Music album sales in the United States from 2008 to 2014, by genre (in millions)

The statistic above presents data on music album sales in the United States from 2008 to 2014, broken down by genre. In 2014, 8.27 million latin music albums were sold in the U.S. The most popular genre of the year was rock with 85.25 million sold albums. Country music was still very popular in the United States: in 2014, 30.46 million country albums were sold, outselling such genres as pop or dance. Here you can find out which genres reported largest growth since 2009.


Music genres in the United States - additional information

Music made the transition from private pastime to a 'full-blown' industry along with the widespread adoption of mass distribution channels, such as radio and TV. Specialized music TV channels, such as MTV in the 1980s, added the visual aspect, which enhanced the power of music. The internet then came to supply the free videos on YouTube and the legal or illegal downloading, as well as the gossip and the “who wore it better” columns, in order to craft multi-billion superstars/entrepreneurs/activists, such as Beyoncé, Dr.Dre, Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift. In fact, Dr. Dre was the musician with the highest payroll in the world, 620 million U.S. dollars (pre –tax) earned in 2014, while Beyoncé was the world’s highest-earning female musician.

The United States gave birth to many other internationally acclaimed artists, as well as famous music genres, like Jazz, Country, Blues, Rock 'N' Roll, Rhythm And Blues, Hip Hop, Pop, Techno or House. An online survey conducted in the United States concluded that the favorite music genre of most Americans was Rock, with 40 percent of respondents choosing this option. The second and third most listened to music genres were Oldies and Country respectively, both with roughly 30 percent of the votes. Hip Hop/Rap was favored by a smaller niche of American listeners – some 14 percent – and at a certain point in time it also ranked first in opinion polls regarding which type of music had reached its peak and would not get any better and the favorite music of Millennials.

Rock was also the favorite road trip music of American travelers as of May 2014. This preference is reflected in 2014 album sales, where rock albums outsold country and R&B music—more than twice over. On the other hand, when it comes to year-over-year growth, pop is the only genre that registered a positive growth of sales between 2013 and 2014. Due to the rise of illegal music downloading, but also legal streaming services, such as Spotify or Pandora, sales of music albums of all genres have been sinking, from 500 million units sold in 2007 to just 257 million units sold in 2014.

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 2008200920102011201220132014
Christian / Gospel* 29.79 27.82 24.23 23.73 22.9 19.53 17.36
Country 47.66 46.13 43.72 42.92 44.6 36.46 30.46
Dance / Electronic - - 8.74 10.05 8.7 7.11 5.26
Latin 25.13 16.5 12.35 11.81 9.7 8.27 6.26
R&B 77.01 69.89 57.87 55.44 49.7 47.78 35.75
Rock 139.67 124.16 103.71 105.69 102.5 92.93 85.25
Pop - - - - - 24.62 27.71
Alternative 80.92 68.2 53.73 55.03 52.2 - -
Classical 13.32 12.14 8.96 9.57 7.5 - -
Jazz 11.79 11.78 8.78 11.08 8.1 - -
Metal 50.48 38.73 32.55 32.21 31.9 - -
New Age 2.94 2.35 1.66 1.93 1.7 - -
Rap 33.41 26.44 27.33 28.25 24.2 - -
Soundtrack 20.85 18.98 16.41 13.23 12.3 - -
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