BY DREW LACOUTURE
With the summer coming to an end, the music festivals and big summer tours from artists of all genres begin to hibernate, while audiences suffer from concert withdrawal. Country music has mastered the art of drawing crowds and giving people memories, leaving its cousin rock music in the dust in terms of packing stadiums with both young and old audiences.
This shift in the concert world has been building for a while, and it started when Rock stopped being fun. Labels began to stop promoting Rock music in the same way they had for decades. At the same time country had charismatic artists in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, and both label’s and fans pushed it to the top of the charts.
Looking at just concerts alone, it is clear that modern country music can be successful, with artists like Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, and Florida Georgia Line selling out stadiums around the country.
In a 2016 article from Forbes Magazine titled “Country Music’s Popularity and Influence Continues to Rise” it claimed that were 4,002 monitored country stations in 2015, compared to 2,874 stations in 2008. This increase is just one of many factors at play here.
There are no modern rock bands that have broken the mainstream barrier in the past decade that can fill up a stadium like these country artists can. Foo Fighters, Green Day, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers all precede even this millennium. Artists like Imagine Dragons and Mumford and Sons, for most people, do not follow a standard rock formula both in instrumentation and performances for they lie more in the alternative spectrum.
With the Nielsen Information Company recently stating that hip hop and R&B are statistically more popular then rock, it is clear that rock really is dying unfortunately. With that said, country is still not as popular as rock in terms of this list. However, with country music’s constant need for a good time, safe lyrics (for the most part), and rock’n’roll style, it is filling a large space that rock music cannot anymore.
Many music listeners both casual and enthused naturally want “crunch” in their music even if they do not realize they want it. “Crunch” is the driving sounds of electric guitars, heavy drums and big vocals that made rock so popular for many people, and country has capitalized on. For the longest time rock music satisfied most people’s desire for this. However due to exposure from radio and streaming services, many young people and even some middle aged people see country as their only option to satisfy this listening need.
This is why many adults like country music, even though they did not grow up listening to it. Bands like the ones listed earlier are still thriving, but part of that is because they have long-time fans that want to hear their old material.
Country music is arguably more polarizing than hip hop today, with both genres performing on the world stage despite still having their naysayers. Rock music just does not have the young talent, label backing or excitement to keep up. It might be sad for some, but other people will feel fine because they are dialing to the country station to listen to Dierks Bentley instead of the same classic rock station they have listened to for so long.