You may recall from the last time time a graph dominated the top of this blog that I have a soft spot for interesting stats. A picture can tell a thousand words but a well constructed graph can explain just about anything about anything. And whilst it is tempting to take you all through a graph showing the relationship between having vast sums of cash and hot girls throwing themselves at you (or boys for that matter we’re not sexist/homophobic at With the DJ) or the shocking lack of popularity of our governing coalition, I’ll keep to topic and share with you a few interesting graphs that caught my attention recently. Here’s the first one:
Firstly a little explanation in case what it shows isn’t obvious. The chart displays the total UK album sales for 2011 split by genre, with each genre also split by physical sales (blue) and digital sales (red). So what this can show us is both the overall popularity of certain genres over others but also how certain genres are still rooted in the land of CD sales and how others are expanding into the digital frontier. So on to the analysis….
The most obvious point to make is that Pop and Rock still dominate the world of album sales. Between them they make up 64.7% of CD sales and 65.6% of digital sales. That is some pretty secure market dominance for the One Directions, Adeles and Coldplays out there. It is also pretty much what you would expect. I would have expected Rock to be still very much a CD market with lots of re-issues, collector’s box sets and the like whilst Pop would be lead by the tweenie iTunes market. In fact they are quite the reverse with Rock showing a big spike towards digital sales. I have no idea why that might be so suggestions in the comments please!
Moving on the the second division of genres we get shockingly named Contemporary Urban, MOR and our own beloved Dance. At least in that order for physical sales, dance and MOR switch places for digital. As you would expect the youthful and achingly cool Urban and Dance are dominated by digital sales whilst the Dads and Grandads still buy their MOR on CDs. What is interesting is how the Urban market is twice the size of Dance. I’d have expected that in some countries, such as the States, but not in the UK. I wonder if the single-led world of Dance music is making it appear less popular than it truly is when looking at albums.
And now on to the second of today’s charts:
This one shows the percentages of music fans who, when surveyed, said they liked dance music and its various sub-genres. The darker blue line at the top shows the overall popularity of dance music with the lines below showing different sub-genres. That overall line shows much of what you would expect with about 35% of people between 16-34 saying they are dance music fans. That’s a figure that feels about right to me. It then quickly drops off but even 10% of the over 65s saying they like dance music was a surprise – ravers clearly are getting older!
What is interesting are the sub-genre splits, in particular drum n bass and dubstep. There are the two most popular genres in the 16-24 age bracket by some margin. Those kids just can’t get enough of the basslines. But as soon as we get to 25 the popularly drops off – dubstep even more than DnB, with the former going from being a favourite of around 27% of people to less than 12% with virtually no fans over the age of 40! It really does show how the new sounds have gained few fans even amongst older dance music fans. Like acid house or punk in generations before it really has created a major shift in taste amongst people of a certain age.
And finally we get on to one of our regular topics – the impact of streaming:
This one is very simple and just shows the percentage of people that use legal streaming services in certain countries. As the first places to really embrace streaming mainland Europe has the highest penetrations particularly in the home of Spotify Sweden and its neighbour Norway. The world’s biggest market for music, the good old US of A, has about a third of people (the same as the average). The shock for me was that only 18% in the UK use streaming, from personal experience I’d have thought it was a lot higher but guess the mainstream market s happy with iTunes and not that tempted by Spotify yet.
What is clear though is that in any market streaming services still have an awful lot of growth potential. So if you have a little money to invest it might not be a bad time to send it towards a fresh new streaming company!