Monday, February 28, 2011

Grammys and Rock Music/Radio

There were a number of surprises in the Grammys from Arcade Fire winning LP of the year to Esperanza Spalding winning the best new artist, but the one resounding fact was the decline of Hard Rock and Active Rock music.   While the nominations and the results are not really a popular opinion poll in the Grammys (artists, producers and record company execs vote) there is a real message here and its not good for new rock music.

The musical spotlight from a sales, critics and Grammys reflection of this is clearly on 4 generes of music:

  • Pop/CHR - And even here the lean is rhythmic. 
  • Pop/Rap- When you have the Top Rap Artist (Eminem wins) placed in the prime time spot just before the top song and the top LP of the year you can see how important this genre has become.  
  • Pop/Country - You can argue that Lady Antebellum is a pretty pop act - it was still in the Country arena.
  • Indie Alt - Arcade Fire, Muse, and Mumford and Sons stole the show. 
Really the only 'traditional' rock moments came from Jagger singing a tribute to a Motown era artist and Bob Dylan with Mumford and Sons pretty much taking over his performance of Maggies Farm.  

Another 'blow' to guitar driven rock came this week from Guitar Hero where Activision announces that they are dropping the game.   The new hot game is Dance Central - a clearly pop and dance with the Kinect motion sensor. 

The message here is clear that Active Rock and traditional rock music in general is not even close to center stage.  If you look at the sales, downloads and other sources we can track the message isn't much different.  The library is still healthy, but the current Rock music scene is rather dark.   

The promised land for rock may lie in the Indie Rock world - not the Stadium Rock power cord world we often hear on today's rock stations.   

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