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Pop, Rock or Rap? Musical Taste Around the World


This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Katharina Buchholz


Music might be a universal language but what sounds like music to one’s ears differs between people and countries. Despite some regional differences occurring in the data collected by Statista Consumer Insights , the works of great classical composers, rock icons and pop divas have reached every corner of the world, as seen by the popularity of these genres around the globe.


Despite hip-hop and R&B music having its roots in the United States, South Africa was the country where the most people said they were listeners of the genre in digital formats. 64 percent of South African respondents said they were streaming hip-hop, rap and similar types of music compared with 37 percent in the U.S. The United States is also surpassed in hip-hop consumption by some of the world’s most eclectic listeners, who are at home in Mexico, as well as people from France. In Mexico, as well as in India and South Africa, the sum of the listeners of all genres included in the chart hovered around 300 percent, meaning that the average respondent listened to approximately three genres. The same number was between 200 percent and 250 percent in European and other Anglophone countries included in the survey.


South Korea was at the other end of the spectrum, with 1.9 genres listened to on average per respondent. Here, pop music reigned supreme at 55 percent of respondents saying they listened to it. With the huge popularity of K-Pop in the country, this is not a huge surprise. Yet, this doesn't place South Korea in the top three listeners of pop music: These are Finland (65 percent), Sweden (61 percent) and Italy (58 percent). Pop was also the type of music with the biggest average popularity in the survey at around half of all respondents listening to it, followed by rock at 38 percent and dance/electronic at 32 percent. While the latter is most popular in Eastern Europe, classical music garnered most listeners in India and China.


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