Rock Around The World: Where Is Rock Music Most Popular?

Rock music fans and bands have had an incredibly challenging time for the 2020/2021 period due to most rock concerts being canceled. You might say all music fans have suffered, and there is no disputing that; however, rock music fans are different. They are set apart almost by their devotion to the rock genre worldwide, so where is rock music most popular?

Rock music is most popular in Mexico, with 51 percent of the population listen to rock daily. Mexican rock fans listen to 26 hours of rock per week. The USA is second, with 47% of the people listening to rock every day. Brazil is third, with at least 45% of the population listening to rock daily.

Interestingly, you would presume that the USA would be in number one given the population and rock’s cradle, but the USA listens to more R&B and pop music than any other genre. Most of Europe has been influenced by American rock music. That indeed showed when the Beatles came onto the scene. Let’s explore in which countries rock is most popular in the world.

Top 8 Countries Where Rock Music Is Most Popular

The average music fan listens to 18 hours of music per week which sounds like a lot, but in these countries where rock is almost like a religion, 18 hours per week seems amateurish.

Serious fans will spend on average 26 hours or more listening to rock music. That is beside the time spent watching music videos or going to live concerts.


Mexican rock fans listen to 26.5 hours of rock music either by streaming or tuned into their favorite rock radio station. Over 60% of the population in Mexico consider themselves to be music fanatics and prefer to listen to rock more than other genres of music.

Mexico has many different music styles, and they listen to their local rock bands as much as they listen to the foreign masters of rock. Approximately 95% of the Mexican population who listen to music use their smartphones or iPhones to stream from various platforms. 

Rock music is enjoyed while traveling to and from work, having lunch, at the gym, social, and cooking meals. At least 55% access their favorite rock music on social media platforms.

Most Popular Mexican Rock Bands

  • Maná
  • Café Tacvba
  • Carlos Santana
  • Molotov
  • Caifanes
  • Los Teen Tops
  • Chac Mool
  • Maldita Vencidad


At least 57 percent of Americans love and listen to rock music. After all, rock has its origins and roots firmly planted in the USA. However, the stats show that the average American listens to only 4 hours of music per day.

The US music market is enormous, with billions of dollars spent yearly on record sales, live concerts, and online purchases. Some of the largest rock concerts in the world are held in the US, and the population supports local talent with unwavering loyalty.

Most Popular American Rock Bands

  • Greta van Fleet
  • Guns N’ Roses
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • The Eagles
  • The Ramones
  • REM.
  • Aerosmith
  • Alter Bridge
  • Nirvana


Brazil has the population to support their local talent as furiously as they support a Lollapalooza festival with a foreign rock band. At least 48.8% of the population listens to rock regularly.

Brazil is filled with music of all genres, and although rock music is not as famous as in the 1980’s it still has a massive fanbase. Brazilian rock fans listen to an average of 4 hours of their favorite rock bands per day.

Most Popular Brazilian Rock Bands

  • Legião Urbana
  • Titãs
  • Rita Lee
  • Paralamas do Sucesso
  • Barão Vermelho
  • Raimundos
  • Novos Baianos


A phenomenal amount of Germans love rock music. A staggering 7 million Germans love rock music or listen to rock regularly. Bavarians especially love their rock, with as much as 66% of them listen to rock music daily.

Not only are German fans fanatic and loyal, but Germany has also produced some of the world’s best and most famous rock bands in history. German fans are very dedicated to the national rock bands but are one of the best crowds in the world for rock bands to perform to.

Most Popular German Rock Bands

  • Rage
  • Guano Apes
  • Blind Guardian
  • Gamma Ray
  • Tokio Hotel
  • Helloween
  • Rammstein
  • Scorpions

South Africa

South Africa is the only country with 11 official languages; South Africa has an insatiable love for music. Unfortunately, the country has not had the same exposure to international bands as Europe or Latin America. Still, the rock bands that have performed there were pleasantly surprised by their enthusiasm and loyalty.

At least 75% of South Africans like to think of themselves as music fanatics, which seems to be true. South Africa had a bleak start to the music scene during the years where music that was deemed dangerous was censored. The one station that they could access was LM Radio or Radio Lorenzo Marques from Mozambique.

The local rock scene in South Africa has produced some export quality rock acts, and many of them have opened up for the mega rock bands that perform there.

Most Popular South African Rock Bands

  • Just Jinjer
  • Springbok Nude Girls
  • One Day Remains
  • The Narrow
  • Wonderboom
  • Tree 63
  • Evolver One


Japan is a fickle music market with a large population of 127 million people and the 3rd highest GDP globally, and it remains a very misunderstood music market. Rock music is highly popular and is loyally supported. Fans support local roc music and are extreme about the foreign bands they love.

Whatever happens in Japan certainly affects world markets, fashion statements, and music as well. Japan has a unique relationship with its culture. They spend up to 7 hours a week listening to their favorite rock band.

Most Popular Japanese Rock Bands

  • The Gazette
  • X-Japan
  • Laruku
  • One Ok Rock
  • RC Succession
  • Dadaroma


Australia has a massive music market worth billions of dollars per year. When streaming became the new way to access music, Australians resisted as long as possible. They want concerts, the real deal, and they want to buy CDs and Vinyl instead.

If you are still unaware, Australia has produced some of the biggest names in rock music history.  The average rock fan spends at least 10 to 12 hours per week listening to rock music on the radio or streaming it via a preferred platform.

