In July, Hip-hop surpassed rock ’n’ roll as the most popular genre in the United States, according to Nielsen Music’s mid-year report. The shift in rank can be attributed to the rise in streaming services, according to Forbes. Rock is far and away the winner when it comes to album sales—the genre claims 40% of all album sales in the country—but the total number of records actually purchased dwindles every year, so while that percentage may remain steady or even climb, it’s not representative of how Americans are truly consuming music. Hip-hop/R&B, on the other hand, is responsible for just over 29% of all on-demand streams across the country, and that is the only field that is growing noticeably. In fact, R&B/hip-hop is almost as popular on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music than the next two genres (rock and pop) combined. At least seven of the top 10 most popular songs on streaming platforms in 2017 fit squarely into the hip-hop field, while another, Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like,” blends pop and R&B.
Services like Spotify and Apple Music have become the premier platforms for hip-hop and R&B to thrive. Artists like Drake, who broke boundaries as the most-played artist on Spotify in the streaming service’s history, have contributed tremendously to the genre’s success. His More Life playlist was reportedly streamed more than 10 billion times on both Spotify and Apple Music. Forbes also adds that Lamar’s latest release DAMN, was also considered to be the biggest album in the country at the time of writing. Without a doubt, this is a big win for the hip-hop community.