairydave 

        8 months ago

        rock is dead. even queen looked old during live aid.

        back in the day everything sounded different, produced differently, unique singers, unique guitarists. every band had a unique style. just sucks today, heard it a billion times, and digital production ruins the vibe. all sucks now.

      • profile image

        The Man 55 

        9 months ago

        Without getting into diversity and any other socio economic reasons, the simple music played now makes money. Less time writing, less dynamic, mixed on a computer, and sticks to the format that works. The average Rihanna single costs 50K to get on the radio. Studio, mixers, songwriters, producers etc. It is a less risky investment to put out the same song, beat, progression, over and over again cause it works. If Led Zeppelin came out right now, they would have followers on spotify, but would never make the radio. Back then people looked for something different, now people look for a hook. A dynamic band in any genre, doesn't have the sources to be mainstream.

      • profile image

        BryanCA 

        10 months ago

        Rock never left ......

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        10 months ago

        Sawyer,

        The listening preference study is a pdf. Unfortunately, it doesn't cover alternative/modern rock (just classic rock and heavy metal), so it doesn't fully relate to the issue of modern rock's struggles. It's helpful though to establish racial preferences for rock overall. This is the link.

        https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&a...

      • profile image

        Diegoborgh 

        11 months ago

        I think the main reason why it’s dead it’s that mostly we’re living better lives now. There was a certain angst in societiy, a disconform and rebellion that produced one of the most extraordinary music. Back then nothing was accessible at out fingertips like it is now. We didn’t have internet. I think Trump may awaken some of that dissatisfaction spirit back, so we may have a chance of having great music again (no pun intended)

        I hate to say this, but when people suffer they create the best music, and we’re happier now.

      • profile image

        Sawyer Wolf 

        11 months ago

        Hi! I was wondering about where that 2002 survey comes from mentioned in the section titled "Demographic Problems for Rock Music" ???

      • profile image

        Heywood Jablome, esq. 

        11 months ago

        There's plenty of upbeat rock, and plenty of depressing pop music. That seems more a matter of individual perception than reality... I mean, compare just about any song by The Weeknd to whatever pap single the Foo Fighters are clinging on with at any given moment.

        Demographics, or representation, isn't likely a huge issue, either. Ed Sheeran - the whitest of white boys to ever white - is HUGE, meanwhile Denzel Curry ("I raise up black fists as black as the Raiders... black to Asian; we the nation of U.L.T.") is only kinda sorta popular to people who spend way too much time on Rateyourmusic or checking out random mixtapes. I feel like it's kind of insulting to assume the vast majority of minorities dismiss something just because a lot of white guys do it (as if minorities are so simplistic and base... and I'm Hispanic/mestizo, fwiw to this rant).

        Nor, do I think, it's the instrumentation itself. I've heard many arguments about how electric guitar is dated... But how many contemporary pop ballads rely on piano as the primary instrument, WAY older than electric guitar? And even sampling/looping/etc... that dates back to at least the 1940s (albeit it was avant-garde back then, but whatever). And again... Ed Sheeran has a number of hit songs where the guitar is prominent. Nor is dance music really a novelty - bear in mind the music that rock replaced was dance music, with mostly feel-good lyrics over syncopated rhythms. Dance music is nothing new - the instrumentation may be new, with roots in hip-hop instrumentation/production, but the idea of some "pop star" smiling/dancing to some syncopated rhythm while they sing? Old.

        Nor was rock always as huge as people make it out to be. Check out the Billboard charts from the '70s... typically, fewer than half the songs any given year were rock (and many of the "rock" songs would fall well into bubblegum territory). In the '90s, R&B was way bigger than rock. People may remember Nirvana, but seem to forget Mariah Carey, Color Me Badd, Vanessa Williams, Boyz II Men, Ace of Base, Whitney Houston, etc... completely dominating the Billboard charts, even at the height of alt-rock. Smashing Pumpkins, one of the legends of rock "at its height", only ever had 1 song break into the Billboard Hot 100 (1979 reached #12). Pop has dominated far longer than people like to think, rose-tinted glasses being what they are. Barring the late '50s-'60s, rock was never the most commercially dominant style of popular music - not in the '70s, not in the '80s, not in the '90s. And now people act like it no longer dominating the charts is new???

