Why is rock music not on the charts anymore?

  • The days of bands Pink Floyd and Metallica topping the charts are long gone, and I'm really unsure as to why? When and why did rock music die off in popularity and electronic music take over?

    This is another one of the type I was talking about in http://meta.musicfans.stackexchange.com/questions/145/would-it-be-worth-waiting-a-little-before-voting-to-close-things-as-opinion-base. I think there are some very fact-driven answers this question could be get if it were allowed to.

    You could apply this to any genre that has fallen out of favour though, making it a broad generalisation on why people's taste in music changes. The question isn't really about rock music, more about psychology on fashions and tastes.

    @RogerMellie 'You could apply this to any genre' - I agree there, though I'm not sure that itself makes it an invalid question. There seems more to it than psychology - you could talk about the invention and democratization of technologies allowing new instruments and production techniques that are not associated with traditional rock, for example.

    In any genre, we are constantly exposed to new music, so at some point the older ones that were not that memorable in the first place are forgotten. Popularity is necessary to keep a band or performer churning out new music (esp. financially as paying for production/sales support services is required), so ultimately such momentum will be lost. Also as some point activity of a band or performer naturally declines due to their personal circumstances, at which point popularity will naturally decline over time.

    Meta post discussing whether or not this question is on topic

    I get that bad answers are possible here - but I want to see if people can come up with some interesting ones.

    More details might make this a better question. For example, do these groups have recent activities/new releases? Or they are just relying on past popularity to keep on going? Less sales of other groups in the same genre? And again "rock music" is just **too** general a term.

    @user3169 I don't think he's talking specifically about the groups mentioned in the question (Pink Floyd and Metallica). They're just examples.

    Though having said that, I'm not sure if Pink Floyd are the best example of 'rock, not electronic' : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VouHPeO4Gls

    I think this question is based too much on a point of view, I see a lot of rock music appearing in charts, different genres come and go, there isn't a specific reason really

    Again, this question needs more details. Specifically, it makes a claim "When and why did rock music die off in popularity" without susbtantiating the claim.

    Steven Hyden at Grantland did a great series a year and a half ago that more or less gets to this answer. Linking last part; earlier installments linked in post: http://grantland.com/features/the-winners-history-rock-roll-part-7-black-keys/

  • Robert Fink

    Robert Fink Correct answer

    7 years ago

    Well, this may be semantics, but rock music continues to have its own charts -- several of them, in fact. If the question is "why is rock music not at the top of the Billboard pop charts?" then I would say it has to do with the shift from a blues based aesthetic of pop music to a gospel and hip-hop based aesthetic. For the last few generations of music consumers, the basic "matrix" within which pop music forms is no longer folk and the blues, with guitars at the center, but soul, gospel, and hip-hop, genres that emphasize looped beats, dance grooves, sampling, elaborate diva-style vocals, and rapping. (I explicitly want to avoid seeming to make a value judgment here; I don't think one is better or more "authentic" than the other.)

    Most new pop music is some combination of these styles, and white guys who might otherwise be rocking -- Ed Sheeran -- and white girls who might have wanted to be like Joni Mitchell -- Iggy Azalea -- are forming their styles on that combination.

    Meanwhile, new electric guitar music is either super retro and avant-garde (Jack White, St. Vincent) or extremely complex, dark, and avant-garde (metal). A lot of this stuff is awesome, but it is happily unaware of the need to be "popular."

    PS: I don't think technology per se is the issue. Plenty of soul/gospel based pop music is being made with explicitly "retro" technology (Amy Winehouse) and a focus on acoustically played instruments (Daft Punk).

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