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.
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.
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.
Bobby Denham on April 19, 2020:
I'm trying the strokes album now, does it count as rock music?
Umar Tahir on March 11, 2020:
The history of music is not complete without Nirvana, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Iron Maiden and many more. Mostly genres of Rock Music like Heavy Metal, Progressive Rock, Grunge and Metal Core shows the energy and they are symbols of Power and freedom so we cannot hypothesis that the popularity of Rock Music is low day by day, the recent example of Tool band latest album compete Taylor Swift in billboard chart is the answer who says rap, disco and other genres are more popular in these days
Mr.Brightside on February 17, 2020:
I think that one of the reasons why rock isn't popular nowadays is because rock bands don't sound like rock bands anymore. You'll know what I'm talking about if you've heard a few tracks from the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.
Electronic beats, too many synthesizers and glum melodies spoil a rock song. Of course, synths are cool and are very popular, and considering the fact that older rock bands like Journey, Pink Floyd and new ones like The Killers have used synthesizers, they are welcome in rock music, as long as they don't silence the electric guitars.
My classmates say that hip-hop gets you high. I can say the same thing when I listen to Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana , or Porch - Pearl Jam. Heck, Mr.Brightside by The Killers (my favorite song) is still on the UK Hot 100 Singles Chart !
Rock bands are still trying to find their place in the current era. And about the ethnicity of rock listeners, it would be a good idea to appeal to minorities as well, seeing the improvements in the treatment of minorities.After all, Rock is also a revolutionary genre like Hip-Hop.
Rock is just adjacent to the mainstream so who knows, we might just get to see a resurgence of this glorious genre!
Dean McVey on February 02, 2020:
So next generation rap will be a bunch of black girls trying to be dudes? Anyways korn, shinedown, pop evil, linkin park, seether, staind, stone sour, mudvayne, 10 years, white stripes and lots of other bands laid foundation for what i will call dubstep battle rock
Arman on January 19, 2020:
One thing no one has mentioned here is...guitar, bass, drum is no longer the mainstream... for the same reason the harpsichord, violin, cello are no longer mainstream. Those sounds have been explored, juiced out...not much left to explore. Pop, hip hop has at its disposal a thousand more sounds and textures to draw from. And electronic music by its very nature can evolve new sounds and textures until...I don't know when. The rock music sound has been explored and already deep in the human psyche. The new generation don't have the excitement for rock music...for the same reason you don't much of an excitement for the music of the 20s and 30s.
The Man on January 15, 2020:
Ill tell you why, as an artist who records and releases rock music. And no, its not about race, gender, or any other liberal nonsense. I really cant wait for those people to wine about some else.
Its the format that sells, the cost to produce it, and the connections to distribute it. Beats are made on a computer, usually with downloaded samples that labels pay for. The actual beat is the same on most songs, and as far as chord progressions and song structure, there are a handful that they use over and over again.
The cost to pay a studio for a newly signed rock band is expensive. They have to record and mix every instrument, spend time experimenting with different sounds and chorus ideas, etc. Rock music has a human element of error, so things need to be recorded many times to where every strum is in time.
Computer music is in perfect, robot quantized timing. There are no dynamics to compress, the volume is always steady.
Analogy to explain it: build a million dollar custom home, hope you can sell it. Or build a shed in a day, advertise it on every channel, "because the 6 major labels own every major playlist" sell it instantly and move on to the next one. Sell a shed every week for more profit than the custom home. People will forget about last week's shed anyway. That is music today.
aldri49 on January 13, 2020:
Also, rock is rooted in white working class angst and anger. But that demographic is changing, becoming more conservative and not as powerful a force in urban areas anymore, especially on the coasts. Rock will go the way of that demographic. Without the anger, it will tend to morph more towards a gentler, folkish sound. Folk is still popular, though, so that will sell, but just not to an urban underclass. Metal to me on the other hand could still sell to that underclass, but its increasingly irrelevant if its not genuine and if it only speaks to an aging population of lower income whites. Real rock may have its best chance of survival in the UK or Europe, or in parts of the US (Seattle, northern red state cities) where there is still a sizeable white working class. In those areas, competition from folk or country is less strong. Elsewhere though, it remains either almost like comical metal, a shadow of its former self, or it loses its edge and dies as it morphs into folk or country.
aldri49 on January 13, 2020:
Classical became too difficult to play or listen to, so people gravitated towards jazz and swing. Then jazz became too difficult to play or listen to, so they gravitated towards rock. Then rock became too difficult to play for those raised on touch button electronic drum machines and synths. Whats replacing rock now is easier - easier to write, easier to sing (if you sing it at all), and easier to perform overall. People will always take the easy route, especially when there is also money in it.
