For the first time, the R&B/hip hop genre is bigger than rock music in the U.S. according to Nielsen Music’s year-end report for 2017.
The figure is based on total music consumption. Topping the list was Drake, with 4.8 million in total sales from albums, song downloads, and streams. He was followed by Kendrick Lamar with 3.7 million.
A 72 percent increase in on-demand audio streaming is credited with driving the popularity of R&B/Hip-Hop.
“The genre dominated in overall streams, with seven of the year’s Top 10 most-streamed singles all originating from the R&B/Hip-Hop format," the study states.
The popularity of the genre also opened doors for newcomers.
"First-timers Lil Uzi Vert, Kyle and Cardi B all broke big, while Post Malone and Migos each left their mark with multiple entries," the report states. "And vets Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Future all added new milestones to their careers with No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 chart, including two for Future.”
Rap music represented the second-highest increase (25 percent over 2016) of any genre. Latin music increased by 30 percent.
Rock music is not gone yet, however.
“The format may have given way to R&B/Hip-Hop in terms of overall consumption, but a bevy of synchs helped power the genre’s four biggest hits,” the report states. “Imagine Dragons’ “Believer” and “Thunder” took off thanks to commercials by Nintendo and Jeep, respectively, among others, while Twenty One Pilots’ “Heathens” continued to perform from its use in 2016’s Suicide Squad, and Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still” broke big thanks in part to commercials by vitaminwater and Apple.”
Nielsen Holdings is a global measurement and data analytics company.