Rock music loses its crown to hip hop and R&B

Rock is no longer the most popular music genre in the US
Rock is no longer the most popular music genre in the US

New figures published by Nielsen Music show that rock is no longer the most popular music genre in the US.

Forbes report that they examined which songs and albums are performing the best throughout the first six months of the year – and they’ve discovered that hip-hop/R&B is responsible for 25.1% of all music consumption in the US, with rock slipping to 23%.

It’s the first time that rock music has fallen from the top spot since Nielsen began examining music trends across the country in 1991.

However, rock is the winner when it comes to album sales, with the genre scooping 40% of the market. But that figure comes with a caveat in that the total number of albums bought each year is falling, so the figure is not fully representative of how people consume music.

Nielsen’s research shows that hip-hop/R&B is almost as popular as rock and pop music combined, with 29% of all streams on services such as Spotify and Apple Music featuring hip-hop/R&B artists.

Last year, a study carried out by Business Insider found that young Americans paid more for music than their parents, which appeared to challenge the perception that young people tend not to pay for music.

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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.