Jaksun Bedfords from USA on December 04, 2019:
An “aggressive expression of male sexuality.” That’s part of it - I think.
In my opinion, the female music audience is being served well in today’s music market. That’s a great thing. Bravo!
What little passes for popular rock music today is very introspective and self reflection based. In rock, I think that approach really gained traction way back with Nirvana and Pearl Jam. They were more likely to have an open conversation about differing notions of personal or collective guilt - as opposed to a drug fueled romp with adult film stars. That introspective approach certainly has its place.
The word I hear many young folks use to describe their favorite music the last few years is “Chill”. Post Malone jumps to mind for me in that vein... all “Chill”. But no thrill. He expertly takes me to one chilled place and keeps me there - beginning to end. There’s emotion - for sure - but not transcendence or a climax from anger, to lust, to love (and sometimes back again).
A lot of great rock music was very transgressive. Listen to:
Janes Addiction - 3Days
Van Halen - Dirty Movies/Sinners Swing
Guns n Roses - Anything Goes/Rocket Queen
George Michael - Faith/I want your sex
RHCP - Sir Psycho Sexy
AC/DC - Everything
James Brown - Everything
Elvis - Lets Play House
I could go on and on..
As someone pointed out in the comments, I can’t imagine a major music publisher going near a musical act that is that male, aggressive, and sexually unapologetic... in a single word - Transgressive. I think some young male musicians today see that lack of marketing investment very plainly and try to consciously deliver something different. Others simply have no desire for that sort of testosterone fueled sense of adventure... having seen the loud disapproval it now garners from many different directions. These musicians are making rational decisions either way. But those are safe decisions. Annoyingly and boringly safe.
I don’t know what rock will look like if it makes a comeback. But it will be much more interesting if it were dangerous, transgressive, transcendent across multiple emotions and, yes probably male. The only music form that has fully explored those waters in the last 20 years is Hardcore Rap.
The other part that is particular to the rock form is the presence (or now - broadly a lack) of a Blues influence.
The Blues works through dissonance and resolution. The pull of the chords changing creates tension and release; the swing and groove is inconsistent but pushes you along in waves. And the dissonance of a bent guitar note goes off pitch against another note - eventually resolving to a note that fits the key song is written in.
Imperfection leads to tension, leads to release and finally to resolution and transcendence. That’s very satisfying to the soul.
I don’t know if the current lack of a Blues influence is a stylistic choice - or a consequence of the state of modern recording software that corrects studio performances. If you auto-tune the Blues - you lose the dissonance. If you correct the beat - there is no swing. The modern technology makes the recording process much more efficient - but eliminates the imperfections that are often so satisfying.
That’s my 2 cents.
Jaksun on November 15, 2019:
A lot of good rock music was often transgressive - and often in a sexual context that appeals to men.
RHCP - Sir Psycho Sexy
Led Zeppelin- Whole Lotta Love & Lemon Song
GnR - Anything Goes/Rocket Queen
ZZ Top - almost everything
AC/DC - almost everything
Van Halen - almost everything
I could go on...
I just can’t imagine new male musical artists today being as unabashedly proud of that kind of transgressive sexuality. Never mind finding an audience for it, or a publisher willing to put marketing dollars behind it and weather the storm of disapproval that would come from all directions.
Richard on November 12, 2019:
if rock being too "white & male" is a major reason, can somebody explain quite why white males of the younger generations also don't like rock? Why would it be a turn off to them?
