Radio Listening Data Points to an Uptick in Interest in Rock

We’ve been living in pop music world–or, more accurately, an R&B-influenced pop world–for the better part of the last decade. Radio listening has been dominated by people looking for hits by Drake, Bieber, The Weeknd, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Adele, Kanye and Tay Tay. Now, though, it appears that the next change in the music cycle may be here.

Nielsen analyzed American radio listening by format over the summer and notes that interest in rock has suddenly ticked up while only some regions of the pop spectrum saw increases in ratings year-over-year.

For example, tuning to American mainstream rock (so-called Album Oriented Rock) stations is up by 4.6%, compared to just 2.5% for Top 40/CHR outlets. Meanwhile, classic rock jumped 5.1% year-over-year. No other radio format saw this kind of increase in summer 2016.

Alternative? Ratings were flat from 2015, but this reflects listening before releases by the RHCP, Green Day, Blink-182 and other harder-edged artists. It’ll be interesting to see what changes will see year-over-year when Nielsen examines the fall, winter and spring ratings periods.

(Thanks to Brigitte for the tip.)


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Radio Listening Data Points to an Uptick in Interest in Rock

  • September 16, 2016 at 11:01 am

    HALLELUJAH! that the ROCK is looking favourable! I’m so tired of all the POP PAP that’s been dominating. Although BLINK 182 isn’t exactly my idea of contributing to the solution…lol

    Olie Kornelsen


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