15 Stats and Facts About Classic Rock and Its Listeners


Ah, classic rock… It might conjure up memories of big hair or Nixon, but that’s not the case for everyone. Why? Because classic rock’s audience continues to evolve, and classic rock has become one of the most successful formats introduced in the past 25 years.

Over the last few years there has been a surge in younger listeners attracted to the genre more than ever before. You may think that Millennials are all about Beyoncé and Bieber, but studies show they’re also open to other types of music and one they love is classic rock.

Multiple age groups — from Millennials to Baby Boomers — are actively listening to classic rock on different platforms and devices, and at events and festivals. Keep reading to learn more about today’s classic rock radio and its listeners!

Stats and Facts You Might Not Know About Classic Rock

  1. Classic rock is voted the favorite genre among age groups spanning 35-65+, and almost half (49%) of 25-34 consider it their favorite. Statistica

  2. Follow the money. Millennials have an average income of $65,373, Gen X average $95,168, and Baby Boomers average $79,736. eMarketer

  3. People 50+ (classic rock lovers) collectively spend $3.2 trillion annually. This amount is greater than the GDP of countries such as  Italy, Russia, the United Kingdom, Brazil and France. U.S. Census data via Huffington Post

  4. Nearly half of surgeons (49%) choose rock to play in their operating room — and it’s almost all classic rock — followed by classical (43%), jazz (24%), and R&B (21%). Spotify Report

  5. With its multi-generational appeal, it makes sense that classic rock is used more each year in movie trailers. More than four in ten (44%) Americans say trailers frequently or sometimes convince them to see a film. Among the 18-34 year-old group, a quarter (24%) say they are often motivated by trailers. Nearly six in ten (57%) say they are frequently or sometimes sold on seeing a film because of its trailer. That’s why you hear so many familiar classic rock artists in movie trailers. Jacobs Media

  6. Classic rock ranked #1 in total album sales in 2017 (34.6%) compared to #2, R&B/hip hop (14.6%). Nielsen

  7. The format continues to grow! There was an 8% increase in listener share for classic rock in 2017. Nielsen

  8. Nostalgia sells. 2017 vinyl records had a 9% increase from 2016, marking the 12th consecutive year of sales growth. Vinyl LPs comprise 14% of all physical album sales, an all-time Nielsen music high, and many of these albums are rock. In fact, 72,000 units sold of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 2017’s biggest vinyl seller. Nielsen

  9. Beatles songs were streamed over 1.6 million times in 2017, making them the 3rd overall most streamed rock band. Nielsen

  10. Aging rockers headline the biggest musical events like anchor stores in a mall. Guns N’ Roses was the top act at last year’s Coachella festival, while Bonnaroo will feature U2 this coming June. Wall Street Journal
  11. After more than 50 years on the music scene, the Rolling Stones (average age 73) made the most money per show performed in 2016 – $91 million from just 14 concerts. Wall Street Journal

  12. 2016’s overall concert box office leader was Bruce Springsteen — going strong at 67 — with $268 million in ticket sales, ahead of both Beyoncé and Justin Bieber. Wall Street Journal

  13. Vintage artists command more money at the box office: Twenty One Pilots charge $36 a ticket, compared to The Rolling Stones at $122. Wall Street Journal

  14. Last fall’s Desert Trip festival generated $160+ million, featuring classic rockers that included the Stones, Paul McCartney, the Who, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters. Wall Street Journal

  15. There are over 1 million uses of the hashtag #classicrock on Instagram. Instagram

As you can see, from operating rooms to Instagram, classic rock is everywhere. It remains consistently popular through the years — and Hubbard Chicago’s The Drive 97.1 FM is the consistent choice of 1.3 million listeners each week. Download the media kit.

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