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The NPD Group: Country Music Rises to Become America’s Favorite Genre in 2012

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The once mighty classic-rock genre falls to second place, due to growing popularity and cross-generational appeal of country music.

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, February 28, 2013 – According to newly released information from The NPD Group, a global information company, country music surpassed classic rock, to become America’s most popular music genre last year. To determine a music genre’s popularity, NPD’s “Annual Music Study 2012” surveyed consumers’ about their favorite music genres, including not only what they actively listened to, but also the music they purchased and the concerts they attended. The study revealed a 1 percentage point rise in the percentage of country music fans in 2012 (28 percent), a 2 percentage point decline in the percentage of classic rock fans (27 percent), and no change in the percentage of top-40 fans (19 percent).

“Country music has become America’s favorite genre, mostly because of its diversity and the accessibility of its artists to young and old alike,” said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD. “It doesn’t hurt that fans of country music, who were always strong CD buyers, are rapidly adopting newer forms of music acquisition and listening options, including digital music downloads and streaming services.”

NPD found that country music is a popular choice among all age demographics. By contrast, classic rock is most popular among music listeners aged 36 and older. According to Crupnick, “electronic dance music gets a lot of industry attention these days, but 18-to-25-year-olds are twice as likely to say they are fans of country music. Even among teens, country music ranks third, following rap/hip-hop, and pop/top-40.”

Data note: Information in this press release is derived from NPD’s “Annual Music Study 2012,” which is based on online surveys completed by 5,406 individuals. All data is weighted and projected to be representative of the U.S. Internet population (age 13 and older). Consumers were asked to select the three genres they were most interested in, and that they regularly listened to, purchased CDs or digital downloads, or attended shows.

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The NPD Group, Inc.
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