It’s always pretty cool when mainstream media catches up with something that, as metal fans, we’ve all known for a while. The latest example of this is a study by Spotify that found the unsurprising news that metal fans are the most loyal of all genres. All you have to do is go to a metal show to see that. However, the study they did went deeper than that. The study took “core” artists of genres (no, not metalcore) by taking the most popular artists in genres on a global level, then a regional one with local genres. They then divided the the number of streams each artist had by the number of listeners. Metal came out far and above the genre with the most loyalty, followed closely by pop.
There are a few reasons as to why this makes sense. Looking at the playlist Spotify provides, there are bands that are just straight up heritage metal bands. Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Megadeth, King Diamond, Anthrax, Venom and Metallica are all bands with at least 30 years of heritage that remain popular today. And while it was arguably most popular in the ’80s, many metalheads have remained loyal to the bands they grew up listening to as they age, which can’t be said for the other genres.
An article on Mashable interviewed publicists from Relapse and Metal Blade, as well as Season of Mist owner Chris Bruni. While they agree with the study, and agree that limited edition album bundles, vinyl and merch sales are helping, Relapse’s Bob Lugowe is the biggest supporter of streaming. Metal Blade’s Vince Edwards says that the payments are much smaller to artists and labels as a result of streaming, while Bruni prefers Bandcamp. While there isn’t going to be any one service that changes things, with Spotify’s popularity, it’s good to see metal is at least getting some respect from the company, and hopefully some people and/or streaming services outside of Spotify will recognize that as well.