Hip Hop and Dance Dominate Streaming Era. But Why?

For a great read about how the relationship with technology differs with rock music and hip hop and dance, you should check out this article from Midia.

There has long been a divide between producers and rock bands, with the exception of a few, such as Brian Eno. “The divide was simple: producers did the technical stuff whilst bands did the creative, and seldom should the two meet”. After the over-production of 80s rock, a whole lo-fi movement came out of the 90s: “bands recording as cheaply and with as little technological consideration as possible who viewed excessive technology as diluting their music’s message”.

On the other hand, hip hop and dance production have always had a symbiotic relationship with technology. Both genres required a thorough knowledge of keyboards, drum machines, and samplers in their early incarnations, and now software versions on laptops. Hip hop and dance music really embraced emerging and evolving technology where rock music moved away from it.

As Midia’s Zach Fuller so accurately states:

“[Rock] has always been in a hurry to look back and re-package its past. The Rolling Stones strived to emulate their Blues heroes, Punk stripped back the pretensions of Progressive Rock to the simplicity of early Rock n’ Roll, Grunge’s crusade against 80s sheen killed Hair-Metal in favour of early 70s Neil Young-esque catharsis”.

Of course, this has nothing to do with the quality of the music, just an interesting observation at how rock typically goes in the complete opposite direction of hip hop and dance when it comes to technology.

These subcultural differences are even more obvious as streaming becomes more popular. With very few exceptions, we see streaming exclusives from pretty much only hip hop, dance, and R&B artists. Rock musicians do release their music to streaming services, but very few have been exclusive as they still release hard copies on CD and, pertinent to their habit of “looking back”, vinyl. A few artists are challenging rock’s traditional anti-technology subcultural norms, such as Tame Impala, however, hip hop and dance dominate the streaming world and probably will continue to for quite some time.

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