If anybody wants good modern rock, you need to look east, to Japan. People think it's all bubblegum J-Pop there, but there is a thriving metal and rock scene in Japan, playing some great stuff to a very high level of ability. Check out groups like Band Maid, and envy the talent they have over there.
Plapier on October 26, 2019:
I mostly miss musical excellence whether it be via an instrument or incredible vocals. There are amazing vocalists but where are the great guitarists, sax players, drummers? The electronic stuff is just lazy. Are we really unwilling to learn instruments any more? I'll always love jazz, the blues, and rock the most because those musicians spent years perfecting their craft along with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.
Nikolay on October 14, 2019:
Well, the feminist argument can't be serious because hip-hop is extremely misogynistic, yet women in general still love it. Personally, I think it's due to the fact that modern rock lacks the spirit of 70s and to an extend 80s classic rock. Nowadays everything sounds like it was composed in a lab, played to absolute perfection every note fits neatly onto a midi grid. Pro-tools and the ability to do infinite takes until you get the perfect one has squeeze all the life out of what was once a style of music that highlighted the different personalities of the musicians who played it.
ElleBeAR on September 20, 2019:
Rock "too'd" itself; death by, too many drugs, too much sex, too many overdoses, and too many years. The scene was always going to age out to its own infirmity due in large part to its own self destructive nature. I think from the day it became the new darling of magazine covers, and news coverage, the Doomsday clock of modern rock was already ticking. It's 1 minute to midnight, and unless someone out there has the ability to possess mass appeal like one of the international celebrity rave DJ's, cause controversy like a Kardashian, offend the greater populace while at the same time inciting strong blind devotion like Trump, and of course, absolutely shred with a generational voice that can't be disputed - the clock will strike at midnight, and rock will lie - quiet at last - in its ash and cinder grave.
dreemsnake on September 11, 2019:
Rock made a huge comeback in the 90’s. That’s why we went so nuts when we heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Rock was back again. And women OVER the age of 40...boomers, remember?...are starving for rock to make another comeback. MTV has 90’s classic shows that are all hip hop and easy listening. You can’t even get alternative videos there, which were huge in the 90s. It’s so depressing.
BadBoyUgly on September 07, 2019:
The Reason why Rock N Roll can't sell music or new talented bands be discovered is because Hip Hop and Rap flood every major and minor social networking music hub that host any type of free upload of original music like on SoundCloud, every genre if you look there is flooded by Rappers of every kind who tag and label them selves as, rock, metal, country etc. Reverbnation has the same problem as well as the once popular but short lived Jamwave. these internet pages are a good idea for the local young or old Rock Star want a be to upload their original idea in hopes of being discovered, but due to the over flooding of rappers hogging up these sights and cheating the system to drawl attention to their music Rock artiest, Metal artiest and even Country artiest have no chance. there is no where online you can go as a Rock musician, even Youtube has these issues and they even offer an over priced promotion service that don't work very well. Musicians need a fair place to promote.
Anshul on August 29, 2019:
Honestly if you don't like a genre cause its too white or too male thats really sad. By that logic rap should be dying cause its too black and has more male rappers. If you don't like a type of music cause of the color/gender of a person you are really just being prejudiced. Also Im not saying this cause i like white people or something(also im not white, im saying this mainly cause you can't say you don't like music cause of people. Thats a dumb argument. We hear the music from people, and i think many rarely care if music is made by a girl, guy trans,black,asain or white.
Jack on July 11, 2019:
I think one thing the music industry isn’t considering is that while the rock fan demographic is getting older, it is very much viable. There is still this youth myth when it comes to what will or will not make money. Back in the day, once people “grew up” and hit thirty or so they put the breaks on how much they participated in following (and spending on) the music they listened when they were younger. Today, people carry their interests with them as they age. They remain active fans (and still dress the part) and spend lots of money on concerts and merch. People in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s have money. And they’ll spend it. When my rock band plays to crowds older than us it is them who spend money. Not our fans that are our age or younger. Young people don’t have, or won’t spend as much money. Older people buy tshirts, buy a lot of drinks (and higher end ones) at venues and even buy physical albums. They still want to find new music they like, the industry just needs to figure out a different way for them to discover it other than today’s common social media tactics. The music industry is missing a huge revenue opportunity by not directly targeting this demographic. And many in that demographic love rock. Still, this may eventually push rock out of relevance farther down the line as today’s music fans hit their 30’s and 40’s. However, another interesting side note is that I see a lot of kids listening to music WITH their parents instead of rebelling against it, as in the past. They actually go to shows together. I see this all the time. So who knows if it will pick back up again with younger generations. But right now, at this moment in time, there are opportunities to make money off of rock, if only the labels and venues would wake-up and stop focusing on the archaic model that popular music has to target youth, and start helping those of us rock bands carrying the torch.