Most Popular Australian Rock Bands

  • AC/DC – in their 48th year performing.
  • Savage Garden
  • Crowded House
  • Midnight Oil
  • Cold Chisel
  • The Divinyls
  • The Angels
  • Jet


I doubt that there is a fanbase that is as crazy about rock music as the Argentines. Every band that plays at either the River Plate or at the Hipódromo de San Isidro will know the fans know all the lyrics, and they hum the melody, guitar riffs, and guitar solos. They are the most incredible fanbase in the world, hands down.

Argentina as a country has faced a lot of hardships, oppression, and throughout the dictatorship, all that carried them was music. Rock was not a familiar sound but rather the folklore used to air their political views. Many singers lost their lives because of it.

Rock Nacional refers to any rock band that is formed in Argentina and is performed to local crowds. A few Argentine bands have become successful outside borders, but they are more prevalent in Latin America because they are Spanish.  Argentine rock was the first foreign language rock genre to make become successful outside the USA.

Some of the world’s biggest bands have played to consecutive sold-out concerts. Bands like

  • U2
  • AC/DC
  • Roger Waters
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Aerosmith
  • The Police

These bands draw crowds of up to 70 000 at every concert and at least 400 000  fanatically loyal fans during multiple shows to enjoy what most Argentines will call a spiritual experience. They believe rock music is good to listen to and that it is vital for mental health. I agree.

Most Popular Argentine Rock Bands

  • Carajo
  • Riel
  • Amor Elefante
  • Sumo
  • Archipiélagos
  • Soda Stereo
  • Los Piojos
  • Divididos
  • Los Rodriguez

Which Country Has The Most Loyal Rock Music Fans?

Although Mexico is at the top of the list for listening hours and online purchases where rock music is concerned. The USA and Germany follow closely behind there is one country that IS rock. Argentina.

The fans are almost narcissistic, wanting nothing more than to share the stage and every drop of sweat with their favorite rock band. Bands feed off the energy that the fans generate. Rock rules in Argentina almost as much as football.

Argentina’s youth were only introduced to rock music during the 1980s, shortly after the military dictatorship. The music liberated the people, and they latched onto it and have never let go.

In Argentina, there is a saying – you are born holding a soccer ball, and when you turn eight years old, you put headphones on and play soccer while listening to rock. Football fans are as loyal as those who love rock – they will defend their favorite band or team to the death.

Where Is Rock Music The Least Popular In The World?

As difficult as it is to believe, a few countries have banned hard rock and metal. I had to read that again as well. The reasons are mainly because of cultural and religious views.

Unfortunately, this has caused many rock and metal bands to be arrested, thrown in jail, or have to flee their home countries and go live in exile. That seems very extreme in 2021, but it is still happening. Here is a list of countries that do not appreciate the population listening to rock;

  • Iran – Rock music is banned here because of religious reasons. They see rock music as blasphemous, and anyone playing rock or performing it will be imprisoned.
  • Russia – The very conservative government believes that rock music – like metal and punk rock- makes the population ungovernable. Think back to the infamous Monsters of Rock concert in Moscow featuring Pantera, AC/DC, Black Crowes et al. No further explanation is needed. Imprisonment is the end game for testing the Kremlin and Orthodox Church’s patience.
  • Saudi-Arabia – The kingdom of Saudi is ruled by a monarch. They have stringent religious rules regarding opinions and things like western music. Rock is at the top of that list, and like in Iran, it is banned. Imprisonment is the prize for disobedience. The last public music show was in 2009.
  • China – You can only play and perform rock music in China if the government has approved your lyrics. Lyrics are not allowed to be hostile against the Chinese government, and it is not allowed to speak out against civil rights or about luxury or riches. In China, the rock scene is really underground where they can freely express themselves.
  • North Korea – Considered to be the epitome of isolation and control, the dictatorship of the ruling family prohibits any form of free expression. There are no rock bands, no live concerts, and no bands that come to perform there. Imprisonment for any disobedience or dissonance is a guarantee in North Korea.

The Biggest Rock Concerts To Date

  • Brazil, Maracanã Stadium 1990 – Paul McCartney -184,000 fans
  • England, Hyde Park 1976 – Queen – 200,000 fans
  • America, Bethel New York 1969 -Woodstock festival – 400,000 fans
  • England, Knebworth 1996 – Oasis – 500,000 fans
  • England, Hyde Park 1969 – The Rolling Stones – 500,000 fans
  • England 1970 – Isle Of Wight Festival – 700,000 fans
  • America 2005 – Live 8 – Philadelphia – 1 million fans
  • Brazil, Copacabana Beach 2006 – The Rolling Stones – 1.5 million fans
  • Russia, Moscow 1991 – Monsters Of Rock Festival – 1.6 million fans

Which Rock Bands Are The Most Popular In The World?

A good measuring stick to use as far popularity goes is to see which rock bands sell the most albums and have the highest-grossing tours. Not sure if it’s a surprise, but the number one slot has been unchallenged for decades.

  1. The Beatles – Still considered the most popular based on record sales, a staggering claimed 600 million albums to date.
  2. Elvis Presley – The undisputed King of Rock with 500 million album sales.
  3. Led Zeppelin – 300 million album sales.
  4. Queen – One of the best bands to have graced the planet – 300 million album sales.
  5. Pink Floyd – The most revolutionary band of the century – 250 million album sales.
  6. The Rolling Stones – The band that made rock sexy – 240 million album sales.


Whether you love rock music or hate it, fans worldwide keep the spirit of rock alive through album sales, streaming, and tuning into their favorite stations. Although Mexico streams the most rock music per day, the fans from Argentina take the cup home for making rock the most popular music in their country. Viva Los Estones!


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