Editorial: If Rock Is Dead, It’s Because The Mainstream Wants It Dead. Why Should We Care?

I’ve been in this business entirely too long, which is comical to say since I’ve been doing it voluntarily (and currently out of pocket) for the past decade. Thirty-five was my cutoff for music coverage and I’m rapidly approaching that, but I don’t feel the desire to quit as there are still acts that I feel are worth promoting. However, the mainstream rock media doesn’t care. The mainstream metal media doesn’t care. With Metal Hammer (who I recently was social media blacklisted from because I called out a piss-poor reviewer) and The Blastbeat Ad Network running the show, there’s absolutely no incentive to promote new bands. Why? Because the algorithmic systems that these services evaluate revolve around the same trending big names that they always have. Especially when a big name is about to release a new album. Promotion for that one single album goes up so high that nothing else matters, regardless of how many other long-anticipated albums have arrived. I don’t believe I caught even one article in promotion of least year’s Disillusion album, The Liberation which would be their first album in fifteen years, the same with Tool. No one was covering it, sans the same volunteer blogs that longtime writers are getting tired of as they discover that there really isn’t any money in this business. There hasn’t been in over a decade.

Obviously, as I’ve ever heard from publicists who at one time handled some of the biggest bands out there back in the day; the money is no longer in rock music. It is in modern hip hop. I will admit that the genre is booming with experimentation and possibly because of social changes and a possible connection with rock and white nationalism, this could be why many young listeners have jumped into hip hop realms. Obviously, black culture is highly praised in our society and that has a lot to do with it as well. I’ve never known rock or metal music to be a part of modern black culture, period. In fact, I’ve heard from black men who’ve told me that they were ostracized from their communities because they liked rock and metal and did not enjoy hip hop for the most part. Even though as I said before, rock music did begin with the black man and it is at heart; a cultural music.

Rock trended heavily back in the eighties and nineties, but you can see the heavy changes pushed in modern media that have resulted in rock stations who consider acts like Imagine Dragons and Twenty-One Pilots to be of the same caliber as acts like Soundgarden, Metallica or Slipknot. The influence of American pop music is sprinkled all over these acts and they’re played constantly (Imagine Dragons, especially) on modern rock radio. This is because Clear Channel was bought out by iHeart Media, who if you haven’t noticed from their concert events (which air on the same channel as teen dramas) is largely in the business of promoting pop music. Acts like Lizzo and Billie Eilish were showcased this year and sometimes advertisements for those acts will appear on iHeart Media owned stations. What’s more, is that these stations realize that the only reason they’re still in business is because iHeart Media is paying them. In fact, our previous radio DJ left to go work directly for iHeart Media. They probably offered him more money and of course, he’s been there for years and saw the writing on the wall as my state is about to lose it’s only modern rock station. It’s replacement will probably be pop music or something else that zoomers seem to enjoy and will make money.

Despite the enormous amount of emails that I get requesting to promote bands, there are only so many that I can provide these kinds of services for. While I brush up on my HTML and learn how to properly use the functions of WordPress because New Noise now requests that I publish my own articles (which is fine, I need the practice anyway) on their version of the software, I find myself skipping over a lot of requests. Because I work as a truck unloader and retail stocker for a living, I am often much too busy with work and too exhausted when I get home. It’s an entry level position, but the pay is suitable enough even though I haven’t seen a raise in four years. And yes, I provided them a resume. I know that I have skills, but I suppose I need to work on applying them. That certainly won’t be done with this work, as again – I haven’t made any money from it. That is because I do not cover the acts in the mainstream algorithm and most of my hits are not found on my music reviews to be completely honest. I’ll probably get more attention with articles about Japan, sex dolls and others things than I would with rock and heavy metal and that’s the truth.

I’m sure that if I cover another eroge game (and I still need to cover Alternate DiMansion Diary) in the same way that I covered Monster Girl Quest Complete, I’ll get more exposure. I’m not sure what good that would do, but I’m trying to work with eroge sellers like MangaGamer and Nutaku (which requires a lot more work than MangaGamer) in order to get some kind of compensation for the work that I do here. Because the mainstream would rather promote the same bands over and over again, there is simply no real money in this for me. Not to mention sites like No Clean Singing who have a larger staff and are volunteer based, same with Metal Temple and others. If you want to review albums for free, you can – and that’s why when people ask me if I’ve made anything from my work in the music industry as a critic for ten years, I simply grin sheepishly as I tell them, “no, not really.”

The mainstream media wants rock to be dead, because it just isn’t viable to them anymore. Look at how many rappers and pop artists are being promoted these days, just in current films and televised series. The Weekend was featured in Adam Sandler’s Uncut Gems, which is a film set to win multiple Oscars. I haven’t seen very many films or television shows outside of Japan who promote rock bands or rock acts. Even the fodder that Saturday Night Live gets sounds like a half-baked hipster rock that will go nowhere. It’s essentially a Weekend At Bernie’s kind of thing, as they try to resurrect the corpse of a genre that just isn’t commercially viable in the current era. Also, the genre is heavily policed because of social politics and that drives people underground. Even if there are good bands, they get very low publicity if any at all. More people were talking about a pseudo metal album from a pop star and former YouTuber than I care to discuss. I’m going to let FlightOfIcarus handle those trends, because obviously he is slowly but surely making waves. I’m not even sure how much I want to cover music other than twice a month, because my articles and rants do seem to get more hits and I have more to say there than in most of the observations. I may even roll into an eroge coverage train and go full degenerate if it comes down to it. Obviously, our most popular post is still Monster Girl Quest Complete and I know how to follow that up.

Maybe this article is more about us, but you can see how the media’s decision to not cover massive swathes of bands leaves us at a standstill. It’s not a matter of how we should continue to cover music here, but rather a matter of why. There are better sites for that kind of thing with more staff and more socially accessible values. Values that will appeal to the modern millennial and zoomer, I’m sure. I really have no idea who our audience is, to be honest – but I know what they want to see and I know what I want to write about. I’m paying a little over a hundred bucks a year to run the place, so I’m going to continue to post more about things that I feel are important, even if they upset some people; because that’s the whole point of an opinion. You can agree or disagree, but my point still stands.

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