Nielsen are the go-to name for reporting on popularity, whether it’s TV ratings or music genres, and their latest report has some bad news for rock bands – although it’s news that we may have seen coming for a long time now.
In its annual mid-year report, Nielsen Music told a tale of the continued rise of streaming figures and hip hop, pop and RnB, but as Forbes reports, it’s rock’s declining level of popularity that is most interesting.
For the first time since Nielsen started recording data on U.S. listening habits, rock has lost its title as the country’s most-consumed genre, with the combined forces of hip hop and R&B now the dominant force in the country accounting for 25.1% of all music consumption, taking a narrow lead over rock at 23%.
Rock is still by far the most popular genre when it comes to album sales, hogging 40% of the market, whereas other genres are seeing far more popularity on digital services as streaming numbers tick up and up.
It’s not a shocking result, and it’s a little surprising that rock was still the #1 earner at this point, considering the saturation of hip hop, pop and R&B artists in the U.S. and across the globe – for instance, Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. is currently the most popular album, and Ed Sheeran is of course holding down the singles crown with the all-conquering ‘Shape of You’.
To be honest, the ‘rock’ genre is also being propped up somewhat unfairly by bands like Twenty One Pilots and Coldplay, who were named the two biggest ‘rock’ acts in the U.S. and globally by Spotify last week.
While we can expect to see rock fighting a losing battle against these other genres, having only just dipped out of the top spot for the first time in modern music history, rock isn’t exactly dead yet.