        I think the biggest problem with rock is this sort of traditionalism within its audience... this expectation that rock should sound like older music - that newer music should somehow pay homage to that older music, or be qualified in relation to it... this feeling of wanting to stay "true" to something, with everything new being somehow referential to something old. It's the kind of traditionalism/classicism that killed jazz... as it became more rigid in its approach, or any attempt at innovation was seen as needing to reference an older style, it lost any potential to stay relevant; as it became formalized and theorized, it couldn't evolve. The same is true of rock - see: literally any guitar-based video on Youtube (pedal demos, technique lessons, whatever) and how it all relies heavily on classic rock guitarists/their legacy and sound/style/whatever. Though I think rock could still be saved, but rock fans need to be willing to hear/accept something new, rather than keep babbling about Jimmy Paige or Jimi Hendrix or whatever other "Jim"-guitarist. Those sounds from the decades ago? They're from decades ago. Pop and hip-hop don't have that same habit of referencing their own history; when's the last time you heard a pop star talk about trying to stay true to ABBA, or rap star talking about trying to stay true to Rakim?

        Country, interestingly, is older than rock... and yet has made a huge comeback - with guitars, drums, bass-guitar, etc... And people complain that new country doesn't sound like old country, but... Maybe that's why it's still relevant, because it progresses? I don't often hear country stars talking about "staying true" to the styles of George Strait or Johnny Cash (I'm sure they enjoy them, but they don't base their own music on that).

        Rock definitely has an audience out there... kids still discover Pink Floyd and wear Leddy Z shirts, and games like Rock Band/Guitar Hero have at least recently been popular, including with people who are now still teenagers. But when most new rock is either a dull approximation of classics, or watered down into dance pop, why bother? There are some great bands, but they're tough to find.

        I also think part of it is the Age of Producer. As producers have become more vital in shaping sound (producers have become arrangers, many doing EVERYTHING on a track), and rock labels have consolidated, producers are less of a risk than artists. Investing in one producer can assure results with 10 artists, with minimal investment necessary in those artists if a producer - who's proven themselves - is doing all the work in the studio. Fewer variables, more guaranteed sound. Perhaps hence the dominance of samples/electronic music (as it's largely in the hands of producers... as they're less risky than a band with an untested sound, that could implode as a band at any moment). I think rock really suffers from those 2 issues: 1.) a rock band is riskier than a producer and more difficult to develop and market, and 2.) so much rock now is so referential to past genres (be it classic/alt rock or lo-fi indie, or... see: all of the "revivals" of the early '00s) that it's really kinda boring and needs to ditch its traditionalist mentality.

      • profile image

        Jay 

        11 months ago

        There was a wonderous flicker of hope that started in the early 2000s. We saw bands like Linkin Park , Nickel Back & Evenescence give way to other acts such as My Chemical Romance, Him, Taking back Sunday, Hinder and many others. Although not conventional, it was glorious to my ears to here any of these acts vs. main stream "blah-blah" music.

        It all started to change after 09. At first it was gradual but by the end of the Obama era and even still, there is virtually no music. Only "jiggy jiggy whoop whoop shiiit" on the radio. Music is mastered on a mac and lyrics are spewed from lazy lips that sound like the singer is choking on mashed potatoes.

        Aside from a few bright spots, the industry is a wash with mindless drivel. It reflects in their sales. Blame it on spotify if you will. The garbage that is forced on the masses isn't nearly as popular as those doing it to us want us to believe. Look at the best selling albums of all time. Adelle, even Bruno Mars is proof enough that people will pay for real music performed by a talented artist.

      • profile image

        Raze 

        11 months ago

        It's totally dead, a lot of mainstream rock bands disowned their core music and fans.

        This year is the shittiest, all those famous rocks bonds moved to pop because of shithead teenagers.

        They are Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, The Script. Paramore, they all trow their genre to accommodate stupid kids who are fans of K-Pop shit artist.

      • profile image

        EDM Artist 

        12 months ago

        For me personally, before I switched to doing EDM, I was a Rock Musician who used to play the Lead Guitar. I really miss those glorious days of Rock and Metal Music honestly.

      • profile image

        Shaye 

        12 months ago

        Personally, I appreciate every genre and music in general. I hate that people's opinions on what is real music or not interfere with them trying new genre's (i.e; alternative). Why can't we all just realize that music is a huge web of art?

        I love rock music (Deftones, Atreyu, Slipknot, and much more because I primarily love rock music), I love old school rap artists (Eazy-E, Ice Cube, etc) and modern rap artists (Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, etc). Basically, anything that sounds good to me.