Mr Kebabies on July 11, 2019:
Rock was at it's strongest in the 70s, with giants such Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Bowie,
RedRocker on July 05, 2019:
The problem in my opinion is the record companies as they want image over quality of music, record companies are not going to have a hedonistic band like Motley Crue or Guns N Roses which were bands who lived the sex, drink & drugs lifestyle, nowadays it's all about being told to play the corporate game as record execs don't want there so called stars to be out of control. Can you imagine a record company meeting a band like GNR? In this day and age, they wouldn't touch them with a barge pole, but saying that all the artists that went against the grain only did it for so long as they couldn't keep it up forever and in the end became sellouts and I'm not just talking about rock as plenty of othere artists in different genres became sellouts.Rock music will go on but only for so many years then it really will die out when the great rock bands call it a day rather than the fans as they still turn out to see the likes of Metallica, GNR whose Not In This Lifetime tour was the 2nd biggest grossing tour of all time taking into account they've released no new material for years. As for the record companies it's going to be a case of doing what they say & not what bands want to do anymore. Why? One reason, MONEY!!!!!
The Rock Angel on June 05, 2019:
The 70's when rock and roll music seems unstoppable is not really my generation , but let there be no mistake that when I woke up musically , it was rock music that roused me and I traveled back in time to know them all .
Those days of good ole' type of Rock and Roll environment may never come back anymore but it was already proven that a fading musical genre could still be accepted , saved , resuscitated and even if it doesn't regain its former status , it could still stay and be appreciated in the mainstream .Now , I don't know how it will be done nor who will do it but with luck , the right person and timing , it's not impossible .Queen incorporated opera music to their most significant song Bohemian Rhapsody and in the 80's, Freddie Mercury sang opera again with Montserrat Caballé - which could be the precursor of the man who was attributed as being the person who single-handedly saved Opera and put it on the mainstream .Rock & Roll and Opera are of course incomparable .Opera never occupied the status of rock music in the general public nor did R&R (with it's 70's attitude) were made to perform (at least once upon a time) before the members of the Alta Sociedad .I am of course talking about Luciano Pavarotti who in the late 90's performed with about almost everyone of different genres and after that , opera singers became pop stars .Before those events that Pavarotti started , I can't even picture an opera singer trying to enter the mainstream , today an opera singer could join some talent competition normally and be more admired for their over normal voice. So that's it , let's wait for the Rock Messiah .
savage on May 19, 2019:
@keke if you think that's alternative jesus christ
Charlie on May 06, 2019:
The author of this article mentioned that only pop rock came out of the 2000s. However, he/she completely forgot about or was ignorant of the indie rock boom/garage rock revival of the 2000s. Like bands like the Strokes, White Stripes, Artic Monkeys, etc.
ye on April 29, 2019:
classic rock is better than all other music. Don't argue you know its true all this pop music is making me sick. Just bring back some of that good music like Queen or AC/DC, Rolling stones, or Radiohead
Sandra on April 25, 2019:
imagine dragons is not rock
Denniseugene on April 22, 2019:
Every genre of music has lulls when it evolves. Rock has been around for nearly 70 years. Newer bands, like Glorious Sons, and older bands like Steel Panther, are bringing more people to listen to rock. Faster Pussycat is still touring, Tom Kieffer still puts out albums. Sebastion Bach and Vince Neil tour world-wide to sell out shows.
In my humble opinion, rock is alive and well.
