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Monday
Jan172011

How Technology Killed Rock And Roll

Rock and roll embodied more than a genre or a lifestyle. It was a religion. One fervently practiced by those involved in the spectacle. Worshippers sought salvation from their ordinary lives and wanted to be a part of something bigger than themselves – a musical nirvana. Throughout the twentieth century, rock and roll evolved into a social movement; it broke down economic, racial, sexual, and social barriers. The raw immediacy of the music struck a chord with the dissonance sweeping the country. Rock and roll embraced new and different musicians who were unwilling to conform to prior musical standards.

The sixties and seventies ushered in the golden years of rock and roll. A time when The Beatles and The Rolling Stones set the groundwork for what defined rock and roll as not only a genre but also a lifestyle. The bigger than life reputations and music spawned an entire new class of musicians. Record companies were quick to capitalize on the new phenomenon. They spent lots of money to perpetuate the myth of rock and roll to the collective masses.

Ultimately, though, the lauded genre would meet its downfall. The incompetents who profited the most from its growth would cause this defeat: the analog executives. These people built their careers on the massive airplay groups of the seventies and eighties. They spent millions to make millions. They were the gatekeepers of rock success and decadence, brilliantly packaging and selling the genre as a lifestyle – without regard for the music. Subsequently, these executives killed the notion of rock and roll without ever knowing the implications their actions had on generations to come.

Bad Reputation

The mid to late seventies saw the rise of punk music. The beginning of punk music was much like that of rock and roll. DIY and underground, punk rock was the antithesis of the excessive mainstream rock of the seventies. Piercing and unreformed, punk rock embraced the DIY attitude oftentimes distributing and recording their music themselves. Fans quickly formed around some of the most popular bands of the movement such as The Clash and The Ramones, starting the new independent rock movement.

The rise of the punk subculture quickly gave way to the New Wave movement with bands like The Cure and Siouxsee and The Banshees embracing the independent rock paradigm. These bands embraced fans whose niche-oriented communities viewed rock and roll as independence. 

Towards the end of the seventies, rock and roll became a distant memory. But some artists refused to let the myth die. They took matters and their careers into their own hands. Independent rock was a direct result of their abandonment of the status quo. 

Joan Jett first burst on to the scene as a teenager in the female rock band, The Runaways. After the dismantling of the group, Jett embarked on a solo recording career. With the finished album in hand, Jett and producer, Kenny Laguna, shopped the finished product to multiple labels – all of which refused to distribute the album. The two funded the album, Joan Jett, and eventually they distributed it by themselves without the help of a label through grassroots methods, such as selling it at Jett’s shows. 

Despite the success of independent rockers, commercial rock had a massive resurgence in the mid eighties. Juggernauts like Motley Crue, Van Halen, Billy Idol, and Bon Jovi with millions of dollars at their disposal rocked stadiums. Their single and album sales were built by massive national stadium rock tours and incessant airplay on commercial mainstream radio stations straddling the line between rock and roll and mainstream pop. 

No longer subject to the confines of a tour bus and redundant touring, hoping for radio success, these bands traveled the country in massive caravans for their debut ventures. This ensured the survival of a genre by pushing the music from every conceivable angle into the mass-consumer’s mind and setting massive records, which would last for years to come. 

Home Taping Is Killing Music

In the eighties, cassette tapes brought forth a huge shift in music; they offered fans their first chance to pirate music. Blank cassettes offered fans the opportunity to make custom playlists, relinquishing them from the confines of the traditional album format. Whether dubbing them from the radio or from other cassettes, this new form of piracy offered people to share their music tastes with their friends. This freedom allowed fans their own way to create a music ecosystem, one furthered by the sovereignty that cassette tapes provided. 

Soon thereafter, Home Taping Is Killing Music became a slogan of the anti-piracy campaign in the United Kingdom. Similar to the current iteration of p2p file sharing, industry groups saw home taping as a major problem in the eighties. The music industry feared the taping of music from the radio would cause a decline in the sales of recorded music. Seeking to squash it before it became a problem, the industry on both sides of the Atlantic spent millions of dollars lobbying government. 

