Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Rock and Roll is NOT Dead

Rock & Roll is NOT dead!

Quite the opposite, I predict that Rock music is about to become a lot more popular.

It is true that Rock music has been in a decade-long (or longer) decline. The glory days of Rock&Roll are no doubt behind us - Elvis, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Queen, AC/DC, Guns N Roses, Metallica, Nirvana, etc etc.

Many mourn the loss of their favorite music genre and it's legendary artists and bands.
This is the failing of the digital age: we are no longer creating any new rock heroes. The days of the titans are gone. Music stores are bankrupt, MTV is dead, a world tour no longer means anything when you can watch it on YouTube for free.
Source: Houston Press

The Decline of Recorded Music Sales

Technology and the changes in the music industry are definitely partially to blame for Rock Music's decline, as making money from album/song sales has become increasingly harder. Some would call it the "Napster effect":

Bands and artists have increasingly relied on Tour revenues rather than Album sales. Concerts and live performances is where the money is right now:


The "Golden Age" of Rock music is long gone, but an uptrend in Rock music's popularity is already underway. Rock & Roll is NOT dead, and here's why:

1) Gene Simmons (KISS) and the "CAPITULATION BOTTOM"

From my research, I have noticed that major reversals in long-term trends usually coincide with either a "blow-off peak" or a "capitulation bottom". This means that the end and beginning of a major trend is filled with frantic over-excitement (peak) or depressing over-pessimism (bottom).
In other words, when everyone likes something, a peak is near; and when everyone hates something or has no faith in its future, a bottom could be near.

In the case of Rock Music, we may have already seen the "capitulation bottom".

Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'

In a September 2014 Esquire interview, Gene Simmons (formerly of legendary band, KISS) declared the death of Rock Music.

To be fair, KISS wasn't the best-selling or most-popular band of its time, but Gene Simmons is enough of a Rock icon that his comments drew lots of attention. KISS did, after all, sing the well-known song "Rock and Roll All Nite".

The second I heard Gene Simmons declare Rock Music dead, I instantly thought of the "capitulation bottom". Especially considering his comments garnered a response from other top Rock bands, this was not only a heated and emotionally-charged debate, but potentially a major turning point.
It’s a phrase that gets thrown around a lot. It’s a phrase that gets people riled up. Epic social media arguments start over it. Friendships end over it. It’s an emotionally charged subject for a lot of people.

The Foo Fighters chimed in, "not so fast":

Aerosmith guitarist, Joe Perry:
“I think that that era of rock bands playing to sold-out arenas and selling millions of records in a pop — yeah, that part of it is dead.”
“When we started, being in a rock band was one step away from being an outlaw. No one ever said, ‘Oh good, you’re playing in a rock band, how wonderful!’"

Twisted Sister frontman, Dee Snider:
While I have nothing but respect for Gene, he couldn’t be further off the mark. Yes, the rock ‘n’ roll “business model” that helped Kiss (and my band for that matter) achieve fame and fortune is most certainly long dead and buried, but rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well and thriving on social media, in the streets, and in clubs and concert halls all over the world. And the bands playing it are more genuine and heartfelt than ever because they are in it for one reason: the love of rock ‘n’ roll.
Spend some time seeing and listening to these incredible young bands and their rabid fans and you will know that rock ‘n’ roll couldn’t be more alive. Yes, it’s not the same as it was for the first 50 years of rock’s existence, but the fire definitely still burns.
Source: Dee Snider Responds to Gene Simmons' 'Rock is Dead' Claim

Even CNN discussed and acknowledged it:

See also:

2) Rock Stars Are Getting Old, Time for Rebirth

The Rock Music genre is being led by old people.
Unlike pop music, led by the young:
As always, the Grammys were peppered with plenty of promising young music stars, like Best New Artist winner Sam Smith, 22, who also won Song of the Year and Record of the Year; and Best Country Album winner 31-year-old Miranda Lambert. Performers included Beyoncé Knowles, already living legend at 33, with Katy Perry, 30, Rihanna, 26, and Ariana Grande, 21, not far behind. And music's most promising star is, of course, 25-year-old Taylor Swift, who did not need to perform to make her presence felt.

Notice anything about that list of up-and-comers? None them has ever even attempted to strap on a Les Paul and just freakin' rawk out.
When it comes to Rock:
The average age among all the 2015 Grammy nominees in the four rock categories was roughly 46.
Everyone keeps looking at the old-timers and legendary bands for leadership, but it's time for new leadership and new music led by a new generation!

AC/DC singer is 67, Paul McCartney is 72, Mick Jagger is 72, Bruce Springsteen is 66, and so on.

Rock & Roll is ready for a revival and rebirth. This doesn't mean that the new Rock will sound exactly like the old Rock Music we're used to, but it is definitely highly influenced by it.
Sure, the music industry might look different today than it did forty years ago, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing...Rock music was reborn once more with the alternative scene in the early nineties. 

The new generation of Rock & Roll will be innovative, exciting, and maybe even wildly popular.

3) New Rock Music is For The Love

The major decline in Rock Music has brought about a positive outcome: With rock music not being the lucrative field it used to be, those who write, play, and perform Rock Music are doing it "for the love of rock and roll". This means more passion, and potentially better quality.
Once the music is forced underground, it narrows the scope of the field. In the end, you’re left with a small percentage of the bands that keep themselves together and keep going. No matter what. Not for a paycheck. Not for fame. They do it for the love of the craft. When you remove quantity, you’re going to be left with quality.

4) Google Trends Points to Renewed Interest

Though it is clear that the popularity of Rock Music has declined dramatically over the years, it might have already begun to rise. After a long lull, interest in Rock Music may have bottomed.

Looking at Google Trends dating back to 2004 (as far back as it goes), we can see the decline in search for "Rock music". However, after the big drop in interest, it appears that a bottom was formed between 2013-2015:

Just as Gene Simmons declared Rock to be dead, the bottom was actually forming.

Even better, there has recently been a significant rise in interest since 2015, and this may be the beginning of a major long-term uptrend in Rock Music.

Just in case the Google Trends chart doesn't quite show the massive decline in Rock, look at the huge decline in Rock Music (dark green) since the 1970s:

While Rock Music has seen a giant decline, music genres like EDM or Electronic Dance Music have seen a huge rise in popularity:

Moreover, Rock Music is not the only genre that has declined in popularity. Hip Hop and Jazz appear to have declined and Country has been volatile. Pop Music is the only one with an increase.

However, while the declining popularity of Rock and Jazz have been brutal, both seem to have made the turning point within the past year. Both genres' popularity is now trending up, and this could be the beginning of the next uptrend.

Rock Music is Coming Back

One day soon we will see huge headlines about Rock Music, how it came back from the dead, and how enormously popular it is becoming once again. 

The new generation of Rock & Roll is either already here or on its way. 
Most legendary bands are already long gone; some, like AC/DC and Bruce Springsteen are still performing; others, like the Rolling Stones and Guns N Roses have planned comeback tours or special concerts. Regardless, these old-timers were an inspiration to millions and will soon pass the torch to the next wave of Rock Music legends. 

Perhaps right now a giant Rock & Roll festival doesn't sound like it would be such a successful venture. And maybe the glory days of Woodstock 1969 will never be recaptured.
But if Rock & Roll is truly undergoing a period of revival, Woodstock 2019 (50 year anniversary) could be a big hit. 

Perhaps it is exactly during these desperate times for Rock Music that a revival and great progress is made:
The really interesting things in rock ‘n’ roll only seem to happen when almost nobody is paying attention.

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