        People need to understand not every single song needs to be lyrical, that people listen to music for different purposes. Not everyone is going to listen to a song to get over a breakup, not everyone will listen to a song just to dance. The diversity is too much, and now that modern rap is mostly what people listen to now, I don't feel as if rock music is irrelevant.

        I just feel as if the people who listen to rock are afraid to come out and admit they love rock music. Hell I sure am, I get anxious whenever I tell people that I listen to all genres in itself.

      • profile image

        Stevie 

        15 months ago

        Rock music is totally irrelevant to young people today and Rap and hip hop has firmly established itself. Even the way people speak is all from Rap scene.

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        15 months ago

        John,

        All forms of music have to deal with piracy and leaks. It's not something experienced solely by rock acts. That in no way explains why rock acts have trouble breaking into the top 40.

      • profile image

        Jen 

        16 months ago

        Mike is right. I grew up listening to rock music, I still love it and rock my skull sweater, but most of it is waaaay too negative and depressing nowadays to the extent that I think rock fans are more likely to off themselves. I got into bands like London's New Young Pony Club and LA's The Moth and The Flame because they had catchy, uptempo and inspiring singles ("Ice Cream" and "Young & Unafraid," respectively) and then you go and listen to the rest of their records and while musically and instrumentally beautiful, it's depressing af!

        I don't agree with Mike that rock music being too much about drugs is killing its mainstream appeal. The Weeknd had a radio hit about a face being numb off of cocaine. But at least you could dance to it!

        The only happy-sounding rock band I can think of these days is Spoon, and I don't think it's any coincidence that for a couple of guys in their 40's, they played 2 sold-out gigs in my city back-to-back 2 nights in a row and had teenagers and college kids in the audience. Word-of-mouth. Their songs are not depressing, even if the lyrics have meaning!

        Learn from this, rock bands!

      • profile image

        Mike 

        18 months ago

        The reason rock is dead is few things. First off 50s-60s rock was successful cause they were singing about positive things not how bad there lives were or how strung out on drugs they are or how they have daddy issues. Listening to negative garbage makes you negative if you hear it long enough. Secondly every sound in rock has been heard already that sounds worth a damn to hear. Lyrics of today's rock is so cheap and negative.

      • profile image

        Jo 

        19 months ago

        Muse. Nuff said

      • profile image

        Kolby 

        19 months ago

        Rock music's decline is directly correlated to labeling shit non-rock bands and blasting them over rock radio. I.E. Imagine dragons/mumford and sons, both blasted on rock radio, debated if they're even rock at all. So when these style of bands started to pop up, the rock stations in Louisville, Ky closed down and now all we have is like a classic rock channel. The new forms of heavy bands and them becoming soft is also a problem. Identity of these bands used to be metal even and now they're worse than top 40 pop (Five finger death punch, All that remains, Shinedown, Atreyu, breaking bejamin.) These bands listed are all in tolerable and are continued to be plastered all over the radio like nobody even cares. They're not up to par to their predecessors and are not even close to that par. The record sales show. Look at linkin park for example, Their own fan base is suck listening to then constantly promise a heavy record and then they always do some shitty poop record instead. Linkin park, Stick to writing rock. You're the worst pop act I've ever seen. (Other than papa roach, Shit pop acts.) (in hindsight both linkin park and papa roach atleast had one real album a piece.)

      • profile image

        SynGates 

        19 months ago

        Rock was always alive, from bands like Papa Roach, to Slipknot, to Linkin Park (maybe not their latest release though) to Green Day with Revolution Radio, which I thought was an amazing album. Papa Roach is one of the hardest working bands I know of, and if you listen to their recent songs Help and Crooked Teeth you'll see what I mean. Although (in my opinion) Help is a much, much better song than any of the mainstream pop songs which get 100 million views on YouTube in two days, hardly anyone knows about this song. The reason behind this is, as you mentioned, the packaging of pop artists today. They are packaged so well that the whole media advertised them everywhere, from the radio to the television and, as a result, people are only exposed to pop music. I do not blame the people who listen to pop music. I blame the media for advertising only this kind of music. People must be aware of these amazing bands and should here them on the radio more to KNOW that they like their songs. That is when rock will be back into the mainstream.

        Great article, by the way, very interesting.