Further perpetrating the myth of music piracy en masse, was the practice of tape trading. More common among heavy rock fans, this system of taping even had an honor system. Those who just took and did not reciprocate with a tape of their own were shunned from the collective traders. Tapes were recorded and sent to another trader via the mail or even in person at shows of bands. 

The riot grrrl movement of the Pacific Northwest swept the country purely by a viral word of mouth, pushed forward in part by pen pal writers and home taping. Among bands like Sleater Kinney and Excuse 17, Bikini Kill was arguably one of the better-known bands. Unlike most bands of the era, Bikini Kill was known for their anti-establishment lyrics and adamant refusal to sign with a major record label. 

More than just a movement, the riot grrrl lifestyle was something untouched by the marketing tactics of the major labels. Perpetuated by the music itself, the movement brought to the surface a new way of doing things for independent bands. They embraced the new taping technologies and the ideas of grassroots marketing. This new form of technology, when embraced, helped independent rock bands build their followings and spread word of their music organically. 

Grassroots marketing efforts enormously helped rock bands in the eighties form niche oriented followings around their own sub-genre. This further fragmented the landscape of rock and roll. Yet in spite of technology fostering a supportive environment for the genre, the shift of rock and roll as a music form to an idea had begun all at the hands of something that could have saved it. 

Alternative Takes Hold

The nineties were the most disastrous for rock and roll. At the end of the hair metal eighties era, the early nineties saw a rise in a new form of rock and roll: alternative. Alternative to every other type of music on the radio, this new genre offered fans a chance to listen to something other than pop music. 

Arguably, the most influential band of the nineties was Nirvana. Their single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, spoke to a generation of fans who wanted something fresh and irreverent. This new music genre had rapid evolution. Played massively on MTV and the radio, analog executives were quick to cash in on the sound of Seattle. Bands like Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, were marketed largely by record labels and were quick to become the reincarnation of the rock juggernaut. 

These bands played everywhere and immediately toured the US after being signed. The analog executives used old school tactics to market to a new consumer and, for the most part, it worked. Today these bands are icons, not measured by the quality of their music but by their exuberantly high record sales. 

In the nineties, a majority of acts were manufactured products of the analog executives. Most of these executives were now in a position of power at the major record labels with millions of dollars at their disposal. With the freedom and budget behind them, these people built multiple mainstream acts up with the old school tactics. 

The rock and roll that the analog executives spent their entire careers re-packaging and selling was obliterated with the rise of social media; it created an opportunity for artists to have a say in how they had a relationship with their fans. These executives would try everything in their power to extinguish this new idea, because they felt it would tarnish the old way of doing things. 

Larger Than Life

Instead of a larger generalized audience, the demographic broke down even more, splintering into sub genres with niche-oriented communities. 

Rock and roll was once larger than life. As it was dismantled, sold, and packaged to millions of people, the movement and genre lost its original outsider appeal. The term rock and roll no longer applied to the entire genre. It now subsists on niche markets fueling awareness of various rock bands and musicians. 

With the shift of music from the underground to the mainstream, the analog executives helped the genre meet its downfall. The blanketed term no longer applied to its various sub genres. When contemporary stalwarts like Rolling Stone underwent editorial makeovers, the exposure of the genre to a new generation of fans dwindled and they began to look for new areas for music discovery. The beginning of social media and the era of the pirate music consumer ushered in a new era of music. Older terms consumers used to classify their music tastes under were no longer relevant. 

In the new music consumer’s mind, rock and roll is an idea of the past. With the rise in numbers of those using social media and technology for music discovery the old way of marketing is no longer relevant. As these tactics become antiquated, so do the terms and movements that were once built up by them. The monetization of the genres and social movements still happens today but not to the effect it did forty years ago at the height of the rock and roll movement. 

