Rock is America’s favorite music, but not among young people


Rock music is still the most popular music in America, but not among young people. Although it’s a clear favorite among Americans overall, adults under 30 rank it third, behind hip hop and pop music.

When asked what their favorite music is from a list of seven different musical genres, rock is the first choice of 32% of Americans, far ahead of popular music (15%), hip hop or rap (14% ), country/western (12%), Christian and gospel music (10%), R&B or soul (7%), classical (6%) and jazz (4%).

But for young adults, the genre associated with teenage rebellions of older generations is less appealing. Only 17% of adults aged 18-29 chose rock as their favorite type of music. Hip-hop tops their list, surpassing rock by almost two to one.


Although hip hop is a favorite among young adults, its popularity drops dramatically among older adults (who still prioritize rock). Only 5% of adults between 45 and 64 and only 1% of adults over 65 say hip hop is their favorite type of music.

Black and white Americans also have different tastes when it comes to choosing their favorite genre of music. 40% of white Americans choose rock, followed by pop and country/western. But only 6% of black Americans say rock is their favorite type of music, putting it in sixth place behind hip hop, R&B or soul, Christian or gospel and jazz.


How do you listen to music?

Most people listen to music through digital streaming services, but radio comes in second, mainly because that’s how more than half of older people still listen to music. Downloaded digital files and compact discs come third and fourth. Although vinyl may be making a comeback in sales, only 4% of Americans say vinyl records are the way they usually listen to music.

The way Americans listen to music has changed dramatically in recent years. As recently as 2017, radio was still the most popular method of listening to music among Americans in general.


Go to concerts

Most Americans haven’t attended a live music concert in the past two years, and most don’t plan on attending anytime soon. For some, the coronavirus outbreak is a factor in their decision.

Four in five Americans haven’t attended a live concert since the spring of 2020, and when asked why, one in three say it was because of the coronavirus outbreak.


Some of those potential viewers plan to return, as the pandemic subsides. Three in 10 Americans say they are likely to attend a live music concert in the next few months, including a third of those who had stayed away due to the outbreak. But despite fewer COVID restrictions and declining case numbers nationwide, the coronavirus is still keeping some fans away. Seven in 10 Americans won’t be going to a concert soon, and about a quarter say it’s because of the outbreak.


This CBS News/YouGov survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1,612 U.S. adult residents interviewed between March 29 and March 31, 2022. The sample was weighted by gender, age, race, and education based on the US Census American Community Survey and Current Population Survey, as well as the 2020 presidential election. The margin of error is ±3.1 points.

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