In many ways metal as a genre is far from what it once was. It has largely fallen out of mainstream favor and seems to have become a joke most people. Metal truly reached its peak in the ‘80s and ‘90s during the time of bands like Metallica, Slayer, Pantera, Death, and Rage Against the Machine, to name a few. These bands were able to find real success with radio play that has endured to the point most are still played regularly on the radio today. This opens up a problem that has occurred, which I believe is the reason rock and metal have been becoming less and less popular.
If you were to listen to almost any rock or metal radio station, there is a good chance the large majority of songs you’ll hear are 10+ years old. These older songs are classics and deserve to be remembered and enjoyed, but this makes it extremely hard for new bands in general to break on to the airwaves.
Turn on any pop or rap station, and you may hear songs that are a month or two old, but most are very current. It’s not as if there are no new bands making new music that could be played on the radio. When you turn a rap station on, it’s likely someone like Travis Scott will get just as much, if not more, play time as a classic like Tupac, but it would be very surprising to see Turnstile, the Interrupters, or the Regrettes getting anywhere close to the time a band like Metallica gets on the radio.
I do love Metallica and all of the other older bands I’ve mentioned as well, but you can’t expect a genre to stay relevant when its biggest hits are 30 years old. There are numerous great bands that can be discovered through the radio. It would be best if the newcomers got more of a chance.
Great musicians are always making great music, and making it harder for listeners to find that music is not good for the bands, not good for the radio, and not good for listeners.
Photos by Tommy Holl (thumb) and through Creative Commons.