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Country up, but rock’s still No. 1

Country music increased its market share 4%, but rock ‘n’ roll continues to be America’s favorite sound, according to the 1992 consumer profile results released Friday by the Recording Industry Assn. of America.

“The most notable finding in this year’s consumer profile had to do with country music,” said Jay Berman, president of the RIAA. “Its continued crossover success came as no surprise, but what’s extraordinary is the fact that country music’s percentage of the marketplace has nearly doubled in the last two years.”

The annual research project is compiled from a monthly national telephone survey by Chilton Research Services under the direction of the RIAA’s Market Research Committee. Approximately 1,250 households are screened monthly to determine the incidence of past-month purchases of prerecorded music. Approximately 225 music buyers identified during this screening are then interviewed in detail about their purchases.

Data from the monthly surveys is tabulated quarterly, and then weighted by age and sex and projected to reflect the U.S. population over the age of 10. The reliability of the quarterly data reported is plus/minus 3.6 %, with a claimed confidence level of 95%.

Because consumers were asked to classify their music purchases, and researchers did not assign music to a particular category, the results may be viewed somewhat cynically.

For example, rock music was considered to have included hard rock, soft rock, new wave, punk, heavy metal, rock ‘n roll, pop rock and “other” rock variations, while the broad category of “other” encompasses ethnic, oldies, big band, swing, Spanish, electronic, instrumental, comedy, humor, spoken word, exercise, language, folk, holiday and new age music.

The survey highlights:

o Rock music continued to lead the market with 33.2% of the purchases, despite a 3.1% drop from last year. Country was up 4% to 16.5% of the market, while both classical and children’s music also increased.

o Urban contemporary music’s market share slipped 1.5%, but it continued as the second-most popular genre.

o Compact discs are the configuration of choice with 56% of consumers. Cassettes cling to 37.3% of the market for album-length prerecorded product. Musicvideos, reported for the first time this year, rang up 2.6% of purchases.

o The purchasing power of the 30-year-olds continued to rise. That demographic has shown a 6.4% increase over the last five years, while the 24 -and-under crowd as decreased 12.1% since 1988.

o Southerners were the greatest music purchasers in the country, accounting for 33.9% of sales.

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