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Album sales in the United States 2008-2014, by genre

The statistic presents data on music album sales in the United States from 2008 to 2014, broken down by genre. In 2014, 6.26 million Latin music albums were sold in the U.S. The most popular genre of the year was rock with 85.25 million albums sold. Country music was still very popular in the United States: in 2014, 30.46 million country albums albums sold, outselling such genres as pop and dance. On the whole, there were 240.7 million music albums sold in the United States in 2015, a number which fell to just over 200 million in 2016. Here you can find out which genres reported largest growth between 2009 and 2014.

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 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, Taylor Swift is the musician with the highest payroll in the world; rock artists such as AC/DC, The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen also appear in the top positions in the ranking.

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 United States. Physical albums account for about 38 percent of rock’s music consumption, while 62 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 200 million units sold in 2016.

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

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Release date

January 2015


United States

Survey time period

2008 to 2014

Supplementary notes

* Titles may appear in more than one genre.
Dance/Electronic data unavailable prior to 2011.
Pop data unavailable prior to 2013.
In 2013 and 2014 the R&B category included Hip-Hop.
Data regarding 2010 and 2011 were published in the 2011 Music Industry Report, figures regarding 2008 and 2009 in the 2009 Music Industry Report.
If a figure is missing, it was not provided by the source.

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