Metal has some of the most dedicated fans of any music genre. Not only are metalheads most likely to pick you up if you’re down – literally, in a mosh pit – but they are also some of the most supportive of fellow artists within the genre. As many of metal’s reigning kings grow old and begin to retire — or in some cases, die – it prompts the concern that metal could be dying. With most people seemingly more interested in TikTok trends and with other genres rising to prominence, like K Pop, could metal be on its way out? If so, how can we keep it alive?
Utilize a Digital Presence
One of the most prolific ways, in the digital era, of keeping music alive is by allowing fans to engage with it through several different avenues. Not only should artists be producing physical formats and putting on live shows (once it’s safe to do so again, of course), but they should also be cultivating an online presence that can reach a broader scope of potential fans. It’s these potential fans who are most important when keeping a genre alive.
Pop music shouldn’t have the monopoly on building fanbases online, and there are resources across social media that can help existing bands gain more fans and greater relevancy, as well as welcoming new folks to the genre. Survival of any kind of music in the digital age comes down to how it uses the tools at its digital disposal in order to remain important and interesting.
Using the same tricks for engagement as the big studio artists and those with ‘stans’ could be beneficial for metal. Developing viral videos, going live on Instagram and Facebook, and essentially mobilizing their fanbases with an abundance of online content can always help. For example, as we can see through Galactic Pegasus’s video that shows them doing an online viral ‘challenge’, this kind of content is likely to attract views, garner shares and connect with a different type of metal fan.
Pop Culture Tie-Ins
As we’ve seen with so many songs becoming popular through TikTok trends, pop culture is incredibly important at keeping a genre alive. Take Journey, for example, whose prominence on hit TV shows such as Family Guy in 2005 and Glee in 2009 brought them new fans and put them back on the charts. Family Guy favorite Kiss and their frontman Gene Simmons have been on the show multiple times, including in prominent roles in several episodes. Metal bands gatecrashing TV shows is actually quite a common occurrence.
Elsewhere in entertainment, such as in online slots games with metal music, the genre’s proliferation could allow it to gain new fans. Those who would be fans of artists such as Motorhead and Guns ‘N’ Roses are likely to opt to play these games, but it works the other way too: those who enjoy the musical refrains in the game previously unfamiliar with these artists can become converted into fans.
Metal will never die! Not only can new generations not be defined by their contemporaries – they don’t all love Lil Nas X and Katy Perry – but the digital age makes it easier for people to get into metal. This is especially useful for those who might have previously been boxed out, such as those who live too far away to attend any physical concerts. As Slash showed with his VR concert in 2017, and as the hologram tours of deceased artists have reinforced, technology can allow us to connect with artists in ways we never could before. Metal will survive as long as it enables people to connect and engage with it.