Enthusiasm for “unplugged” music has helped revitalize the careers of middle-aged rocker Eric Clapton and elderly crooner Tony Bennett. It may also be behind the growing interest in a purely American musical form–bluegrass. Born in the 1940s and based on folk-music traditions, bluegrass incorporates guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and banjo to create melodic musical lines.
Adults who buy bluegrass music are a small share of all music purchasers, at 2.4 percent. Yet these 4.6 million aficionados average more than nine musical buys a year, well above the U.S. average of five annual purchases, according to a new survey by Simmons Market Research for the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). The potential for bluegrass is even greater. In 2013, about 30 percent of adults said they like bluegrass music.(1)
Why don’t more bluegrass fanciers take home bluegrass tapes and CDs? One possible reason is that many bluegrass performers refuse to write and record songs expressly for broad commercial appeal. Continue reading