Rock and roll was once urgent, immediate, a call to arms, and powerful because it was ugly and different. It encouraged outsiders to embrace their differences and live outside of both musical and societal norms. Now due to the rise of technology, the musician’s middle class, and the destruction of the myth of rock and roll, the genre has died. 

For good.

Corey Crossfield is an intern at Hypebot.

Reader Comments (52)

Corey,
I completely disagree that rock and roll is dead. The only thing that's dying, slowly, is the recording industry - two very different animals. Your post covers a large swathe of rock history but only at a surface level. e.g. Siouxsee and The Banshees were one of the precursors to punk, not New Wave. And you say that technology has killed rock and roll yet strangely you don't discuss what, when, or how in your post.

I believe technology has created a vast new landscape for those musicians who are experimental, curious and fascinated by the new tools at their disposal. Plus the Internet brought them freedom from the containers such as CDs and from labels and distributors who made sure there was no room for a "musicians middle class" as you put it.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterDave Allen

Rock and roll can never die.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterHey hey, my my.

Your title and article don't link up. Regardless, the main point of rock and roll is to upend the status quo. Hip hop and rap are doing that, deathcore is doing that... I'm sure if i were more hip I could name more genre's. I think the mistake you're making is letting the music of one era define rock and roll. Every era's is a little different.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Shattuck

I think I recently read that the highest grossing tour of 2010 was Bon Jovi. I think they are a rock band.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterChuck Hughes

This is the least cohesive article I've ever read on MTT.

Really? Rock n' roll is dead because of technology? Really?

Technology is what makes music possible. A musical instrument is a piece of technology. Technology is what birthed rock n' roll. Today, thanks to technology, you can be a fucking rock star without ever leaving your home. If you are going to blame the "death" of rock on something, blame it on people and their apathetic, A.D.D. behavior. Everybody moves at a mile a minute these days, and never stops to think or care about anything but themselves. That's why rock is "dead." It's because nobody gives a fuck anymore.

With all due respect, these death articles are retarded. How someone can possess the arrogance to make such outlandish claims is beyond me. I honestly can't stand it anymore. Stop squawking. If you're that concerned about it, pick up an electric guitar and write a fucking rock song.

January 17 | Registered CommenterChris Bracco

"Rock and roll was once urgent, immediate, a call to arms, and powerful because it was ugly and different."

No you actually are hitting the nail on the head with why rock and roll could potentially be dying. If an entire movement is based on a rugged individualism, the co option of that movement by the main stream is sort of ridiculous. How can some one be a "unique and beautiful snowflake" if everyone else is too?

What you're suggesting has nothing to do with technology or fragmentation. It has to do with the inevitable shift from counter culture to mainstream culture. It happens. It will continue to happen. Social media doesn't change any of that. It just means that "mainstream" doesn't have to be millions anymore.

-CD

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher

Oh noes! You've pushed at your straw man with all your might, and now it's fallen over. The gentle fluttering sound it makes as it sinks to the floor is drowned out by the noise of millions of speakers and headphones playing hundreds of thousands different songs. By the way, some of those songs are probably 'rock 'n' roll', or its children. Streaming from the afterlife, mebbe?

But if we run with your unlikely thesis for a moment - assuming that rock music started in the sixties (which it did, if you've never heard anything from the fifties), and you have now deigned to pinpoint its passing, isn't 50 years a fair old lifetime? Especially for a hard-living rocker archetype. RIP, whatever-the-hell-it-is-you're-talking-about.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterRob Kirtley

Completely disagree.

Bands like the Hold Steady are a great example of how rock & roll is alive and well.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Osborn

Friedrich Nietzsche said "GOD IS DEAD" and as far as I can tell, the religion business is stronger than ever. The Strokes just announced a new album today...would they really stop recording if they read this? Or better yet, maybe they will write a "DUB STEP" record instead. Hahaha. Plus, 10 years ago (or whenever), LENNY KRAVITZ said this very same thing - ironically that song was a hit (I heard it at the dentist once). Critics didn't seem to jump off of any skyscrapers when he said it.