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        21 months ago

        Magic Kat,

        You make a great point about what is marketed to young people. I have a young daughter who's developed an interest in alt rock with twenty one pilots as her starting point. Even though they aren't traditional rock, they gave her a taste of something beyond the pop and electronic she also loves. And she got that taste through pop radio. I don't know if twenty one pilots are going to be the ones to set in motion the rise of rock on pop radio but the potential is there.

        I agree that young girls aren't really getting a lot of exposure to rock and that impacts their level of interest. What I wonder though is why boys are more likely to seek out rock than girls.

      • profile image

        Magic Kat 

        21 months ago

        Hi Joan, Thanks for writing this article. I am glad to read someone who cares so much about rock music and wanted to offer a different point-of view you may like.

        My "good" news: The demographics you refer to might be the result of researcher bias and the initial "simplistic" explanation form the forums might be closer to the truth!

        First, the bias of the survey you mention: If pop music is what is being marketed to young girls then that will be the music they report liking. You see, they have been told that is their music. If the media were to all of sudden tell them that most pop artists are lame and that rock was the new thing for them, they would start buying rock again. Young people (male and female) are easily swayed by trends and when they respond to a survey the majority will report themselves as being hip to the trend.

        Second, another look at the "simplistic" explanations: It is true that the music industry has always sought to make the artists into a controllable commodity they can sell not only to the public but to other businesses. The industry is focused on the bottom line and they do want a winning formula. Rock groups (from the 1960s on) have historically been a counter-culture and anti-corporate force in our society. From the Rolling Stones to Led Zeppelin to Rush, the rock artists wanted success but not at the expense of compromising their art. They got into the music because they love the music and the Album-Oriented-Radio rock artist appeared because singles took too much of their attention away from playing and writing the music they truly cared about.

        I know you probably already know this but lets have a quick review:

        During the early 70s, the industry was making money but the ball was in the artists court thanks to album sales. The artists were close in age to their audience and could write music the "kids" could like for the sake of the music alone. Music from record albums became the lifeblood of the counter-culture. Singles, on the other-hand were for non-rock artists like the Captain and Tennille, Sonny and Cher, Donny and Marie and was very formulaic well into the 1980s (Disco was a singles game). In many ways, MTV killed the radio (AOR) star and slowly formulas emerged for rock that the corporations began to exploit (New Wave, Billy Idol fashion punk, glam metal, etc, etc). For a time, in the late 80s rock almost became the pop music when in 1987, all 5 of the top 5 selling artists were rock groups. But Guns N Roses started dressing down and rock artists rebelled against the 80s glamour and eventually, by the 90s rock had become grunge.

        It is really difficult to market ugly people to teenage girls so grunge was the nail in the coffin for rock as pop. Enter the Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls and the manufactured, packaged pop groups we still have today, like One Direction. Since the 90s most rock bands have kinda looked like your brother or guy on the street (a few exceptions of course). There has been no rock Elvis or Beatles or Marc Bolan or anyone with that "universal star quality" to appeal to the mainstream. Instead we got Weezer (and now a lot of guys who might need a shave).

        So I am not negating your article but saying the problem isn't that rock is for white boys and pop is for girls - this is something the industry has decided. You probably know that much of the pop music today is written by a small group of 5 or so middle-aged Scandinavian men - another formula. The people want good music and much of what is written for pop is formulaic and after awhile monotonous- always the same.

        I live near Toronto, Canada and personally know many young people of different races and genders who love rock. We have Vag Halen playing around here (a Canadian Lez Zeppelin). It isn't just for young white males - even if that seems to be the primary audience. Rock music has always been loved by young people because it was written with the idea that people could have their own identity distinct from the uptight norms of the culture in which they were raised. Kids dig that. They want to rebel and develop their own identities.

        The mainstream rock comeback will happen Joan: Vinyl records continue to increase in sales and popularity because they sound warmer to the young person's ears. Vinyl sales are currently beating streaming sales in the UK. The digital Scandinavian middle-aged male-written computer pop music is okay for streaming but if you expect vinyl warmth real instruments will have to played. People who learn real instruments learn from classic rock. The corporations will have to find music that fits the vinyl medium and Kesha will get her chance.

        I think the new rock will be different in some ways from the old but enjoyed by people of all kinds.

