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As we know, R&B constituted the musical base for the development of Rock and Roll and in its first manifestation Rhythm and Blues was the predecessor of Rock and Roll, also the first Rock & Roll recordings consisted of R&B songs, like Ike Turner’s “Rocket 88”, and Big Joe Turner’s “Shake Rattle and Roll”, appearing on the popular and R&B charts.
Although this is relative, now we can confirm it without excuses, Rhythm and Blues is one of the principal genres in the United States. This was ratified by Nielsen Music’s bi annual report, which analyzes the consumption of the music industry in the American country. Many people thought this wouldn’t be possible, but it is and we are here to talk about it.
R&B vs Rock
According to The Outline, which echoes the study, the Rhythm and Blues along with Hip-Hop already represents a quarter of the total music consumption in the US, a segment that is even bigger (29’1%) if we fix on streaming audio and videos consumed on demand. Although these genres, born in the same community and so culturally close, have been influencing the American culture persistently for decades.
This is the first time they are in the first position being valued by quantitative factors, leaving Rock music in the second position. The relevance of this data transcends the US geography, since the North American cultural sector is the most influential at the global level, exporting its cultural products to the rest of the world that adopt it as standards. It is the first time that rock and all of its sub-genres have ceased to be the most popular music in North America since Nielsen started with these statistics in 1991.
We weren’t expecting this to happen, were we? Nevertheless, rock continues to be number one in record sales, both physical and digital: 40% of the total belongs to that genre, against 17% of its closest rival. Why, if the rock remains steady in sales, fell to second place overall? The answer is simple: streaming grew 36.4% between 2016 and 2017, while sales fell 19.9% over the same period.
Following the logic of the industry, in which 1500 reproductions on platforms like Spotify or the purchase of 10 songs on iTunes are equivalent to a physical album, streaming generated the equivalent of 189.8 million records sold, while barely sold 56, 5 million “real” copies. The difference between one and the other eliminates the supremacy of rock. It was time for the R&B in the USA; Rock has been the most popular for so many years.
We think that both genres are totally amazing, but Rhythm and Blues needed a little more of consideration and credit, R&B artists have been working really hard to make this genre so respectable as it is today, and also this is an old genre, with a lot of history, what do you think about this? Are you happy or sad about this news? Let us know!