Despite the pointed assertion of Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney that rock music is dying because of Nickelback, the genre still appears to be selling quite well. Granted, not quite as well as hip-hop or pop, but it's still kicking.
In a recent Rolling Stone cover story, Carney is quoted as saying that "Rock & roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world. So they became OK with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be shit."
While plenty of people agree with that sentiment, at least philosophically, clearly that kind of shit -- coupled with the Black Keys' output, of course -- kept the rock rolling last year in the mainstream. According to a report by Nielsen Soundscan summarizing the business side of the industry, nearly 105.6 million total rock albums were sold in 2011. Take that figure and compare it to its closest genre competitor, R&B, with nearly half that number (55 million), and, well, let's just say there's nothing for rock fans to worry about just yet.
Now, in terms of innovation and the overall Nickelback-ness of modern rock, the qualitative state of mainstream rock is certainly debatable. But when it comes to sales figures, the genre is still alive and well.
And then there are the concerts: In 2011, rock was still a major draw. According to Billboard, U2's "360" tour grossed $736 million, and 44 of 44 shows sold out. In second place for top-grossing tours of 2011 was Bon Jovi, with $192 million, followed by Take That, a British male pop group, with upwards of $185 million; Roger Waters checked in at number four, with almost $150 million; and Taylor Swift claimed the fifth slot, with $97 million.
Collectively, rock packed a hard punch against pop and country in just three of these top five tours alone, which, when you do the math, adds up to $1 billion.
And with big names in rock already scheduled to release albums in 2012, including Van Halen, Black Sabbath and the Killers, plus Foo Fighters returning to the studio to write a new album -- which may or may not be released in 2012 -- rock isn't going anywhere. And neither is Nickelback, apparently, which will no doubt be touring this year in support of its seventh album, Here and Now.
Hey Baby: Beyoncé gave birth to a baby girl over the weekend in New York City, but the jury is still out on the name: Blue Ivy Carter. A bit ponderous, but hey, at least it's not "Apple."
Chart Moves: LMFAO continues atop the Billboard Hot 100 with wiggle-fest "Sexy and I Know It," while Rihanna's longest number-one song as the main artist, "We Found Love," starts its second week at number two. With all of the divorce drama, Katy Perry's "The One That Got Away" sits at number three for a second week as well.
Elsewhere on the charts, LMFAO's undying "Party Rock Anthem" proves even in a new year that it just won't go away. The song moves up three slots to number six. Adele continues at the lower end of the top ten with "Set Fire to the Rain" and "Someone Like You" at eight and nine, respectively. Lower on the Hot 100, Toby Keith's "Red Solo Cup" sits at number fifteen. It's the only country single in the Top 25.
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