Music streaming service giant Spotify recently shocked almost the entire music business, with the results of a study regarding listener loyalty based on genre. I say “almost” because the study just proved what metalheads have known all along – metal fans are the most loyal of any genre.
The study took a look at core acts from a wide range of genres, and the findings are based on the number of repeat listeners that each of those acts drew. The metal sampling included such legends as Metallica, Slayer, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Sepultura, Pantera, Cradle of Filth, and Anthrax. What they found was that radio-friendly genres such as pop, country, hip hop, and R&B had a more transient appeal based on the “flavor of the week” and geographic location, while metal is a worldwide phenomena that transcends even language barriers.
The study fails to take into account the appeal of new metal artists, for whom Spotify and other streaming services are a bit more of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, streaming has assisted in the deterioration of physical sales, although to a much lesser extent for metal artists than the more mainstream artists. Alternately, it has made it substantially easier for newer metal acts to reach global audiences, and build the sort of loyal fan base that the study highlights.
It is also worth noting that the numbers speak only to listener loyalty, not to overall popularity. Taylor and Kanye are in no danger of being usurped by Cattle Decapitation or Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Let’s hope it stays that way too… the last time metal overtook pop music it ended up like this: