Horns up! Heavy metal was the fastest-growing genre in 2018

Metal fans at last year's Bloodstock festival (Image credit: Katja Ogrin/Redferns - Getty)

New figures from independent digital music distribution, publishing, and licensing service TuneCore show that heavy metal was the fastest-growing music genre in 2018.

TuneCore covers some 250,000 artists and the total amount of streams and downloads in 2018 came to $199.3 billion – an 83% increase from the year before, according to Billboard.

TuneCore artists also earned $83 million in the first quarter of this year – a 21% increase over the same period in 2018.

And when it comes to music genres, metal is leading the way, showing a growth of 154% around the world, with J-pop following with a 133% increase.

CEO of TuneCore Scott Ackerman says: “TuneCore is the only global platform that pays artists 100% of what they earn from digital streams and downloads, while also meeting all of their needs across distribution, promotion and publishing administration.

“In 2019 we’re seeing great momentum in helping our customers build sustainable careers by finding new income across formats and channels.”

The biggest percentage growth in streaming came from Africa last year, which showed an increase of 146%, with Asia coming next, way back at a 52% growth.

Who says rock is dead?

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.