According to Nielsen‘s 2014 Year-End Report, jazz is continuing to fall out of favor with American listeners and has tied with classical music as the least-consumed music in the U.S., after children’s music.

Both jazz and classical represent just 1.4% of total U.S. music consumption a piece. However, Classical album sales were higher for 2014, which puts 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 year after year jazz album sales continue to fall.

In 2011, a total of 11 million jazz albums (CD, cassette, vinyl, & digital) 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.

JazzThat 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.

Almost 30% of all music consumed in the U.S. was classified as Rock, making it the most popular genre in the U.S. for 2014; followed closely by Hip-Hop/R&B (17.2%), Pop (14.9%), and Country (11.2%).

Some have tried to explain away Jazz’s continuing decline in the rankings by citing the fact that popular crossover albums, like Robert Glasper‘s Black Radio and Black Radio 2, are rarely classified as jazz. But the fact remains that new listeners are not engaging with jazz music as they once did and long-time jazz listeners often exhibit behaviors that result in them ignoring new releases, even by established artists.

One Response

  1. Kevin Fleming

    Chris Buddy Jonz Jones
    1:23am Sep 18
    Certainly, change in any society is inevitable. Yet the attitude and the altitude of this innately American contribution to the world will remain a treasure for those who create it and those who support it. The sales may have approached infinitesimal, but the joy it offers to those who embrace it is infinite. Interestingly, I find myself recalling the story of the mythical bird, Phoenix … perhaps it was “musical”, as well? Keep smiling … and keep swinging.