Rock and roll is dead. Sales of Fender and Gibson electric guitars prove it. -Quartz

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Rock and roll is dead. No, this is not the case ! Where is it?

Fewer new rock albums are being made and sold these days than in decades past, with the genre slowly taking on the dreaded “old-timer” label in the entertainment industry and in the minds of listeners. And with rock music becoming irrelevant, the reign of the electric guitar is also ending.

Electric guitar manufacturers are seeing their sales drop steadily. Major guitar makers Fender and Gibson are both in debt. Fender was forced to abandon a public offering in 2012, and Gibson’s annual revenue has fallen from $2.1 billion to $1.7 billion in the past three years alone. Guitar Center, the largest chain of its kind, is in the red at $1.6 billion.

Some fans blame the rise of the internet, streaming services, video games and the pivot of record label interest in faster-moving genres like hip hop and electronic dance music. Others say it’s the breakneck speed of modern society that has dulled the world’s appreciation for rock music. Bob Dylan blames race relations.

There’s a harder-to-digest answer: Rock music, without new faces that show enough potential to usurp or at least compete with the greats, may simply become stale.

“What we need are guitar heroes,” George Gruhn, a 71-year-old Nashville guitar dealer who has sold instruments to Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and Neil Young. Gruhn and his fellow guitar salesmen recalled the glory days of their trade, when new tracks from Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles constantly enticed people to head to the nearest music store to buy guitars, amps and guitars. pedals to equip their own basements and garages. Paul McCartney himself also told the Post:

The electric guitar was new and exciting in a period before Jimi and immediately after. So you’ve got a lot of great players impersonating guys like BB King and Buddy Guy, and you’ve had a few generations there. Now it’s more electronic music and kids listen differently. They don’t have a guitar hero like you and me.

Acoustic models began to outsell electric guitars in 2010, and this trend only continued with each new Ed Sheeran and John Mayer-like doppelgänger climbing the music charts. And even then, unplugged guitar music has to compete on the charts with the more synthetic sounds of pop and rap.

Guitar makers are sure not to give up without a fight. Fender, for example, will launch a subscription tuition service next month aimed at hooking guitar beginners, and it’s also busy designing elaborate new gear such as a range of updatable and compatible amps. Bluetooth. But without enough interest from young music fans – whose tastes are more obsessed with Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber than Nirvana – the market for shiny new electric guitars may be limited to their parents, who have little reason apart from pure nostalgia to go out and buy them.

Update, June 27: Fender CEO Andy Mooney told Quartz via email that Fender currently has less than $100 million in debt, less than half the amount it had in 2012. he said, adding that electric sales are holding up, acoustic sales are up, and “ukelele sales are exploding.”

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