As someone who is more than just a little invested in the past, present, and future of the Classic Rock format, I am constantly searching for key indicators that help me gain insights into the music's health. After all, most of the core music that Classic Rock stations play is at least four decades old.
Now you'd think that Nielsen data would be my go-to source. After all, they're conducting audience ratings in hundreds of markets around the country, constantly tapping into the public taste. And based on what we've seen in the last several days of PPM data for July, Classic Rock looks to be having a truly great summer. Stations from all over the country are experiencing excellent ratings – in many cases, leading their markets in total audience share.
But as us radio veterans have learned over the years, you live by the ratings, you die by the ratings. They're an indication of “what was” – not “what will be.” So, like some of the savviest economic seers, I tend to look in odd and even eccentric places for proof that Classic Rock isn't just healthy – it's thriving and will continue to do so.
Did you know there's a men's underwear index that even former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan admits has credence. The theory is that when the economy is about to take a turn for the worst, men will hold off on purchasing underwear. According to the research firm, Mintel, men's underwear sales started slowing down in 2008, and actually dropped 2.3% the next year – the first time it experienced a downturn in several years. And we all remember what ended up happening to the economy back then.
So what have I been seeing outside all these great ratings that tells me Classic Rock is hale, hearty, and thriving?
Yes, it's a Twitter hashtag where Classic Rock lovers convene to share their favorite song lyrics as allegories about life. Like many Twitter hashtags, this one's all over the road, but some of the lyrical insights are fun, clever, and whimsical. And they're reminders that iconic Classic Rock songs are more than just about guitar riffs, drum solos, and singers hitting the high notes. They're words to live by:
And then there's this entry from KSWD/Los Angeles morning man, Andy Chanley – always waxing philosophical:
You should spend time roaming around this hashtag. You'll be entertained, and you just might bump into your new life philosophy, thanks to a true artist like Bob Dylan, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, or Freddie Mercury.
2. Alternative fans love Classic Rock
This bizarre, bigger-than-life scene took place at London's Hyde Park last month at a Green Day show. The huge crowd of 65,000+ was waiting for the band to take the stage, when “Bohemian Rhapsody” started to play over the sound system.
And that prompted this massive audience to spontaneously sing the entire Queen anthem, creating a true Classic Rock communal experience. Green Day was so blown away by the spectacle they uploaded the video so we all can enjoy another great Classic Rock moment.
3. Your surgeon is probably rocking out to the Doors
No one looks forward to that knee replacement or gall bladder procedure. And those are the moments when we hope and pray our surgeon is an expert, well-rested, and in the right frame of mind.
That's why you'll be happy to know that chances are excellent your surgeon is happily rocking out to Classic Rock while you're on the operating table. Spotify has put together the playlist metrics revealing that bands like Zeppelin, Queen, Guns N' Roses, and Hendrix are in hot rotation, often blaring in the OR.
Overall, nearly half (49%) choose Rock – and it's almost all Classic Rock – followed by Classical (43%), Jazz (24%), and R&B (21%)
And here are their faves, resembling a Classic Rock radio station playlist, except perhaps for the Ted Nugent surgeon's theme song:
- Scorpions – “Rock You Like A Hurricane”
- Guns N' Roses – “Sweet Child O' Mine”
- Ted Nugent – “Just What The Doctor Ordered”
- Doors – “Break On Through”
- Queen – “We Will Rock You”
- Eric Clapton – “Cocaine”
- Jimi Hendrix – “The Wind Cries Mary”
- The Clash – “Should I Stay Or Should I Go”
- Bob Dylan – “Like A Rolling Stone”
- David Bowie – “Rebel Rebel”
Strangely, Humble Pie's “I Don't Need No Doctor” was not on the list.
So “5 out of 10 surgeons recommend Classic Rock” certainly reinforces the “at-work station” image most stations are striving to win.
And so, those are some of the signposts that tell me Classic Rock is alive, well, and thriving as 2017 rolls on.
Oh yeah, and the ratings are pretty good, too.
Thanks to David Gariano and Elnora Lowe for the heads-up for today's post.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,200 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.
Fred was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2018.
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