MagicKat on April 21, 2019:
In reference to your question to me 'why boys are more likely to seek out rock than girls", I don't think that applies today.... Okay, perhaps in the 1960s, boys saw bands like the Beatles and thought "I would like to do that" or could identify to songs written from a boy's perspective but the Beatles were strongly marketed to girls who bought the records. The Beatles were considered a band geared towards girls by many boys of that decade... As far as rocking out, I don't think boys are more likely than girls, especially today. In fact, I dont think there has ever been more female rock bands than today! A 2017 New York Times article talks about this entitled "Rock’s Not Dead, It’s Ruled by Women: The Round-Table Conversation" discusses the abundance of female original bands in rock. I think the industry is doing a disservice to these musicians by ignoring them in favor of marketing computer-driven pop music. Maybe, the industry finds the computer pop formula easier to manage but music loses it's edge when formulas are overused and too similar ( it's never been so obvious that it's time for change!)... And in reference to Nikki's comment about identifying with strong female pop stars rather than "oversexed" male rock stars, there has never been so many "strong" female rock artists out there but they are being ignored by the industry and media. I hink that if big media in Los Angeles and elsewhere would give these bands and artists attention, rock could easily eclipse the Swedish-middle-aged-male-written-female-sung computer pop formula that is so tired.
Anonymous on April 21, 2019:
I swear I will start a Pop v Rock war if I have too...
Smith on April 20, 2019:
Mp3's killed off alot of bands with hip hop doesnt matter they will always have a supply and demand of artist with some the label makes them seem rich but they are actually broke hip hop isnt serious with metal etc is always im angry or my girl left me more to sad song list no one wants to hear that anymore people want women cars money a funny joke memes people are trying to bring back pop punk but is just sounds terrible its like its the dawn of the poser age if you are in your 20s 30s making songs about girls highschool life target to teenagers thats a little strange.
John on April 18, 2019:
Greta van fleet great modern rock group
Dale on April 18, 2019:
Congratulations on publishing the one millionth article to say rock is dead. Tune in 5 minutes from now for article 1,000,001
keke on April 09, 2019:
alternative rock is still alive lol just look at twenty one pilots and panic at the disco lol
Liam on April 09, 2019:
Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, Van Halen.... What happened to this type of rock music? :( Im really hoping to see this music comeback before I get too old to jump around in bars and concerts listening to this kind of stuff
chip c on April 07, 2019:
You missed the boat.
In the 60's thru the 80's, music was not in any way archival, and it was difficult to BUY music that was not on the radio: most artists were not re-catalogued on CD until the 1990's. You couldn't buy most old hits on vinyl 45's.
Now , you can download old music as easy as new, and therefore NEW rock bands are competing against 60 years of prior work, for the downloads. If you actually include youtube and spotify, there are more downloads and plays of rock music than there were 40 years ago.
Aiden Brown on April 03, 2019:
I don't like the fact you're a feminist but I respect you because you like rock.
gavin knott on March 27, 2019:
rock music died when elvis died
Barking Spiders on March 07, 2019:
Run your eye over RIAA Platinum & Gold data and you can see the last wave of rock bands to sell shedloads were mostly active in the 90s; mainly the big names of grunge, post-grunge and nu-metal. Thems the facts. Few rock bands formed in the 2000s come anywhere close in sales.
Brian Stevens on February 07, 2019:
Classic rock radio messed it up and people still want to here tired out old rock bands !!!!! there is alot of rock out there !!!! but everyone is still hung up on led ZEP Aerosmith stones Kiss Van Halen Black Sabbath and many more !!!!!! and it's Kool to listen to that !!!! but listen to something new also !!!! it's available JUST GOTTA LOOK !!!!!!
S4PS on January 29, 2019:
In my experience, the bulk of modern rock music is no longer misogynistic, or overly sexualized. Perhaps thats been a contributing factor to its decline?
Philip Manning on January 13, 2019:
Just listen to Wilco.They are rock music but they mix things up and experiment,keeping the music fresh.They are America's best band.
phil on January 02, 2019:
Allman brothers are the greatest rock band of all time
Kevin on December 19, 2018:
Arctic Monkeys are one of the only real rock bands still around and are hugely under rated. If they had the personalities of one of these big hip hop artists, they’d be huge
Gerardo Cantu on December 16, 2018:
Long live The Warning!
David Hunter Bishop on December 03, 2018:
Long live rock and roll
The beat of the drums, loud and bold
Rock, rock, rock and roll
The feelin' is there, body and soul.
-- Chuck Berry
EC on November 17, 2018:
This is one of the most ridiculous, SJW-induced things on the internet I've ever read. I'm a brown-skinned, curly haired latino and I've never given a damn about whether a rock musician has the same skin color as me or not. All I care about is the music.
Also, I really don't think "eeeviiillll white maaaalesss" are the problem with why rock music isn't popular anymore either.
12 on October 18, 2018:
guns'n roses rules
Rock is dead on October 17, 2018:
@ Robert...rage over what me too? There are very female rock artists that can captivate with their presence and voice like Ann wilson from Heart.
Robert on September 24, 2018:
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.
Zack on September 14, 2018:
As much as it pains me to say I don’t see rock music coming back anytime soon.
Mark Mitchell on September 09, 2018:
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
frank grant on August 31, 2018:
rock music will return soon as we finish our debut album
randalscot on July 04, 2018:
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.
Ronnie on July 04, 2018:
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.
Ronnie on July 04, 2018:
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.
You’re Wrong on July 03, 2018:
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.
You’re Right on July 03, 2018:
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 (author) on July 02, 2018:
"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.
You’re Wrong on July 01, 2018:
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.
You’re Wrong on June 27, 2018:
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?
You’re Wrong on June 27, 2018:
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!
Myths on June 20, 2018:
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.
Ronnie on June 15, 2018:
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 (author) on June 14, 2018:
Rock will never die. But the question is whether guitar driven rock can return to the mainstream.
JoanCA (author) on June 14, 2018:
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.
Mike on June 13, 2018:
ROCK will never die. Get over it.
Evans on June 07, 2018:
Imagine Dragons aren't rock.
Tano on June 04, 2018:
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"!
Umm on May 28, 2018:
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.
Thom Furd on May 28, 2018:
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.
You’re Wrong on May 25, 2018:
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)
You’re Wrong on May 25, 2018:
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:
(Jimi’s aliens were probably right)
JoanCA (author) on May 15, 2018:
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.
You’re Wrong on May 11, 2018:
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.
You’re Wrong on May 11, 2018:
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 (author) on May 07, 2018:
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.
You’re Wrong on April 29, 2018:
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!
i like it all on April 28, 2018:
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. :)
Federico on April 10, 2018:
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.
Curtis on April 08, 2018:
Rock still dominates it's a fact
Pteronychus on April 06, 2018:
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.
Chris on March 21, 2018:
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.
metalhead666 on March 17, 2018:
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/
KJ on March 12, 2018:
Disney killed rock/alternative
Corey Donaldson on March 11, 2018:
Interesting article !
Zeke on March 09, 2018:
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
Nikki on March 09, 2018:
" Perhaps young women could identify more with independent women in pop than oversexed male rockstars." That is very very true
Aditya on February 21, 2018:
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.
90s kid on February 18, 2018:
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 on February 16, 2018:
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.
JoeEveryMan on January 30, 2018:
"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 (author) on January 29, 2018:
I'm referring to rock in the mainstream and top 40. None of these are mainstream acts.
Foo on January 28, 2018:
Ridiculous. Go listen to any of these bands and rethink this entire article.
Greta Van Fleet
Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown
Order of the Emporer
Black Country Communion
Black Pistol Fire
JEFF the Brotherhood
MarkE on January 28, 2018:
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 !!!!
hairydave on January 24, 2018:
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.
The Man 55 on January 04, 2018:
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.
BryanCA on December 09, 2017:
Rock never left ......
JoanCA (author) on November 24, 2017:
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.
Diegoborgh on November 17, 2017:
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.
Sawyer Wolf on November 08, 2017:
Hi! I was wondering about where that 2002 survey comes from mentioned in the section titled "Demographic Problems for Rock Music" ???
Heywood Jablome, esq. on November 05, 2017:
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.