Rock

Spotify Shares Top Rock Bands List: 6 Things That Might Surprise You

Twenty One Pilots perform in Las Vegas.
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Twenty One Pilots perform on Sept. 25, 2015 in Las Vegas.

Today (July 13), the country’s most popular streaming service shared some genre-specific charts the public’s not normally privy to -- Spotify’s most popular rock bands. The occasion is International Day of Rock N Roll (centered on the anniversary of 1985’s Live Aid concert) and the big reveal features the top 21 most-streamed rock artists over the first six months of 2017.

This is particularly interesting because streaming isn’t exactly rock’s stronghold. The audience tends to skew millennial, and heavily favors hip-hop and dance music. This week, the genre’s only representatives in Spotify’s top 50 songs -- both globally and domestically -- are Imagine Dragons and Coldplay, and the latter’s inclusion hinges on a Chainsmokers collab. So beneath all the trop-house and DJ Khaled guests, which rock artists are being streamed by the coveted millennial demo? 

Here are the freshly-revealed charts, followed by our analysis. 

**Ed. Note: Following the publication of this story, a rep for Spotify contacted Billboard to note that an error in their list incorrectly left Imagine Dragons off their rankings. The band actually ranked at No. 2 both globally and in the U.S. among Spotify's top rock acts. Because Imagine Dragons were later added to the initial Top 20 lists, both now include 21 artists. 

Top 21 Rock Acts Globally on Spotify**

1. Coldplay
2. Imagine Dragons
3. Twenty One Pilots
4. The Beatles
5. Linkin Park
6. Red Hot Chili Peppers
7. Panic! At The Disco
8. Metallica
9. Arctic Monkeys
10. Queen
11. Fall Out Boy
12. Green Day
13. AC/DC
14. Pink Floyd
15. Blink-182
16. Paramore
17. Guns N’ Roses
18. Nirvana
19. The Rolling Stones
20. The 1975
21. Kings of Leon

Top 21 Rock Acts in the U.S. on Spotify**

1. Twenty One Pilots
2. Imagine Dragons
3. Coldplay
4. Panic! At The Disco
5. The Beatles
6. Fall Out Boy
7. Red Hot Chili Peppers
8. Linkin Park
9. Blink-182
10. Metallica
11. Green Day
12. The 1975
13. Paramore
14. Five Finger Death Punch
15. Queen
16. Led Zeppelin
17. AC/DC
18. Pink Floyd
19. Arctic Monkeys
20. Mumford & Sons
21. Three Days Grace

1. Twenty One Pilots And Coldplay Rule Streaming

In 2017, a rock band’s best bet to grab the streaming generation is to, well, not really sound like a rock band. This means guitar takes a backseat to synths, keys, and beats, if it’s even used at all. We’ve got a younger band, Twenty One Pilots, who’ve proven you don’t need guitar to rock the suburbs (though naturally, a little piano helps) and an older band, Coldplay, who’ve stayed huge by parlaying their long-held flair for the dramatic into achingly earnest EDM bombast. Both have found their own unique ways to not sound out of place next to Calvin Harris, Drake, and Justin Bieber on pop playlists, which brings us to one uber-popular kindred spirit that’s strangely absent from Spotify’s lists… 

2. Critically Acclaimed Indie Rock Acts Aren't As Popular As You Think

No one was expecting Father John Misty to break these lists, but a certain contingent of commercially viable summer-festival (and year-end-list) regulars -- the sort of rockers you can take home to mom and dad -- are nowhere to be found. This includes Radiohead, the Strokes, Arcade Fire, and every Jack White-related project. 

3. The “Cooler” Rock Bands That Made It Are More Millennial-Friendly 

The Arctic Moneys cracked the worldwide top 10, which is impressive, but not particularly surprising given how massive they are in South America and their native UK. But they snuck onto the American list, too, along with some other, dreamboat-y English rockers, The 1975. Matty Healy and company are actually higher on the U.S. list (11) than the international one (19). Further reflecting their favor with the younger crowd, both bands featured prominently on Tumblr's most recent year-end charts, which Billboard premiered last December. 

4. Let's Hear It For Three Days Grace

We're still a little stumped on this one. According to Spotify, only 20 rock artists were streamed more on their platform in the U.S. this year than the Canadian hard-rockers whose only 100 million-plus streamed track was released in 2003. They haven't released an album since 2015. But they do have 12 Mainstream Rock number one singles to their name, two of which came from 2015's Human

5. Classic Rock Still Has a Home on Spotify

The Beatles appear in both top fives. Queen, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones -- even more modern "classic" rock acts like Metallica and Guns N’ Roses -- are being streamed right along with the kids. Maybe you'd expect Nirvana to be a little higher. In the big picture, though, there's nothing too surprising here: The streaming generation has its $250 Metallica tees, and occasionally, they'll even give "Enter Sandman" a spin. 

6. Panic! at the Disco Are Bigger Than The Beatles

At least in the U.S., they are. Isn't it something how you can hear that "Nine in the Afternoon" influence all over Sgt. Pepper?

In all seriousness, though, Panic! is fourth on the U.S. list and seventh on the world's. They're often written off as mid-2000s nostalgia, but they've enjoyed a quantifiable career renaissance over their last two studio albums -- especially 2016's Death of a Bachelor, whose tracks average close to 60 million plays apiece.