According to the Alternative Press, New York based digital music distribution, Tunecore, has released the 2018 streaming and download numbers. They revealed that heavy metal was the fastest growing genre in world with a whopping 154 percent increase! Metal fans can rejoice and head bang! As exciting as it is for a metal fan like me to see such a report, one has to wonder why all of a sudden in 2018 and 19 are we seeing a spike in metal streaming?! I have a few ideas.
Heavy metal is the superior genre!
It’s about damn time!!! I have preached the name of metal for several years and the people are FINALLY listening! No other genre is worthy!!! SSLLLLAAAYYYEEERRRR!!!!!
Okay, I’m just being bias. Here are some REAL reasons for why metal is rocking the streaming platforms.
The world sucks and we need something to pick us up.
It’s no secret, we live in dark, cruel world. Turn on the news it makes you think things get worse and worse everyday. Here in the States, people are working an unholy amount of hours and are still broke. Anxiety and depression plague society. The government sucks, not that it has ever been great in our lifetime. People seem to get more arrogant and foolish everyday. With all that being said, in some places it’s even worse.
So what takes the edge off when we face our everyday obstacles? Heavy music with the message we need to hear. There’s something about blasting your favorite tracks or albums that just makes everything better. Music has always been that way. But what makes metal standout from the other genres is the connection between the musicians and fans. The music created helps remind the fans that people have faced or are facing similar daily struggles in your life, and that you will always be bigger than your problems. You won’t get that message from pop hits on the radio. Metal speaks out against the world’s poor standards and traditions. It helps put us in the mindset to keep pressing forward.
Younger generation is tired of being told what to do.
To be clear, I ‘m not talking about teenage rebellion. Stick it to the old people, man!!!! No, hear me out on this. My generation was shown more advertising and product placement than any generation in history. The generation after mine will be shown even more. In some ways it is not a bad thing, but in other ways American corporations have used advertising to brainwash and manipulate youth to help gain profit.
According to the media platforms they’re exposed to, in order to be accepted you have to think a certain way, buy certain products, and create an image that is fitting for the peers around you. Basically, you do all this to try to be accepted by a world that doesn’t care about you anyway, and now they have your money which is all they ever wanted. On top of that you’re really not thinking for yourself. In that case are you really you?
I have reason to believe that the majority of the streamers are from ages 13 to 37, since they grew up with the technology. Imagine if you will, a junior high student that has been surrounded by all this commercialism and peer pressure, and they’re looking for an escape from it all. Honestly, depending on the type of person they are there are many different options they may approach to fill their need. But would I be too crazy to suggest that many of these teenagers may have stumbled upon some brutal music that changed their world? A type of music that was against the ways of the world and telling their listener to be themselves. There is a chance that the digital age has helped us introduce heavy metal to the younger generation. If so, that’s a huge win.
People craving REAL music.
I’m not saying anything outside metal is not real music. But let’s be honest, how much real musicianship and effort is being put into the popular music these days? Let’s reflect back to 1990’s rap and pop music. If you play some songs from that era and listen carefully you can point out all the instrumentation that is going on in the tracks. You can hear guitar, bass, saxophone, drums, some had drum machines, tambourines, ect. Were there quality lyrics? Rarely, but mostly lazy and shitty. I can at least admit that the producers at that time were trying to keep it interesting for the fans.
I can’t pin point the exact time, but somewhere in the late 2000’s some big wigs in the music industry figured out the music didn’t need to be that complicated to sell. A new wave of rap and pop artists came out, and their writers wrote less lyrics and producers had the same beat placed on every track. You say I’m over exaggerating and getting older, but I literally can’t tell the difference between one hit and the next! It’s literally same drum beat! And auto tune for the lazy kids that can’t sing!
At some point, people started getting bored hearing that water down bullshit on the radio. So with their streaming subscription they researched something else. Now that something else could be blues, jazz, latin, or maybe even polka. But no doubt in my mind there were some individuals that found the mystic tales of Iron Maiden fascinating. Maybe they heard the shredding progressions of Animals as Leaders as cool new discovery. There are many possibilities here. Bottom line, people like music and the direction that popular music is going is completely trash. Not sorry. That only entertains drunks on the dance floor. As long as people are looking, metal will find its way in some lucky fans heart.
Terrestrial radio is rotting.
Back in the day, radio was the way you find new music. People tuned in everyday to hear their favorite disc jockeys play their favorite tunes, listen to interviews, and even get some comedy during the time slot. It was a simpler time. Then one day it went down hill. The United States government recognized in the 1990’s that the population was much larger than the baby boomer generation. Not only that, many of them enjoyed rebellious rock ‘n roll. They would listen to bands such as Rage Against the Machine that warned them about corruption in congress. The government feared for an uprising and they knew how powerful music is, so they took action. Terrestrial radio started pushing pretty, pink bubblegum pop music down on the ears of their listeners. It was encouraged to the youth at the time that this was the cool and acceptable music. Call me conspiracy theorists if you want, but I encourage you to look it up. Music radio shows started loosing quality. It was the same hits over and over again. There were rock stations, but if they didn’t sell out to another format then they were stuck in the classic era.
Today, many stations are switching to just talk shows because it’s what keeps the listeners tuned in. CBS and iHeart Radio have both filed for bankruptcy. Your car radio is just not the place to find music anymore. A nice podcast or internet station can fill that void. I found this MHIORadio.com that plays heavy metal. You should probably check it out.
For those that don’t want to take the time looking for online radio or podcasts, I believe they start using streaming services to fill the void. They can listen to any song or album that they wish at the palm of their hand or on the office computer. There might not be a goofy disc jockey but you have more music and it’s uncensored!
Streaming services are opening doors for artists.
If you are old enough to remember, discovering new music took more money and effort than it does today. Outside the radio, if you wanted to find new bands to listen to you read the monthly metal magazines, you bought albums at the record store that you were willing to take a chance on (mostly for their album art), some of your peers made recommendations, or you saw the band perform on stage with other bands you enjoy. If you were a new band, you had to bust your ass to get any kind of attention from your local scene.
Thanks to social media and streaming services, finding new music is easier than it’s ever been. New bands can interact more with the public for their shows and music. Yes, the whole streaming royalties are complete bullshit, but to have it available anywhere in the world is a plus. I do believe the sudden rise in heavy metal streaming has something to do with band discovery. Metal fans are always looking for new music. When they’re bored they can crack open a beer and research new bands to check out. When they do find something that meets their satisfaction, they share it on social media for fellow headbangers to also enjoy. In the end, YOU CAN’T KILL THE METAL!
Seth Lipocky has a heavy metal internet radio show on Sunday nights called Sunday Bloody Sunday. It airs from 8 to 11 PM EST on MHIORadio.com.