Crossfield is a smart guy who seems to have his finger on the pulse of the music on internet (...maybe "the pulse" the wrong way to put it in this circumstance. haha) He makes some great arguments. I read Music Think Tank every day ... but I suggest before anybody puts any nails in coffins here, they put on the latest record by MASTADON ... and there's your answer.

Oh, from those of us who've dedicated our lives to creating rock music, that "for good" tag line is a real slam - and totally untrue. I'll put you on the guest list next time I'm in town, Corey - from the man who once played rock music for 78 hours straight - I'll rock your damn shoes off. :)

-Mark Mallman

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterMark Mallman

Sorry but this article is complete and utter nonsense, the only thing that is dead is Hip Hop, with declining record sales year after year. Rock has mutated and evolved into many different genres, when combined sells better than rap. Calling Alternative the death of rock is idiotic, the same ingredients in the 90s that led to alternative are actually happening right now, the tens will be the year of anti corporate music that plagued the early 2 ks, the so called middle class of musicians are about to bumped up.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterHip Hop is Dead

"What you're suggesting has nothing to do with technology or fragmentation. It has to do with the inevitable shift from counter culture to mainstream culture. It happens. It will continue to happen. Social media doesn't change any of that. It just means that "mainstream" doesn't have to be millions anymore."

@Christopher - truth.

January 17 | Registered CommenterChris Bracco

We need a timeline on public announcements that rock and roll was dead, starting maybe in the 1950's, when it was about to be replaced by trad jazz.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

Thank you Corey for your well thought article! You are very right about music loosing its quality and power. Bands are wrapped up with remixes these days, they lost creativity even when it comes to making digital samples. They copy one from another delivering poor content at the end. Their music may be polished a lot by technology use but it kills any real raw spirit. And this is how I do think grunge was the last music movement. A musician is somebody who was graduated to be the one and learnt a lot either in a school or himself, who knows about harmonies and all that serious composing. If a band doesn't use real guitars, bass, drums and vocals making their music and tries to tell me they play 'rock' orientated tunes, then I don't treat them seriously. I could go on and on but there's no space for that ;) Keep it up!

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterNINa

Rock n Roll is alive and well. Those who think it's dead are those who don't bother going to shows or independent record stores.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterNick Cato

It sounds (pun intended) as if rock 'n' roll thrived because of technology. It took music out of the hands of the corporations, mainstream recording labels and corporate radio and put it in the hands of the musician.

If it wasn't for technology and social media I wouldn't have discovered a number of bands that would never be played on the radio. Or... introduce my daughters to bands and singers from the 60s and the 70s that their preteen culture would otherwise deny them.

Rock 'n' Roll hasn't been killed, it's being kept alive by those that love the music and technology is just another tool to help keep it alive.

Well you make some interesting points I disagree that Rock and Roll is dead. SiriusXM radio has loads of rock stations and they even have it broken down into some sub genres as well.

What is killing the music industry and based on your story which as I said does raise some valid points it doesn't explain anything, a genre of music isn't technology as much as greed from the labels and what they view as a threat. I'm sorry paying close to $20 for a cd that has one good song it and its not even a single is greed.

Yes based on what you posted your view is Rock and Roll is dead but your view doesn't match whats out there. Last summer four huge rock bands, actually if you want to be correct thrash metal bands played a series of dates that were a huge success, to the point they are working out the details etc to repeat the concerts here in the states in the very near future. If Rock music is dead and by extension all of the sub genres within that heading would be yet there is enough of a market to release a five CD and two DVD set of the above mention concert.

January 17 | Unregistered Commenterstrange

This article has been written every 4 months since 1968. Congratulations - now you wrote one.

