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Currently, radio stations are playing the role of defining the genre. As people would agree, back in those days since radio stations were among the biggest music source, whatever the stations played would make a huge impact on listeners. In fact, radio stations are now using data to make their music selection and any radio company with the resources conducts regular studies in its major markets to find out what its listeners consider classic rock.
Wellman, the Classic Rock brand manager for Clear Channel has said, “Release years have nothing to do with what makes a song ‘Classic rock’; the ability of the genre to grow based on consumers’ tastes is one of the things that’s given it such longevity.”
By the same data from radio stations, the bands which are considered classic rock and played more often in those cities were plotted and analysed. We can see recent bands like Metallica, Nirvana are being played a lot by classic rock radio stations in cities like St. Louis and San Francisco.
But if we look closely, out of the 20 bands plotted only 5 of them can truly be considered under classic rock. The commercialisation of music has led radio stations to define the genres in the way which seem fit to the mainstream listeners and fetches them the revenue.
Ideologically, 'classic rock' serves to confirm the dominant status of a particular period of music history – the emergence of rock in the mid-1960s – with its associated values and set of practices: live performance, self-expression, and authenticity; the group as the creative unit, with the charismatic lead singer playing a key role, and the guitar as the primary instrument. This was a version of classic Romanticism, an ideology with its origins in art and aesthetics.
‘Classic’ as a word means ‘judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind’ and that is what makes Classic Rock a ‘closed’ genre. With that being said, a lot of music from the non-classic Rock genre can be easily identified and further categorized into newer genres like Progressive Rock, Alternative Rock, Punk Rock etc where the sounds are similar and ‘inspired’ but can’t be termed as Classic. It can be defined as the type of rock music that appeals to white male baby boomers’ nostalgia but what also makes it Classic is its appeal and likeability to listeners irrespective of them being alive during that period.