According to the results Singer-Songwriter/Folk is the most popular genre based on sales last year in Canada. Does this surprise me? Not at all. As Alan points out in his article, singer-songerwriter/folk music is part of our heritage thanks to Ian Tyson, Stompin’ Tom and Gordon Lightfoot. But Alan also goes on to point out that Punk has it’s own piece of the pie and if it was included with Alternative (where it normally is included), Alt would’ve been the top selling genre. Which got me thinking…why was Singer-songerwriter/folk the only genre that was combined. I’m not going to deny the similarities but I know some singer-sognerwriters who don’t consider themselves fold and vice versa. I even know some Folk singers who would rather be considered Country or Alternative.
As much as I wasn’t surprised that Singer-Songwriter/Folk was the biggest seller, I actually expected to see Rock as the #1 selling genre. As much as Canadians love their Folk Music, Canada has also had a long standing love of Rock music (check out the Top 100 Canadian bands ever from CBC), going back to The Guess Who and The Band and running through the years with Bryan Adams, Tragically Hip leading to Nickelback and Arcade Fire…
Wait…Tragically Hip and Arcade Fire are Alternative bands…aren’t they. This was the other hole I saw in this chart. Sure, maybe you’d typically see Punk included with Alternative but you might also see Metal lumped in with Rock. Actually I was in an HMV today and Punk and Metal were mixed together. There wasn’t even a Alternative or Folk section. Both were mixed in with Rock. Now saying Folk should be included in Rock is a stretch, but then again you hear The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons on Rock radio stations. Those two artists could also be considered Alternative…but then again according to the original publishers of the chart, these numbers reflect Canadian Albums released in 2015.
I appreciate that the original article broke down the Canadian releases by genre to generate the results seen in the chart, but in their article they also point out that genres tend to be subjective, which I don’t disagree with but I think they may have helped to eliminate subjectivity simply by including a list of the albums they measured and how they classified each by genre.
Going back to my original point…if you’re going to lump together Singer-Songerwriter and Folk, then I’d go as far as to argue that Alternative, Punk, and Metal should all be included in Rock in which case Rock would’ve secured 38.9% of the pie chart. I could go on a rant about how there is a HUGE Rock discrimination movement that exists all across this country that seems to believe that Rock music (and similar genres, Alternative, Metal and Punk) are not popular in Canada, but that’s a whole other rant for another blog.
The original point of the pie chart was to show the multi-diverse listening choices among Canadians, which I think the chart adequately displays without having to worry about subjectivity. Unfortunately as soon as you start talking about “The best selling genre…” subjectivity automatically gets applied and assumed.