Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Classical vs. Jazz: A race to the bottom (and jazz is winning)

By Richard K. Barry

Sad news for longhairs and hep cats:
According to Nielsen’s 2014 Year-End Report, jazz is continuing to fall out of favor with American listeners and has tied with Classical as the least-consumed musical genre in the U.S.

Both genres represent just 1.4% of total U.S. music consumption a piece; however, Classical album sales were higher for 2014, putting Jazz at the bottom of the barrel.
This continues an alarming trend that has seen more and more listeners move away from jazz every year.

Album sales have long been a key measure of the popularity of individual genres, and in 2011 a total of 11 million jazz albums were sold, according to BusinessWeek. This represents 2.8% of all music sold in that year. However, just a year later, in 2012, that percentage fell to 2.2%. It rose slightly to 2.3% in 2013 before falling once again to just 2% in 2014.

That 2% represents just 5.2 million albums sold by all jazz artists in 2014. In comparison, the best-selling artist of 2014, Taylor Swift, sold 3.7 million copies of her latest album ‘1989’ in the last 2 months of 2014 alone.

It's not that we're surprised, but the numbers are jarring.

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  • Jazz is not readily available to a large listening audience. I, for one, listen to jazz on Sirius XM radio and our local PBR station plays jazz every day. I am a big supporter of the PBR station because of their programing. There are music formats on cable stations that have a jazz channel.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:02 PM  

  • Jazz is surely available. It's just very difficult for performers to make a living with these kind of numbers.

    By Blogger Richard K. Barry, at 7:46 PM  

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