Most Popular Music Genre by State

Most Popular Music Genre by State

One of the things that makes America great is how diverse it is. While Americans share many things, collectively there are also plenty of distinctions between different regions. This is very apparent when you look at musical tastes. You can learn a lot about the different states by looking at their favorite genres and favorite artists, so that’s exactly what we’ll do.

Before we look at the findings, it’s important to note that the way that such information is gathered influences the result. The sort of songs popular on streaming sites like Spotify aren’t necessarily the types of songs popular on the radio. To get the most widely representative results, we’ll be looking at both the top genres in terms of live performances and the most popular musicians according to Pandora 2017 streaming numbers. Finally, to give you a taste of the music each state has individually produced we’ll look at the most popular bands that have come from each state. A handful of artists from major metropolitan areas might dominate the top of the charts at any given moment, but that doesn’t mean that each and every state hasn’t contributed their own unique artists to America’s musical tapestry.

With all that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at America’s musical landscape.

Best Music Genre by State

Alabama

  • Most popular genre: Country
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Kevin Gates
  • Most famous homegrown band: Alabama

Alaska

  • Most popular genre: Country
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Eminem
  • Most famous homegrown band: Portugal. The Man

Arizona

  • Most popular genre: Metal
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Alice Cooper

Arkansas

  • Most popular genre: Country
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Kevin Gates
  • Most famous homegrown band: Evanescence

California

  • Most popular genre: Pop
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: The Grateful Dead

Colorado

  • Most popular genre: Indie
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: OneRepublic

Connecticut

  • Most popular genre: Metal
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: The Carpenters

Delaware

  • Most popular genre: Classic Rock
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: George Thorogood and the Destroyers

Florida

  • Most popular genre: Alternative
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Georgia

  • Most popular genre: Classic Rock
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Future
  • Most famous homegrown band: OutKast

Each State Most Popular Genre

Hawaii

  • Most popular genre: Rhythm and Blue
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Bruno Mars
  • Most famous homegrown band: Pepper

Idaho

  • Most popular genre: Country
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Eminem
  • Most famous homegrown band: Built to Spill

Illinois

  • Most popular genre: Classic Rock
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Earth, Wind & Fire

Indiana

  • Most popular genre: Classic Rock
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Jackson 5

Iowa

  • Most popular genre: Indie
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Slipknot

Kansas

  • Most popular genre: Metal
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Kansas

Kentucky

  • Most popular genre: Classic Rock
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Kevin Gates
  • Most famous homegrown band: My Morning Jacket

Louisiana

  • Most popular genre: Classic Rock
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Kevin Gates
  • Most famous homegrown band: The Neville Brothers

Maine

  • Most popular genre: Alternative
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Eminem
  • Most famous homegrown band: Rustic Overtones

Maryland

  • Most popular genre: Indie
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: The Orioles

Drake Most Popular Artist

Massachusetts

  • Most popular genre: Indie
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Aerosmith

Michigan

  • Most popular genre: Classic Rock
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: The Temptations

Minnesota

  • Most popular genre: Indie
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Prince and the Revolution

Mississippi

  • Most popular genre: Classic Rock
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Kevin Gates
  • Most famous homegrown band: 3 Doors Down

Missouri

  • Most popular genre: Classic Rock
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Ike & Tina Turner

Montana

  • Most popular genre: Alternative
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Eminem
  • Most famous homegrown band: Silkworm

Nebraska

  • Most popular genre: Country
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Bright Eyes

Nevada

  • Most popular genre: Electronic
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Imagine Dragons

New Hampshire

  • Most popular genre: Country
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Eminem
  • Most famous homegrown band: Aerosmith

New Jersey

  • Most popular genre: Classic Rock
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Eminem Popular Artist

New Mexico

  • Most popular genre: Alternative
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: The Shins

New York

  • Most popular genre: Classic Rock
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: The Ramones

North Carolina

  • Most popular genre: Indie
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: The Charlie Daniels Band

North Dakota

  • Most popular genre: Metal
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Eminem
  • Most famous homegrown band: Bobby Vee & The Strangers

Ohio

  • Most popular genre: Country
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: The Isley Brothers

Oklahoma

  • Most popular genre: Metal
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: The Flaming Lips

Oregon

  • Most popular genre: Alternative
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: The Decemberists

Pennsylvania

  • Most popular genre: Country
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Hall & Oates

Rhode Island

  • Most popular genre: Indie
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Talking Heads

South Carolina

  • Most popular genre: Classic Rock
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Kevin Gates
  • Most famous homegrown band: Hootie and the Blowfish

Live Music Concert

South Dakota

  • Most popular genre: Metal
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Eminem
  • Most famous homegrown band: The Spill Canvas

Tennessee

  • Most popular genre: Indie
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Kevin Gates
  • Most famous homegrown band: Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three

Texas

  • Most popular genre: Latin
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: ZZ Top

Utah

  • Most popular genre: Country
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Eminem
  • Most famous homegrown band: The Osmonds

Vermont

  • Most popular genre: Indie
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Eminem
  • Most famous homegrown band: Phish

Virginia

  • Most popular genre: Country
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Dave Matthews Band

Washington

  • Most popular genre: Indie
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Nirvana

West Virginia

  • Most popular genre: Country
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Asleep at the Wheel

Wisconsin

  • Most popular genre: Country
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Drake
  • Most famous homegrown band: Violent Femmes

Wyoming

  • Most popular genre: Indie
  • Most popular contemporary artist: Eminem
  • Most famous homegrown band: Teenage Bottlerocket

Best Genre by State Music

Analysis

The first thing that will jump out to just about anyone looking at this list is that while live tastes are diverse across the country the most popular artists tend to be rappers. Out of fifty states, only one gave the top spot to a singer, with Hawaii streaming Bruno Mars more than anyone else. Nielsen found that 2017 was the year where hip-hop became America’s leading genre, finally surpassing rock in terms of popularity.

While hip-hop and R&B are more dominant than ever the popularity of the genres are driven by streaming. That’s why they dominate the “contemporary artist” category but almost never show up when we look at most popular touring genres. Younger listeners are more likely to enjoy hip-hop and use streaming sites. Genres like rock and country are more likely to be enjoyed via radio, record, or live performance. According to a report from Nielsen Music, rock accounts for 40.1% of the total album sales even though it only accounts for 16% of total streams. On the other hand, kip-hop and R&B account for just 17% of total album sales while they captured 29.1% of the total streams.

Streaming numbers are also subject to frequent change. For example, Kevin Gates was at the height of his popularity when Pandora released its figures in mid-2017. But in the early months of 2018, it feels like Kevin Gates has dropped off the planet. It should also be noted that Eminem dominated ten states despite the fact that he hadn’t released a new album in years when the Pandora’s numbers were released. That speaks to his lasting power, something he shares with artists like Guns N’ Roses, U2, Metallica, and Garth Brooks, artists who dominated concert ticket sales even if they weren’t found at the top of the latest sales charts.

Music in America is currently in an interesting place. The internet has made it easier than ever for artists to release their music for the world to hear, but at the same time it can feel like a smaller group of artists is capturing the top of the charts. Still, when it comes to touring shows and local scenes rock and country musicians are helping to bring fans together all across the country. While the charts might be dominated by music that is streamed over phones and computers the local concert venues are packed with people looking for that classic combination of drums, a guitar, and a singer that can make them feel something.