Heavy metal is the fastest-growing music genre: Report

A 154% increase in metal streaming and downloads year over year

Metal Fans at Deafheaven show
Metal Fans at Deafheaven show, photo by Spencer Kaufman

    Heavy metal’s popularity grew significantly in 2018, according to a new report from music distribution company TuneCore. In fact, metal topped all other genres when it came to increased streams and downloads from the previous year.

    TuneCore provides a platform for independent artists, labels, and managers to distribute their music to Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, and more than 150 other music streaming and download services worldwide. In a press release, the company stated that streams and downloads of the platform’s 250,000 artists totaled 199.3 billion in 2018, an increase of 83% from 2017.

    Heavy metal streams and downloads, in particular, grew 154% over the previous year, the most of any genre, with the fastest-growing styles of music listed below:

    Heavy metal – 154% increase
    J-Pop – 133% increase
    R&B/Soul – 68% increase
    K-Pop – 58% increase
    World music – 57% increase
    Instrumental – 42% increase

    The press release also reports that TuneCore artists earned $308 million in 2018, with 100% of the distribution revenue going to the artists, in exchange for a flat annual or per album fee, and that the first quarter of 2019 brought in $83 million, 28% more than the first quarter of 2018.


    [10 Most Anticipated Metal Albums of 2019]

    “In 2019 we’re seeing great momentum in helping our customers build sustainable careers by finding new income across formats and channels,” said TuneCore CEO Scott Ackerman.

    For fans looking to discover up-and-coming metal acts, check out our new “Mining Metal” column, a monthly spotlight on new music from underground and independent bands.

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