Skillet’s John Cooper Calls Out Rock Radio ‘Gatekeepers’ for Genre’s Downslide
Skillet bandleader John Cooper recently lamented the state of rock music as it pertains to radio play. With an admonishment of industry "gatekeepers" who refuse to program the band's music, the musician shared his perception of the pitfalls rock radio faces in its attempts to stay relevant.
Currently, Skillet are out on tour across North America with Alter Bridge and Dirty Honey. Rightfully, Cooper pointed out the latter act had the No. 1 rock song in the United States last week (per Billboard, Dirty Honey's "When I'm Gone" currently sits at No. 2 on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, while it just fell from No. 1 to No. 3 on Mediabase's Active Rock chart). But asked if Skillet's status as a Christian rock band has hindered their path, the musician recounted the "uphill battle" the group has surmounted. Zeroing in on radio politics, the artist admitted a facet he was initially "naive about was that the gatekeepers at the radio stations cared!"
As Cooper told Myglobalmind Monday (Oct. 7), "I go into radio stations and ask why don't you play us, and they say they don't think fans will like it. I mention to them that we have four times as many streams as the No. 1 artist. They turn around and say, 'Yeah, but those aren't really rock fans.' [Laughing] The rock market is dying, and it's the gatekeeper’s fault, they don't want to change or try anything new."
He continued, "They play bands that sell to young people then tell you they're really not rock fans. I reminded them who was listening to Guns N' Roses, Nirvana, or Linkin Park when they first came out; young people. It wasn't a bunch of old folks like us. They will put themselves out of business."
Elsewhere in the talk, Cooper cited Skillet's live show as one of their main strengths. Still, the musician reiterated that rock fans haven't had a good chance to be exposed to the band via radio play.
"If the only place people hear rock music is on a local rock station, they will not know Skillet," said Cooper. "I find it strange because we sold so many records … and we cannot get radio to play our song. We haven't broken Top 10."
The bold words from Skillet's frontman come from the same musician who puts a premium on authenticity. Previously, the rocker's talked about overcoming life's hardships, and he touted the uniting power of music. See Skillet's upcoming tour dates and get ticketing info here.
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