Four Surprising Traits of Greatest Hits and Classic Rock Listeners

The Greatest Hits and Real Classic Rock format has remained one of the strongest in Canada throughout the years. It continues to dominate the airwaves and has never been more popular. The shift towards incorporating ‘80s and ‘90s music in the format continues, making it much more varied.


It might surprise you to learn that greatest hits and classic rock fans are not only diverse, but they are also influential decision makers in their household.


1. They Are Successful and Affluent

Greatest Hits listeners may have grown up listening to the Rolling Stones, Guns N’ Roses or Van Halen, but their jobs as adults are far from their head banger roots. They have gone on to become leaders in their industries (for example, Apple founder Steve Jobs was a noted Bob Dylan fan).


A study by Eventbrite shows that high-income earners (those earning more than $90,000 per year) most often prefer going to rock concerts over jazz, classical, opera and blues. What’s more, a 2015 study by the Canadian Review of Sociology found that rock music is now considered “highbrow” and selected by those with higher incomes. In other words, greatest hits and classic rock appeal to an increasingly up-scale demographic.


2. They Are Not Just Old People

According to FiveThirtyEight, classic rock now extends beyond Boomers. The number of younger fans has surged by 50% since 2012. And they’re getting younger: Nielsen ranks classic rock as the ninth most listened-to format by millennials. The New York Daily News attributes this to new technology, such as streaming audio, and the influence of popular culture, such as movie soundtracks.


3. Women Listen Too

While the majority of rock listeners are perceived to be male, female fans still tune in loyally. For example, Corus Entertainment Group’s Vancouver based Rock 101 has a weekly make up of 40% women. That comes out to 226,000 female listeners in a major market location. In addition, a review by Music Machinery about the difference in male and female listening patterns show that while males prefer harder classic rock songs, women are more loyal to their favorite artists and tend to be more nostalgic in their listening.


4. They Are Family-Friendly

Today, a new generation of parents looking to turn their children on to great music, look for radio stations that feature artists such as the Genesis, The Police, or even The Clash.


Psychology Today attributes the increase in family listening of greatest hits and classic rock to several factors: classic rock music features a large talent pool and parents are involved in what they teach and share. The Greatest Hits Rock format has a good chance of reaching a diverse and multigenerational group of listeners.


Greatest Hits and Classic Rock has made its mark on music listening. It has a diverse group of fans ranging in almost every age and demographic reaching a wide variety of audiences.




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