Latest stats: Americans like jazz even less than classical music

March 12, 2015 by norman lebrecht


The precipitate decline of a hybrid American art form continues. In the 2014 annual stats from Nielsen, just out, jazz accounted for just 1.4 percent of music sales – exactly the same as classical music but falling faster. Three years ago, jazz commanded 2.8 percent of the market with 11 million album sales. In 2014, just 5.2 million jazz albums changed hands. Classical, by contrast, held steady – albeit at a historic low ebb.

Details here.

ella fitzgerald

Comments (5)

  1. Chris Walsh says:

    Do these statistics take downloads into account? I buy a lot of music (jazz and classical), but I haven’t bought a CD for years.

    1. Jon says:

      And do they count concert ticket sales? And people going to jazz venues?

  2. BillBC says:

    This will probably bring hostile comments…but why would people buy a music recording when they can stream it constantly from any number of sources, especially streaming radio from Europe, on their computer, tablet, TV, etc.? For me it provides tremendous variety, great performances, composers I’ve never heard of, etc.

  3. jaypee says:

    “Jazz is too good for America.”
    Dizzy Gillespie

  4. V.Lind says:

    I’m beginning to wonder how relevant these figures are. In Canada, at least, jazz festivals are thriving and growing — and seemingly ubiquitous. Orchestras envy the pull their jazz cousins exert in the same communities (although they often attract a lot of tourist interest as well). So I don’t think jazz is necessarily threatened, just the jazz recording industry, which will obviously have to make the adjustments al other sectors of the industry have.

    Classical music is another story — the decline in recordings seems to be reflected — in many places — in the declining subscription sales (though that has reasons other than antipathy to the music), and declining attendance in general.

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