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Music album sales in the United States from 2008 to 2012, by genre (in millions)

 20082009201020112012
Alternative 80.92 68.2 53.73 55.03 52.2
Christian / Gospel* 29.79 27.82 24.23 23.73 22.9
Classical 13.32 12.14 8.96 9.57 7.5
Country 47.66 46.13 43.72 42.92 44.6
Dance / Electronic** 0 0 8.74 10.05 8.7
Jazz 11.79 11.78 8.78 11.08 8.1
Latin 25.13 16.5 12.35 11.81 9.7
Metal 50.48 38.73 32.55 32.21 31.9
New Age 2.94 2.35 1.66 1.93 1.7
R&B 77.01 69.89 57.87 55.44 49.7
Rap 33.41 26.44 27.33 28.25 24.2
Rock 139.67 124.16 103.71 105.69 102.5
Soundtrack 20.85 18.98 16.41 13.23 12.3
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The statistic above presents data on music album sales in the United States from 2008 to 2012, broken down by genre. In 2012, 8.1 million jazz albums were sold in the U.S. The most popular genre of the year was rock with 102.5 million sold albums. Country music is still very popular in the United States: in 2011, 44.6 million country albums were sold, outselling such genres as metal, rap or latin. Here you can find out which genres reported largest growth over the last 4 years.


Additional info: music album sales in the U.S. by genre

With regard to the number of albums sold, rock music was unquestionably the most popular music genre in the United States in 2012. Rock albums outsold the second bestselling genre—alternative music—almost twice over. Rock was also one of the few genres to report an increase in sales in 2012.

But it would not be quite right to name rock America’s favorite type of music—when asked directly, most Americans said country was their preferred music style. Rock came in second during this survey, trailing country by less than one percent.

It might also come as a surprise that country even ranks highly among teenagers and college students. When asked to name which genre they would pick, if they only could listen to one type for the rest of their lives, more than 15 percent of Americans aged 13 to 19 years said country. The result was second only to pop music. Based on social media activity, country is also the second favorite genre of college students in the U.S.

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