Maybe in 20 years you can revisit it and explain why this time, Rock is really dead.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

Excellently done - but nothing in the article suggests the end of music or the end of rock n roll - only as a marketable genre. Marketing is the key issue here - the business is burned out (as usual), but the musicians and the listeners will never disappear. We'll keep evolving and finding new spaces to play and finding acceptance (or not) based on the quality of what we do.

Sad thing is, much of what is written here could apply to other things as well: literature, especially.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterDJ Young

It is ridiculous to suggest in anyway that 'rock and roll' is dying! Maybe it's gone back to the pubs and clubs and halls where 'real' rock & roll was always played and doesn't cross the middle-man's (music industry) table so often in a simple turn-into-cash ventures anymore, but it isn't dying.

Music very rarely disappears - how can it, it's a form of communication between human beings. It is the industries built around it that are slowly sinking back to the status it had before multi-million-dollar-media-hype became the 'norm'.

The music industry talks about peoples current 'copying music' attitudes as killing 'music'. It isn't! It's killing their percentages.

Maybe it's time for our local singer/songwriters to take central stage again, without having to have appeared on 'Billboard' or 'Rolling Stone' magazines covers or having to fight for the head-space a person requires to listen and consider new music without having somebody else's formulaic 'music-factory' songs repeated 30+ times every day on the radio or other modern media outlets. What hope did the 'music-industry' give the majority of these non-media-hyped smaller acts? What recompense did they supply for the lost airplay these local bands/singer/songwriter used to receive from their local radios, listened to by local people! NONE!

The music-industry may change from the form it currently takes, but the gap it will leave will most likely enable more music, not limit it - as they attempt to suggest to the punters.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterWez Hind

Another adolescent "anti-establishment" essay.

That's okay, I wrote them when I was a kid too. You'll be fine.

Peace and God Bless.

Ap

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterAlan

Rock N Roll Aint Dead....it just sucks right now.

January 17 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Rock'n'roll isn't dying. But your definition of rock'n'roll? Long, long dead.

"Rock and roll was once urgent, immediate, a call to arms, and powerful because it was ugly and different."

Even if we take this at face value and say yes, rock'n'roll was once great because it was ugly and different (and geez really? this is the best definition you can hang an essay on?) and now it's not, well, isn't this a kind of "dog bites man" story? Things evolve. People grow. As human beings we were all once crazy little four year olds but we grow and change. Do we think of our four-year-old selves as "dead" or merely an early stage of a long journey? Rock'n'roll has grown and changed. Hell, you're the one giving us the history lesson here. And the moral of the story is you wanted everything to stay how it was? How quaint and-- dare i say-- conservative.

And believe it or not, some of us out here never particularly liked the "ugly and different" side of rock'n'roll, never related to rock'n'roll as defined by teenage arrested development. Rock'n'roll started, arguably, as the music of rebel teenagers but so much of the genre's most notable and inspiring music far transcends its roots.

January 17 | Registered CommenterJeremy Schlosberg

We need more technology to kill Justin Bieber. Seriously though, Rock 'N' Roll is alive and well in Seattle. It's not "grunge" anymore, but good riddance to that. Tech may have killed arena sized butt rockers, but now we have a community of musicians that care more for music than getting super rich. Honestly, I think technology will resurrect Rock 'N' Roll.

Its pretty clear that writing is dead also. Is this a high school report?

January 18 | Unregistered CommenterDee Struckter

I wrote a small post about this a few days ago...

=============================================

Rock Music isn’t dead if you understand the music industry, if you realise what’s actually going on in the music scene & you realise how music is promoted & sold you will know that rock music isn’t dead…

It’s becoming a more independent endeavour this in turn is making Rock Bands re-think their game…

Seeing now the music industry isn’t reliant on the old school of :-

Make a Demo
Get signed
Make & Release Single
Make Album
Do Gigs to Promote Album
Album enters the Charts

So Rock Isn’t Dead…it’s just re-thinking it’s game…

January 18 | Unregistered CommenterGuy

Rock n roll as a movement is almost dead, the music is alive and because of that, and the lack of new real music old school bands emerge.

