Hip-hop and R&B have dominated American culture for nearly three decades, from the ways we dress and speak to the ways we think about the country’s history and future. Now, the numbers are finally reflecting that influence.
According to Nielsen Music’s 2017 mid-year report, the two genres account for just over a quarter of all music consumed in the U.S. That segment is even higher, 29.1 percent, when it comes to on-demand audio and video streams. Hip-hop and R&B’s consumption share marks the first time they have been proven by data to be the largest genre in American music. It also marks the first time rock has slipped from that top spot, though it still remains dominant by some metrics, making up 42.7 percent of physical album sales.
Overall, Nielsen’s report is only confirming what music fans have already known to be true: R&B and hip-hop are the backbone of American music and culture today. But sometimes it takes a while for the data to catch up.