What’s the Most Popular Music Genre In Every U.S. State?

Most Popular Music Genre by US State

What’s America’s favorite music genre?

That’s an extremely difficult question to answer, with several different styles resonating strongly on the touring circuit.  According to a just-released 2015 ranking by busbud, Country music topped the genre list for 13 different states, based on touring activity.

Every major tour from 2015 was factored into the analysis, then mapped that against shows in every state.

Country didn’t dominate the South as expected.  The music genre topped the ranking in Alabama and Arkansas, but also Hawaii, Idaho, Utah, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Alaska, among many others.  Top-touring country artists included Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Shania Twain, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, and Tim McGraw, among many others.

Close behind was Classic Rock/Oldies, with mainstays like the Rolling Stones, the Who, Foreigner, U2, Rush, ZZ Top, and America keeping the flame alive.  In total, Classic Rock and Oldie as a category dominated 11 different states, all surprisingly east of the Mississippi River.

In third place come the mellower sounds of Indie, a catch-all, somewhat vague category that traverses rock, folk, jam, and even electronica-infused bands.  In total, Indie topped the rankings in 10 different states, with groups like Mumford & Sons, Sleater Kinney, the Avett Brothers, and James Taylor among the top-attended artists.

EDM actually only topped one state: Nevada, thanks largely to EDC, or Electric Daisy Carnival and a non-stop schedule of Vegas pool parties and DJ shows.  Indeed, EDM has reshaped Vegas, and in turn, Vegas has played a major hand in EDM’s explosive growth.

Among the surprises: Pop, which ranked number one in California but none of the other states; and R&B/Soul, which only topped Hawaii.  Latin music, meanwhile, topped two mega-states: Texas and Florida, while Metal ranked highly in a number of ‘middle America’ states like Kansas and the Dakotas, while Rap/Hip-Hop didn’t make the rankings.

And who’s the most popular artist in each state?  If the number of shows is any measure, here’s the breakdown.

Most Popular Artist per State

We’ll have a lot more geographical and touring data ahead!

14 Responses

  1. Anon

    Well, what passes for country mostly is just pop. Same with a lot of alternative and fake Indy.

    U2 is classic rock ? Well I guess you could make that argument now but it’s bit of a stretch.

    • Jon

      I would of put Foreigner in Hard Rock, I mean you got vocals from the band Hurricane and bass from Dokken, wile the the drummer I think has worked with Whitenake and Steve Vai. Unless they consider those oldies. Hard Rock/Metal was never defined by any bands.

  2. Chris H

    What they want vs. what’s available. The conclusions I’m sure vary widely.

  3. Carson

    Article correction: In no state was hip-hop the number 1 genre based on this chart. Hawaii is given as R&B/Soul

  4. Nen2

    Paul, the concept of the article is great however it’s hard to believe the facts…take it to the next level. I’d find a world such map very helpful in my work. Thanks 🙂


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