Craig Jennings: Rock is getting a Raw deal

Craig Jennings

Top rock manager Craig Jennings – CEO of Raw Power Management, whose clients include Bring Me The Horizon, Bullet For My Valentine and Don Broco – says rock music is getting less attention than other genres on streaming services and at traditional media.

Last year, Music Week revealed how tricky it is for current rock and metal acts to get playlisted on streaming services and now Jennings – speaking in this week’s print edition of Music Week – has called on the rock business to come together and try and solve the problem.

“Rock is obviously some way behind R&B and grime [on streaming],” Jennings said. “We have a great relationship with Spotify, but it’s definitely something that can be improved, and it’s something that we all collectively need to be getting our heads around. That’s a challenge, but one that we’re definitely going to be taking up.”

Jennings said rock’s absence from the singles chart – Liam Gallagher's Wall Of Glass was the highest-charting rock song of last year at No.21 – was partly due to the genre only appearing on specialist playlists, rather than the big mainstream playlists that tend to drive big streaming numbers. And he said RPM – which has been behind many of the decade’s biggest rock breakthroughs – would look at innovative release schedules to try and gain traction on the format.

“There’s a school of thought that says, ‘Are we producing enough hits in the rock world?’” he said. “Streaming tends to drive that. There’s thoughts of leaving songs off albums and dropping them as single tracks later on in the campaign, rather than putting them on the album and giving all the singles away at once. We might look at dropping tracks in the middle of campaigns that aren't even on the record.”

Bring Me The Horizon are one of the few bands to break out on streaming, but Jennings said rock music was also often shut out of traditional media, such as TV and radio.

“Rock is treated as a niche product,” he says. “It never seems to me that any of the key players are bending over backwards to work with rock music that much. Sometimes I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall, but we’ve just got to keep going, keep delivering quality music and hopefully that will come through.”

Plenty of that music is on its way too: between Raw Power acts and acts on the group’s label Search And Destroy, a joint venture with Spinefarm/Universal, Jennings will oversee over a dozen album releases in 2018, including Bring Me The Horizon’s hotly-anticipated follow-up to 2015’s That’s The Spirit, which has sold 1.3 million copies worldwide.

“Globally, it’s going to be a really exciting time for us,” said Jennings.

For the full interview with Jennings and details of Raw Power’s plans for 2018, see the current print edition of Music Week or click here. To read Music Week's 10th anniversary celebration of all things Raw Power, click here. To subscribe and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.

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