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This Surprising Music Genre Just Overtook Rock as the Most Popular in the US

Picture of Ann Lee
Music Editor
Updated: 5 January 2018
Rap has overtaken rock as the biggest music genre in the US for the first time ever.

An end-of-year report published by Nielsen Music revealed that R&B/hip hop represented the largest share of all music consumption in the US at 24.5%.

Rock fell to second place with a share of 20.8%.

Seven of the 10 most listened-to albums of the year were from R&B/hip-hop acts.

Ed Sheeran’s Divide was named the most popular album after shifting 2.764 million album-equivalent units (combined album sales, song downloads and streams).

But albums by Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Bruno Mars, Post Malone, Migos, The Weeknd and Khalid also featured in the list.

Even though Divide was number one, it was actually Taylor Swift’s Reputation that made it to the Nielsen Music’s list as the top-selling album of the year.

The star outsold every other artist in the US last year after shifting 1.9 million copies in just seven weeks, but her decision to withhold it from streaming services until December means that she dropped to third behind Sheeran and Lamar as 1,500 streams now equal one album sale.

Top 10 albums of 2017 in the US by total equivalent album units

1. Ed Sheeran, ÷ (Divide) – 2,764,000
2. Kendrick Lamar, DAMN. – 2,747,000
3. Taylor Swift, Reputation – 2,336,000
4. Drake, More Life – 2,227,000
5. Bruno Mars, 24K Magic – 1,626,000
6. Post Malone, Stoney – 1,564,000
7. Migos, Culture – 1,438,000
8. The Weeknd, Starboy – 1,408,000
9. Soundtrack, Moana – 1,254,000
10. Khalid, American Teen – 1,220,000