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. In general, there were 257 million music albums sold in the United States in 2014. Here you can find out which genres reported largest growth since 2009.


Most popular music genre in the United States - additional information

Music made the transition from private pastime to a multi-billion industry as the widespread adoption of mass distribution channels, such as radio and TV, gained popularity over the years. 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, as well as the gossip and the “who wore it better” columns, in order to craft industry superstars, like Beyoncé, Dr.Dre, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. In fact, Dr. Dre is the musician with the highest payroll in the world; rock artists such as The Eagles, Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen also appear in the top positions of the rank. Katy Perry is the world’s highest-earning female musician, while Taylor Swift takes the second spot on the list.

The United States is not only home of many other internationally acclaimed artists, but it is also the origin of famous music genres such as jazz, country, blues, rock 'n' roll, hip hop and pop. An online survey conducted in the U.S. points out that the most popular music genre in the U.S. is rock, with 40 percent of respondents choosing this option. The second and third most listened to music genres are oldies and country respectively, while hip hop/rap is favored by a smaller niche of American listeners. Rock is also the favorite road trip music of American travelers. This preference is reflected in album sales, where rock albums have outsold all the other music genres since 2008.

However, the sales of physical music album reflect just part of the consumption of this particular genre in the U.S. Physical albums account for about 34 percent of rock’s music consumption, while 65 percent of rock music consumers prefer digital formats, for instance, digital albums or streaming services. As the consumption of digital music gains popularity, sales of music albums of all genres have been sinking, going from 500 million units sold in 2007 to around 240 million units sold in 2015.

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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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