      • profile image

        Alex 

        21 months ago

        I don't think it's a flat plane as regards music. Sure a lot may be produced in every period but I don't believe or take for granted that the creation of art is separate from the culture or society we live in. It's kind of a neoliberal position to assume a division between independent creatives and the environment they're placed in. What I mean by this is that when people say there's never been a better time for music, that you can find any band you want on the internet they're half right. It allows a dude like me to get my music out there (such as it is), but when I ask people to name said bands, well on the off chance that they do, I can't say I'm impressed. So much rock music out there is derivative and I say this knowing full well my own music isn't original. But why? I think the environment isn't there to innovate, maybe it's also the fact that rock has reached maturation but a lot of bands are just interested in playing to a scene, sounding exactly like one band or just playing covers. There's a limited audience for music, people are more interested in the culture of social media, music isn't their primary medium for self expression. There's a whole confluence of factors I'm not smart enough to articulate precisely but we're living in an age of the Jerk, rich assholes running corporations have put a stranglehold on culture, corporatised it and made it difficult for artists to break through, this isn't just in music, it's in film, literature and beyond culture, in areas like social policy. What they fail to realise is that profit driven motives are like oil to the water of artistic creation, or say education and healthcare. You have the stagnation of the West via hyper capitalism, a broken system that's about to collapse under the weight of its contradictions. But in the age of the Jerk it muddles on, it's supported by rank and file jerks. And there's just a collective willful ignorance, a reaction against art or culture in favour of instant gratification and superficiality, it's a dynamism or zeitgeist, intangible, certainly not quantifiable for the neoliberal/capitalist informed mentality but there all the same and even more apparent retrospectively. The same ignorance and crappiness of culture could be seen in the 1930s/40s, there's very little I like about that era, or in the ultra limited art of the feudal era. Every so often the jerk mentality dominated and then is either broken or implodes under its own weight. So rock reflected a positive moment in human history, it was part of a postive dynamism with respect to the civil rights movements and counter culture of the 60s and since we're in the age of the Jerk/asshole, with everyone being assholes, it's no longer popular.

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        2 years ago

        Thanks MagicKat. A lot of women do say they've encountered significant amounts of sexism and harassment in the rock music scene, which may explain why some women may have felt they needed to be more masculine to fit in. But I agree that's not necessarily every woman's experience. However perceptions count for a lot. If women believe the rock music scene will be hostile to them, they may be wary of entering it to begin with. Fewer female artists may then mean fewer female fans.

      • profile image

        MagicKat 

        2 years ago

        Thanks for the great article! I am a fan of rock n roll from all different eras. The only thing I would disagree with is the so-called feminist perspective. I don't really believe the "cock rock" myth about rock music. Women artists who play rock are not trying to be boys but are being strong women. Despite Janis trying to be one of the boys, I think rock is a self-assured / confident expression from a youth perspective and women rockers do not pretend to be something they are not. For example, Suzie Quarto said that it never came to her mind that she could not play the music because she was a girl. She just wanted to do it. Rock is not for wimpy people.

      • profile image

        mumys123 

        2 years ago

        I think this article is great.

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        2 years ago

        AlexDrinkH2O,

        I wasn't really focused on the history of rock here. But yes the heyday of rock was the 50's and 60's, perhaps into the mid 70's.

      • AlexDrinkH2O profile image

        AlexDrinkH2O 

        2 years ago from Southern New England, USA

        Okay but you start in the 1960s and ignore the real "birth" of rock n' roll, the 1950s (you mentioned Elvis and Little Richard and that's about it).How about Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, the Everly Brothers, Dion, the 4 Seasons, and all the "doo-wop" groups? Most of the crap that passes for "rock" today couldn't hold a candle to any one of them.

      • profile image

        Dave 

        3 years ago

        I can't wait for the day when an excellent band comes around and brings everyone together with Beatle-esque songs and hopefully, Beatle-esque popularity

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        3 years ago

        Doogie,

        I agree that rock is far from dead. I think it's become so much easier to discover new music that being outside the mainstream isn't such a bad thing anymore. Many rock and R&B acts are having successful careers without having top 40 hits. It will be interesting though to see if rock bands can come back into the top 40 at some point. Popular music is always evolving and trends come and go so it's possible.

      • profile image

        Doogie 

        3 years ago

        I actually don't think rock is really in decline. There are still plenty of good commercial alternative rock and mainstream rock stations out there with plenty of newer bands. I have also met plenty of high school and college-aged kids who listen to rock, both new rock and classic rock. Classic rock stations are still thriving. When people say "rock is dead," they're just referring to its lack of presence on today's pop radio stations or major music award shows.

