Friday, 28 May 2010

Tapping into the teen market - what are the kids listening to today?

Its a good market to tap into, if you think about it.

There's been grunge, theres rap, there was Nu Metal, there's all this goth stuff and now theres that "Emo" thing. If there's one fact they all have in common, its a huge, fanatical teenage audience. Also, there's an equally large group of slightly older haters. Haters gonna hate.

I thought about this the other day; in recent years, there's always a few bands who seem to sing about the same whiny crap (or "white people problems" as some put it) and they always seem to do well. One mention of Linkin Park and most people who used to listen to them may laugh, mock and remember the good old days.

Thing is, there's always going to be hormonal teenagers struggling through adolescence, puberty and school. School being the social hell-hole it always is for adolescents, at least the unpopular ones. Foolhardy romantic adolescent boys falling for the popular girls, socially awkward teenage girls who never think they're pretty enough for the clique, longing after Edward Cullen.

If you're past that stage now, a young adult or older, you no doubt look back on your adolescent years and laugh. You laugh at how important you thought the school social ladder was, you laugh at how being the most popular guy in school actually has no repercussions on life after school. Hell, you might have found out you're doing a lot better than the popular kids at school are doing, and feel better about yourself because of it. You might be with the love of your life and feel silly about how none of the kids at school liked you enough to make out with you at that party where everyone else seemed to be getting some.

And at this stage, you also listen to the music you used to listen to sometimes, and realise how you don't seem to relate to it all that much anymore. There's that usual nostalgic rush as it takes you back to a particular moment in time, but you don't necessarily feel connected to the grown men singing and screaming about how nobody understands their pain.

Nevertheless, it may have meant the world to you back then, to have this music you really connected with.

I'm not really making a concise point about anything here, just an observation. No matter how convoluted, 'gay' or 'emo' a lot of music may seem right now, theres always an army of teenage adolescents who won't benefit from the perspective you gain once you grow up a little past that. When you're that age, the school social ladder and getting laid/falling in love really do seem like the only things worth caring about (or skipping school, taking drugs and underage drinking and 'bein cool like'). And at that age, its rare that parents share that connection, even if they were that age once - its long forgotten and seems a little silly.

But thats why the music will persist. The silly punk pop, the whiny emo. Every generation, a new genre emerges as a new way to whine about the same stuff. Its a good way to make money, if you think about it - you can whine about the same issues, just find a new way to present it. I'm likely only speaking for a select set of genres - mainly the grunge/rock/metal ones - but that's because its the one I know and grew up with.

Darko review coming up later. The blog is alive!


  1. teenage years are a very important transition period of one's life. Although you think it is long forgotten as you get older, it only is because we don't want to remember the 'loser' things we used to do. This is the reason why music is important for this age group. A teenager is unable to comprehend all the new and anxiety filled emotions and changes he/she is going through. Music can sometimes put these into words for them so that they can then process whatever it is. How do they know that love is what they are experiencing, or that it is okay to say no etc. You have been through it and you know that these things pass but the teeny boppers don't.

  2. Great point anonymous, glad you agree. Linkin Park and Staind may not be cool now, but when I was 14 their music meant the world to me. Its one of those constants that never changes, you summarized it in a nutshell perfectly ;)