Almost all music sucks right now, rock was agains the system, you listen to rock with you headphones to analize every detail of it, you felt the music, the riffs, the chorus, the solos.

Now, you get music mixed terribly, read about "the loudness war" and how studios mix the music to listen to it with mp3 players, loosing quality and saturating the sound.

Also, a new album from an artist has 2 good songs out of 12, rock has 10 good songs out of 12.

So yeah, rock is dead

January 18 | Unregistered Commenterpoloart

About halfway through, I was thinking that this looks like it was written by a teenager. Then at the end of the piece, I see it was written by an intern. Nice try, kid. By all means, keep writing. Practice, practice, practice. C-

January 18 | Unregistered CommenterMick

Anyone who thinks Rock is dead needs to check out Foxy Shazam. Their frontman is the next Freddy Mercury.

January 18 | Unregistered CommenterMarko

Rock and roll IS dying. As I agree with this, I disagree that technology KILLED it single handedly. Every type of music has it's peak and I don't think some people get this. Rock and roll is crashing while new music is born. It has it's history as does CLASSIC.
You know what killed classic? The death of it's creator's.
It all has an end. It's still alive, for now, but it will not stay that way forever.
Piracy does not only kill rock and roll, it's kills much more. It's just a matter of fact that it was born closest to rock and roll.

January 18 | Unregistered CommenterShelby

It's an attention-getting thesis, and a good way to blow off steam if you hate what's happened to rock. Not sure I buy it, but it's worth chewing on. I agree the Golden Years were over after the 70s. But you gotta give some props to the 50s pioneers: Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis, etc. It's STILL hard to top "Good Golly, Miss Molly" for a great R&R track.

January 18 | Unregistered CommenterJohn O'Leary

@Mick. Intern or not, he got a nice, heated discussion going. Even I grabbed the bait.

On top of all the other holes in this argument that have already been pointed out, cassettes and cassette mixtapes were big in the 70's.

January 18 | Unregistered CommenterMichael1313

This blog was horribly written. Rock didnt fall out of the mainstream because of anything other then 3 reasons.
1. its cheaper for a record company to put one rap guy and a computer in the studio to record the same BS that we have been hearing from those lame rap losers for the last 15 years. It costs way more to put Motley Crew in the studio.
2. The Pedophile, Gotta have the youngest kid mentality that clear channel, Disney, Nickelodean are sticking by.
3. The fact that adult musicians can spread messages and change the world like the 60s ect. Kids cant do that. Record companies will never allow an artist over 28 to be looked at. Once they started down the Kiddie Porn road they WILL NEVER go back .

January 26 | Unregistered CommenterLiquid

As a form of penance I forced myself to read the whole article and the comments, too (it was something very bad).

From @Dave Allen's hopeful anticipations to @Liquid's deranged reasoning (Motley Crew?): of course it's dead. It was dead when Zappa intelectualised doo wop. It was dead, before that, when Jerry Lee took a 13 year old girl across the state border; it died when Soft Machine introduced a 3/6 time signature for one section of a ten minute 'piece'; and it died again when Bob Dylan went to Israel.

It died, more recently, when Iggy Pop started selling insurance; a particularly bloody death was every time Mike Love of the Beach Boys danced. Even more recently, it's been dying every time someone signs on to a 'school of rock' course.

What kills it? Basses with more than 4 strings; guitars with no headstock; lycra; 'math'; old rockers staying alive; technicians; public school (Ivy League, if you're stateside); golf; football (soccer, if you're stateside); Rick Wakeman; the wrong people owning the right guitar; lack of desperation; age; acceptance...

What's important is what kind of noise it makes whilst it dies.

There, Better than a visit to the dentists.

January 27 | Registered CommenterTim London

This is a terrible and ill researched article.