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        3 years ago

        Kv,

        I think a lot of 80's rock was far more pop radio friendly than the alt. rock that's common today. I could really see it making a comeback. If something like Van Halen's Jump was released now I think it would be a huge hit.

      • profile image

        Kv 

        3 years ago

        Im a white girl who is a teenager and ai listen mostly to 80s rock. I wouldn't say that rock is dead, but I would say thet it isn't popular to most younger people. But a lot of people do listen to rock still. And a lot of the old rock bands like ac/dc bon jovi still tour and still have sold out concerts. I think rock will eventually make its way back to being what everyone listens to.

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        3 years ago

        Country Girl,

        Record labels and country radio embraced bro-country because it attracted a large (mostly young male) audience that hadn't listened to country music before. They think they're expanding the number of country music buyers. The problem is they may drive away a lot of female artists and listeners in the process and end up making less money in the long run if they don't put out music women want to hear and buy. It makes sense to cater to everyone, something country largely stopped doing with the rise of bro-country and something rock isn't doing either.

      • profile image

        Country Girl 

        3 years ago

        The same thing is happening in country music. There were never many minority singers but lots of women. In the past few years bro-country has largely pushed women off country radio and labels aren't providing much support to women. Female artists are becoming frustrated and it won't be to shocking if many would be women country singers switch to other genres. Bro-country is more popular with men so country may start to lose women as both listeners and artists if the labels and country stations don't make an effort to encourage diversity.

      • profile image

        Ell 

        3 years ago

        The presence of women at rock concerts doesn't tell us much about popularity. A certain portion of those women will be there accompanying husbands and boyfriends. What counts is sales and streaming and women aren't doing enough to get rock bands into the top 40.

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        3 years ago

        NYX,

        If you had comprehended the article correctly you would know I was referring to rock declining in the mainstream. And I never said women don't listen to rock. I listen to it. But it is far less popular with women.

        There are actually some statistics to back up the claim that rock has far fewer female than male fans. A study on gender differences in streaming found rock is far more popular with men and pop with women.

        And it's wrong to conclude women are to be blamed for the decline of rock. Sexism and a disinterest in encouraging diversity in rock music is a major problem. To quote Jack White "It's a real shame that if a woman goes onstage with an instrument, it's almost a novelty."

      • profile image

        Nyx 

        3 years ago

        HA im a girl & feminist & only listen to rock music, dunno why I'm being blamed for the death of rock LOL! Author doesn't sound like they really know what they're talking about. Rock n roll is still alive often there are 2-4 punk/prog/psych rock shows a week were I live and the crowd's and pits are only getting bigger. You have all genders attending the jams, the whole bro thing is dead. If you're talking about mainstream rock, yeah it is in decline - which is a good thing. a lot of the really good artists these days don't get featured in the media so their shows are cheap and uncorporate. You want to hear music comparable to the old days? You gotta turn the tv off and see it live.

      • profile image

        Jacob 

        4 years ago

        Demographics is a huge problem for modern rock. It's too dependent on males in their 20's and under. Everyone buys pop music. Blacks, whites, Asians, hispanics, men, women, teens to people in their 40's and 50's, straight and gay. Rock has to find a way to appeal to a wider demographic to become relevant again. I think the success of Imagine Dragons is a good start. Maybe as people become more used to hearing rock, they'll embrace it more.

      • JoanCA profile imageAUTHOR

        JoanCA 

        4 years ago

        Matthew,

        I'm hearing more rock on HAC stations here, which play a mix of pop and adult contemporary. The top 40 stations are playing more pop rock and electro-rock. So, I think it could happen that we'll see more rock in a couple of years. Things seem to be moving that way.

      • profile image

        Matthew Hegarty 

        4 years ago

        I think Rock music has already made a massive comeback in the UK with heavy acts like While She Sleeps, Enter Shikari, Bullet For My Valentine, Bring Me The Horizon, Marmozets And not so heavy Rock bands like Mallory Knox, You Me At Six, The Vaccines etc all getting in the charts and on the BBC Radio 1 daytime playlist within the last 2 years alone and A7X, BMTH haven gotten in the top 5 albums there is always guitar bands on BBC Radio 1 (biggest UK Current music station) and an increase in popularity for many bands and those bands are also becoming very successful and last year in the US Rock was the most popular music in the charts with over 30% (more than any other genre got) so I think Rock's comeback is happening but you just don't realise it yet

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, spinditty.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://spinditty.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)