Don’t stop believin’…in Classic Rock that is. Sure, gone are the days of free love, and any Woodstock tribute will never compare to that magical event during the summer of ‘69, but one thing you can be sure of — the tunes from these Classic Rock artists are still raking in millions of dollars.
Who is Listening To Classic Rock?
They may not want to admit it, but the hippies from the 60’s and 70’s grew up. Now considered baby boomers, most of them have real jobs and are influential and respected decision makers in their community. They many have turned their bell bottoms in for suits but these boomers are still hardcore Classic Rock radio listeners. They also lead very active lifestyles. After all, 50 is the new 30.
Baby boomers aren’t the only Classic Rock listeners. In fact, studies show that the Classic Rock listener demographic is getting younger and younger — in the last three years, the number of fans aged 12-34 has jumped 50 percent. “Rock from the 1960’s and ’70s was so good, it has turned on whole new generations of kids,” says Mark Pinkus, President of the catalog label Rhino. “Each album is like a ‘Greatest Hits.’”
Another group of rockers are the affluent. An Eventbrite study concluded that those making an annual $90K+ prefer to keep it classic, going to more rock concerts than blues/jazz, classical or opera. Classic Rock is appealing more and more to a wealthier demographic, making it ideal for advertisers looking to re-direct their marketing efforts from other formats or mediums.
These listeners like to have fun, have expendable incomes, and are extremely active. The 50-something-year-old Classic Rocker is traveling, eating out, spending time with family, making major career moves, and making large purchases ranging from second homes to boats to motorcycles and RVs.
Is The Classic Rock Audience Expanding?
The short answer… YES! Nielsen/SoundScan compiled a list of America’s total music purchases in all formats in 2014 and rock took the lead with 29% of the total. R&B/hip-hop came in second a whopping 12 points behind the leader. Rock sales nearly doubled those of pop music at 14.9%, country represented only 11.2% and all the above virtually slaughtered the trendy EDM sales of 3.4%.
That same study tells us that rock is the dominant genre for album sales (over 33% of all albums) with Classic Rock — by acts such as Pink Floyd and the Eagles — accounting for 60% of the genre’s album sales. Long live Rock and Roll.
While the Baby Boomers continue to be a coveted audience to reach, we can’t ignore the fact that Gen Xers, and even Millennials and younger, continue to love and enjoy the classic hits that continue to be the soundtrack to their lives.
What Else Can We Attribute to the Growth in Revenue?
A few things to credit this new, younger, demographic of listeners to is Classic Rock radio, streaming audio, popular movie soundtracks, and the rise in vinyl sales. A seven-year study by Statista details the rise of Classic Rock radio listeners in the United States of America. In the spring of 2014, the reported number of Classic Rock radio listeners was over 34 million, up nearly 10.5 million from 23.8 million back in the spring of 2008! As “Bad to the Bone” musician George Thorogood once said, “Classic Rock radio gave us our longevity.”
There’s no denying that today’s pop charts are full of R&B, hip-hop, and country, but it turns out dad’s old rock songs continue to rule the charts as the nation’s largest seller.
It’s called Classic Rock for a reason; it’s timeless! Classic rock provides nostalgia for older listeners, and introduces younger fans to one of the greatest eras in music. Danny & The Juniors had it right almost 60 years ago; Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay.