Which music genre has the most loyal fans?

SPOTLIGHT
Lashonde Lavelle Christian
October 1, 2020
4 minutes
If you had to guess, and assume we didn’t already very vaguely point it out with the images, which music genre would you say has the most loyal fanbase?
Woah, how did you know?!
Yeah, believe it or not, metal music is the one music genre that has some of the most loyal fans.
Of course, now in 2020, many music genres have grown in terms of sales, and preference. With new genres, new singers and new songs, we don’t deny the fact that metal music probably isn’t the masses favourite genre, or even the most sold one.
As a matter of fact, according to the Music Listening Report of 2019, metal music comes in at number 8 on ‘The World’s Favourite Genres’ list. With little to no surprise, the number 1 spot on that list is Pop music.

Besides that, in January this year, a survey was done to see the consumption of music albums from different genres, and metal didn’t even make it to the top 10. The list led with Hip Hop/Rap and ended with Latin.

But back track for a lil’, and you’ll see that when you started reading, we said most loyal fans, and not most sought-after genre.
So, we’re not saying that more people spend time listening to Iron Maiden as compared to let’s say, Ariana Grande. What we’re saying is that, fans of metal music spend a lot of time listening to metal music, as compared to the time fans of other genres spend listening to songs from those other genres.
Now that, that has been established, the question is, how and why?

You see, when people like metal music, they don’t just have a taste for the genre. They, in fact, become a part of a subculture. According to one sociologist and researcher, Bernie Hogan, from the University of Oxford, metal is so much more than just a form of music. This is because it is also symbols, ideas, lore and history. Which makes fans’ loyalty not so much to the music or the band itself, but rather the cultural identity that is attached to the genre.
But, don’t get us wrong, because we’re not saying that these metal fans don’t fancy metal for their bands and songs. They do, because metal fans will certainly go the extra mile, when it comes to purchasing every record, every vinyl in every colour, every edition of their favourite album, buying merchandise, getting tattooed, reinventing their fashion sense, going for every concert, and the list goes on!

Image via Hamburg News

It is merely that their loyalty is rooted in something deeper than just a music taste. There is a sense of community and continuity that connects multiple generations of metal bands to their metal fans.
The genre came about in the 70’s and now, after decades, it is very much still alive. For instance, if you started out in the 80’s listening to Sabbath or Priest, chances are, today in 2020, you are still listening to those songs from Sabbath or Priest.
It’s simply because although the genre (like every other genre) develops with time, metal remembers its roots. Many movements have since come, gone or even shifted in form, but metal has possibly been the one constant. Even kids that discover metal today, go back to the OG’s, like Slayer, Pantera, Sepultura, etc.
5 years ago, Spotify released a chart of the most loyal music fans by genre. To create a measure of loyalty, they divided the number of streams each core artist had by their number of listeners, and true enough, metal was listed as the number 1 genre!

Yes, it has been a long time since more statistical data on the matter has been presented, but if you’re a Pop music fan who’s heard Selena Gomez and not Lady Antebellum (now known as Lady A due slavery connotations), it’s safe to say you’d be alright.
But if you’re an alleged metal fan, who listens to Slipknot and doesn’t know Carcass, it would be time to reassess, because then, are you sure you should be calling yourself a metalhead in the first place?