January 27 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

I've heard this a lot, most recently by a friend who's gone to LA to get his rock album into a successful direction. He's been in some of the most famous London bands over the last 10-15 years and even though he says it, he's still on his way over the pond. His album is Indie. I play rock/alternative/metal punk and will do it regardless of whether anyone says rock is dead or not. Rock concerts are the best you can see, better than pop or jazz (I love both) simply because it is raw and loud. But, what will end is the place for good "rock" gigs to be seen. Here in London there are fewer and fewer good small-mid sized venues. So if rock dies it won't be because of the music, it will be because we can't watch it, and that is because on-line and High Definition will take over the venues, and this format only works with big, successful bands for now, and they tend to be pop or U2 style rock - stadium rock.

March 16 | Unregistered CommenterNK

rock and roll is still alive and kickin, still love the sound of vinyl

July 19 | Unregistered Commenteradam bell

rock is at a low point like it was in the late 80's and early 90's people said rock is dead then WAM! Nirvana comes in and rock is the most popular thing from like 1992 to 2007. there is gonna be another band thats gonna change it all again. A Nirvana like thing 20 years later but this time its gonna be indie rock

November 18 | Unregistered Commenterya man

rock can't even break the top 100 in the usa market anymore. Compare that to the 80's when guitar based bands were very popular.
Rock is deader than a door nail. I can still detect a pulse in a door nail.

December 30 | Unregistered Commenterspank

It's like this: technology has enabled all musicians and producers (is there really any difference anymore?) to join the fray via social media, versus having to "get signed" as in the bad old days. If people like your stuff, whether its rock, rap or (gasp) dubstep, they'll buy it. If they don't, you're screwed. And that's as it should be.

March 14 | Unregistered CommenterPorgy

Rock and roll isn’t dead yet...but we are working very hard to kill it or at least put it in the museum where it belongs. Electronic dance music is the future. Rock and Rap are the past. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated or left behind.

April 13 | Unregistered CommenterDJ Rodimus

SUM 41

April 15 | Unregistered Commentersss

That's not the only way that rock'n'roll is a religion. There's also concepts of orthodoxy and heresy. According to the standard history of rock'n'roll, "orthodox" rock'n'roll movements like punk and grunge trample rock'n'roll "heresies" such as progressive rock or glam metal. I think this is a load of crap. I'll take the best prog bands over the best punk bands any day. And at least real religion has benefits. "Orthodox" rock'n'roll standards hold back the artistic quality in rock music. I wrote more about it on my blog: Kill the Heretic

May 8 | Unregistered CommenterAlex H

Rock music has died as far as record sales and top 10 in the mainstream charts the only thing keepin it a float is old fans and new Bands of this age better referred to as metalcore post hardcore rock will resurface one day but it's the race to see who will launch a new era of feel good happy go lucky rock music that's in your face with clever lyrics riffs and catchy solos

September 13 | Unregistered CommenterJakky V

Well this is only part right:

1. A band is a business. Its as simple as that. Getting signed is about someone giving you a loan which you have to pay back. So consequently, that someone is going to invest money on what appears to be the winning horse. Would you buy a company stock that wasn't promising? Its exactly the same story here. It has never been about the music even starting with Elvis. It is always a greedy guy who looked at an artist and said.. "you know what.. I can market this guy and make tons of money while throwing him a few pennies and letting him live the rock star life".. That in a nutshell is what its always been about. Think about it.

2. Repackaging is the name of the game. As the biblical quote goes: "there is nothing new under the sun". Marketing is basically clever repackaging. Early 90's music is clearly rock n' roll without the solo with a little pop thrown in there.. that's it.. You take black sabbath, put DIO as the singer, remove the solo, add some pop melodies and you have soundgarden. Its as simple as that. There was no real movement in the 90s. This is all propaganda and media hype. True there was a Nirvana craze but only because radio stations drove those songs into people's head by playing it oh I don't know 10 times a day. And Nirvana is clearly POP. The guy set out to write the ultimate pop song! Read up on this!

