Rock Still Tops the U.S. Charts

By | May 16, 2003 at 12:00 AM

Rock music remains the most popular genre among U.S. consumers, while rap/hip-hop has replaced pop as the No. 2 choice, according to the Recording Industry Assn. of America, a music industry trade group.

Rock, which has been the No. 1 most-preferred genre since the survey began in 1989, accounted for 24.7% of the market, up from 24.4% the previous year.

Rap/hip-hop increased to 13.5%, up almost 2.5 percentage points from the previous year. R&B/urban comes in as the third-most-preferred genre with 11.2%. Country music’s popularity also saw a surge, with 11.2% of the market, up from 10.6% in 2001.

Pop music represented an all-time low of only 9% of the market, down from 12.1% in 2001.

Religious music remains the sixth-most-listened-to genre, comprising 6.7% of music purchases.

Women buy slightly more music than men: 50.5% of music purchasers last year were female. The biggest music purchasing demographic is 45 and over, taking 25.5% of the market, up from 23.7% in 2001. Consumers between 15-19 years of age were the second-highest music-buying demographic at 13.3%.

Such nonmusic retail outlets as mass merchandisers and electronics stores continue to grow as a preferred place to buy music, with 50.7% of those surveyed frequenting such stores. Only 36.8% bought music at record stores. This marks the first year that more music purchases were made at nonmusic-only stores. Online music purchases increased by only 0.5% last year to 3.4%.

As far as formats, full-length CDs account for 90.5% of purchases made. DVD audio purchases also were up slightly in ’02, to 1.3%.

The RIAA’s annual demographic survey, conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, polls more than 3,000 music consumers in the United States. The domestic sound recording market last year was valued at $12.6 billion, compared with $13.7 billion in 2001.

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