Nielsen 2016 Year-End Report: Country Garners 10 Percent Of Total Audio Consumption

The country music format garnered 10 percent of total audio consumption in 2016, according to Nielsen’s 2016 year-end report. Rock was the top total audio consumption genre, with 29 percent, followed by R&B/Hip-Hop at No. 2 (22 percent), pop at No. 3 (13 percent), and country at No. 4.

Overall albums sales in the U.S. rose 3.1 percent from the previous year, from 543,800,000 to 560,700,000 units, although CD album sales dropped 16.3 percent and digital albums were down 20.1 percent. Vinyl sales increased 10 percent.

Chris Stapleton‘s Traveller was the only country project to make Nielsen’s 2016 Overall Top Albums list at No. 7 with 1,421,000. The list is based on U.S. album sales, track equivalent albums, and stream equivalent albums. Drake‘s Views landed at No. 1 on the overall list, followed by Adele‘s 25 at No. 2, and Beyonce‘s Lemonade at No. 3.

Meanwhile, Stapleton’s Traveller was the only country entry (at No. 4) on the 2016 Top Albums list, which is based solely on U.S. album sales for all genres. Traveller was also the only country entry (again at No. 4) on the Top Digital Albums list, with 447,000 sold.

For Top CD album sales, Traveller ranked at No. 3. Other country albums making the Top CD list include Garth BrooksUltimate Collection Exclusive at No. 4, Joey+Rory‘s Hymns at No. 6, and Blake Shelton‘s If I’m Honest at No. 9.

The country radio format landed at No. 4 on the tally of the Top 10 radio formats of 2016, behind News Talk Information, pop and AC. From January-November 2016, 7.4 percent of U.S. radio listeners in PPM markets aged 6+ were turned to a country or new country station during any 15-minutes period during the day.

Live music continues to be the dominant category for music spending by consumers, at 36 percent. Physical music ranked next with 11 percent of spending, followed by a 10 percent tie for satellite radio subscriptions and digital music spending.


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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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