3. With the internet, bands no longer make money selling music. No one cares about music anymore because everyone and their kid brother can pick up a guitar and start a band. There are way too many bands and they clutter it up for the decent ones. So the internet is good to get the word out but then when 5 million bands have the word out.. your word is silenced.

On the bright side: Vinyl is making a come back and Vinyl sales went up 35% last year. I took back all my CDs for sale at a local store and believe it or not I got more money for Vinyl than my CDs. Even semi-decent condition vinyls were guaranteed 3 dollars while CDs were still 1 dollar or 2 dollars buy back value tops.

Maybe if bands release only Vinyl which can't be copied easily, the industry will survive. The downside is it costs $1000 to press 120 vinyls.. What independent artist has that kind of money?

September 26 | Unregistered Commenterresting

want an actual good rock band? well im gonna give you the chance to hear an actual good rock band who use the guitar drums and bass the standard in rock.now if none of you dont wanna hear what im talking about then you proved the point why rock is dead.help promote these bands make a scene.1 protester dont make something happen.its when the thing they protest against sees they have a massive following and it gets them alittle worried like wow something must be potent here.so here is the band they dont have a practice spot they are now using a generator for power and they play in a secluded area outside a van in philadelphia.i bet u say wow philadelphia?the bands name is unit theory, http://www.facebook.com/unittheory2012 to me this band is the only thing that can make rock a weapon the songs are strong and so are the lyrics

November 30 | Unregistered CommenterJohn taylor

Rock and roll died in the mainstream with the rise of hip and hop. There will always be niche rock bands that are popular, but right now, rock is mostly loved by older people. Go to a Pearl Jam or a Bon Jovi concert. Its all middle aged parents.

My kids are listening to Drake, Jay Z, Eminem, Justin Timberlake. That's the music of today. One day, their kids will be listening to someone else.

February 26 | Unregistered CommenterRock Shaw

I think The Who said it best ... "Long live rock! Be it dead or alive!"

March 2 | Unregistered CommenterReality

Well written article. I agree that when Rock N Roll lost that 'larger than life' characteristic it basically shot itself in the nuts (we're looking at you Grunge). I also agree that the division into 10000000 subgenres completely destroyed rock and created hoards of delusional elitists (like many of the commentators here)

So Who Killed Rock and Roll? I think the biggest problem is the disconnect of rock in the mainstream between generations. 70's arena rock used to all be just Rock N Roll or Heavy Metal. 80s Glam Metal used to be considered simply Rock N Roll or Heavy Metal. Now, there are a million niche subgenres. Essentially, Rock fans have been divided and conquered through their own doing. Like a Civil War, you could say.

Rap picked-up where Rock left off (or i should say what Rock abandoned). Rap was unapologetic, larger than life, and had all the 'Rockstar' attitude that grunge pissed on. Rock N roll is not simply dead from Technology, Grunge killed Rock N Roll just like Punk rock tried to kill rock N Roll in the 70s.

March 26 | Unregistered CommenterLRT

I agree with the author: Rock and Roll is LONG GONE. People want to argue about it, citing an instance or two where they have sought out some old band and saying, "See, they're still doing it!" As a viable entity in the music business, Rock music as I knew it in the 60's and 70's and everything about the business no longer exists. Record companies have disappeared, and the two or so major labels that still exist wouldn't sign a Rock group to save their life. People no longer live for their favorite bands' new releases and think about Rock and Roll all day long like they used to. It had a great run, but there are no new bands that are even close to the same earth-shaking talents we used to have. No one has been hurt more than myself, believe me. I feel like there's a hole in my chest where Rock and Roll used to be. It's gone and it's never coming back, people. The world is a totally different place now. If you disagree, mention your age in your comment. I know, I was there.

June 5 | Unregistered CommenterJTL

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