I looked at Spotify’s Global Top 50 and I didn’t see a rock artist listed. It was all hip hop and collaborations of other hip hop artists. The Global Viral Top 50 also presented with a list of unknown artists to me. Artists like WhoHeem, Salem Ilese, Ritt Momney, JVKE and I could go on and list so many names and not one of them would be known to me.
And then Spotify releases data reports and tells everyone that hard rock and heavy metal artists are the most listened to. But the Top 50 and Viral lists doesn’t support that.
So people listen to what is popular and they listen a lot while the song is popular and then move on to the next big thing. But in rock and metal, people listen and they keep on listening for years and years.
So the streaming money is in rock. But the labels and the media that supports the labels like to report that hip hop is dominant.
Even in the live arena, rock bands dominate, in ticket sales and merch. And COVID19 has hurt these artists, that’s for sure, but it’s also given these artists an opportunity to get new music done, or a new book, or a new collaboration, or a new side project or something else.
Because music will keep paying forever. Streaming makes that a reality. It scales. As long as you hold the copyrights for your songs, they will pay you and your kids and your grandkids for a long time, because copyright takes a long time to expire these days. And the labels are pushing for never.
And going to a rock and roll show, it’s not all oldsters. There is a whole new audience there, its cyclical and if the kids can’t pay the high prices for the tickets, their parents will.
Remember in the pre-streaming era, a sale was a sale. And if you listened to a record or not was irrelevant. It was still a sale to the label and the artist thought they had a fan. But that was never certain.
But rock is not seen as rock anymore. There is pop rock, classic rock, post rock, hard rock, melodic rock, heavy rock, progressive rock, folk rock, stoner rock, sludge rock, punk rock and I can keep going with the different terms. In other words, there are so many niches and artist are playing to these niches and sustaining.
Hard Rock never went away when grunge came. It was still there albeit at a reduced release schedule and fans of the genre still purchased the albums that got released. And that niche is still there.
For artists, they need to realise it’s about subscriptions. Adobe went to monthly subscriptions and so did Microsoft. Apple is bundling all of their wares into a nice subscription. Netflix is subscription based. So is Amazon. For a small monthly fee, you get a lot of content and in music, you almost get the history of recorded music at your fingertips.
If you still want to create a CD, remember that CD sales thrived because people were rebuying their previous vinyl and cassette albums on CD and people who had computers with CD drives were purchasing CD’s. Computers don’t even come with CD drives anymore.
And for those who are upset that Daniel Ek is a billionaire, remember that without Spotify, Universal and Warner Music would be worth a lot less.
Streaming was gonna happen, because it’s on demand distribution. And people like that.
3 thoughts on “It’s All Rock To Me”
For many as you point out its the merch and touring that brings in the money. I find it hard to believe that Maiden has sold under 7 million albums in the States over 40 years! Amazingly there last Gold album there is from 30 years ago (No Prayer For The Dying)..
Yet, you would never know that by the turnouts at the arena shows!
I know. It’s strange, but perfect to illustrate how artists and the labels should never have relied on sales counting as fans. Nicko summed it up perfectly in the Flight 666 film. We haven’t sold an album in Costa Rica but we sold out the sports stadium.
Mmmm I wonder how those fans got hold of their music.