Considering the recent successful tours of classic groups like Van Halen, Rush and AC/DC, along with new tell-all books featuring behind-the-scenes tales of groups that topped the charts in decades past, it is clear that classic rock is far from dead.
Lately, more and more apparel manufacturers are getting in on the action as they realize the potential of classic rock merchandise to rake in the profits.
The latest big-name manufacturer to jump on the bandwagon is Converse, the company long known for athletic footwear that was bought out by Nike a few years back. The company is unveiling a new line of the popular Chuck Taylor sneakers that will feature artwork associated with classic rockers Pink Floyd, The Who and Ozzy Osbourne.
The Chuck Taylor series has been around for nearly 100 years and have enjoyed a recent resurgence in popularity among various well known musicians, which, of course, leads to their popularity among their fans as well. A trend that has not gone unnoticed by the marketing minds at Converse.
Depending on which report your choose to believe, some of new Converse line featuring the aforementioned groups may already be available, with more being planned for March or April. Converse also has plans for a line featuring Metallica and AC/DC scheduled for the fall. Prices are reported to be in the $55 to $90 range, depending on the particular style.
Despite the disdain some of the greedy suits in the music industry have for the recent popularity of video games like “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band,” there’s little doubt that those games are contributing greatly to the renewed interest in classic rock among today’s kids. To say nothing of digital downloads that make it dead simple to grab a hit track from the glory days of classic rock with the click of a mouse.
The genie is out of the bottle and the age of digital music is hear to stay, just like the VCR (which has morphed into the DVR) did back in the early eighties when so many movie executives had visions of the apocalypse bearing down on them since nobody would want to go to the movies any more if they could just load up a tape and watch E.T. in their living room.
Well, guess what? People do still go to the movies to enjoy the big screen experience and the popular films are still raking in millions, despite the existence of the DVR, DVD recorders and “pirated” movie downloads available on the internet.
I suspect we’ll see a similar evolution in the music industry. After all, musicians have to eat, too, and if they can’t make any money selling albums, they’ll probably focus more on touring and whatever other activity they can involve themselves in to put food on the table.
So far I have not seen too many fan-filmed concert clips on YouTube that I would consider hanging onto because they look or sound great, so at least the digital age does not seem to be threatening the live performance potential for working artists these days.
It will all be sorted out eventually and things like iTunes are probably leading the way and providing a few clues about how everyone will get their slice of the digital music pie, and probably have enough left to buy themselves a pair of Chuck Taylor Pink Floyd high tops as well!