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August 17, 2022
Rock Is America's Favorite Music — Just Not Among Young People

Rock music is still the most popular music in America — just not among young people. While it is the clear favorite among Americans overall, adults under the age of 30 ranks it third, behind hip hop and pop music.

When asked what their favorite music was from a list of seven different musical genres, rock was the top choice of 32% of Americans, far ahead of popular music (15%), hip hop or rap (14%), country/western (12%), Christian and gospel music (10%), R&B or soul (7%), classical (6%) and jazz (4%).

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But for younger adults, the genre associated with the teen rebellions of older generations holds less appeal. Just 17% of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 picked rock as their favorite type of music. Hip hop tops their list, outdistancing rock by nearly two to one.

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Though hip hop is the favorite of younger adults, its popularity drops significantly among older adults (who still put rock first). Just 5% of adults between 45 and 64, and just 1% of adults over 65, say hip hop is their favorite type of music.

When asked what their favorite music was from a list of seven different musical genres, rock was the top choice of 32% of Americans, far ahead of popular music (15%), hip hop or rap (14%), country/western (12%), Christian and gospel music (10%), R&B or soul (7%), classical (6%) and jazz (4%).

But for younger adults, the genre associated with the teen rebellions of older generations holds less appeal. Just 17% of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 picked rock as their favorite type of music. Hip hop tops their list, outdistancing rock by nearly two to one.

Black and White Americans also have different tastes when it comes to picking their favorite music genre. 40% of White Americans pick rock, followed by pop and country/western. But just 6% of Black Americans say rock is their favorite type of music, putting it in sixth place behind hip hop, R&B or soul, Christian or gospel, and jazz.

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How do you listen to music?

Most people listen to music through digital streaming services, but radio comes in second, primarily because it is the way over half of the seniors still listen to music. Downloaded digital files and compact discs come in third and fourth overall. Though vinyl may be making a comeback in sales, only 4% of Americans say vinyl records are the way they usually listen to music.

How Americans listen to music has changed dramatically in recent years. As recently as 2017, radio was still the most popular method for listening to music among Americans overall.

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Going to concerts

Most Americans haven’t attended a live music concert in the last two years, and most don’t plan to attend one any time soon. For some, the coronavirus outbreak is a factor in their decision.

Four in five Americans have not attended a live concert since the spring of 2020, and when asked why, one in three say it was because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Some of those would-be concert-goers do plan to return, as the pandemic eases. Three in 10 Americans say they are likely to attend a live music concert in the next few months, including a third of those who had been staying away because of the outbreak. But despite fewer COVID restrictions and the number of cases declining nationally, the coronavirus is still keeping some fans away. Seven in 10 Americans won’t be going to a concert soon, and about a quarter say it’s because of the outbreak.

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