Tuesday, June 13, 2017

When Does Classic Rock Get Moldy?

"Classic Rock - Rock That's Stood The Test of Time."  One of the classic sweepers for the format.  But, when does the music get too old?  Right now most Classic Rock stations have an average year of 1977 to 1980 in their music mix.   If we took all the songs over 30 days and averaged them we'd hit a year in that range - the songs are around 40 years old!!  So if you were 18 in 1978 you are now 57.   You are out of the 25-54 demo, coming up on 10 years out of 18-49s, and retirement is hopefully just a few years off.

If you look at the range of music played in the format nearly all of it comes from the mid 60's up to 1990.  Even the newest songs in the mix are almost 30 years old and the oldest are 50 years old.  If you look at the mix on the Classic Hits stations they are at least into the early 80s for the average year and often the mix extends into the early 90s.  It's been over 15 years since we began to see the end of the old - Oldies - format.  Oldies used to cover the late 50s to the late 70s and found itself too old to be effective in the 25-54 demo.  That's when the transition to Classic Hits began and saved the old oldies stations from the grave.

Will it happen to Classic Rock?  Part of the issue is that Classic Rock clearly defined itself as it positioned against rock stations that still played current songs in the 80s and 90s.  That's when the boundaries were set.   For the most part Gun's n Roses is the last band let into the format.  Once in a while, you see a few grunge era titles from Pearl Jam or Nirvana in the mix, but it's very light.  Classic Rock does not include the 90s or beyond - Grunge and Alternative are not in the club at most stations.  Some have expanded but usually, it's less than 4% of the mix.

Will there be a legacy or gold format built for today's 30-50 year old?  If you are 38 today you were 19 in the late 90s.  Does Classic Rock evolve or is the door open for a new approach and mix in rock?