Rock's Roll Yields to Country

ROCK and roll may not be dead, but a consumer survey released last week shows that it's losing ground to country, rap, and soul. The Recording Industry Association of America said rock and roll accounted for one-third of all music bought in the United States last year, down from nearly half four years ago.

The burgeoning popularity of country music and urban contemporary, which combines rap and soul, boosted the industry to a record $9 billion in sales during 1992, according to the annual consumer profile by the industry group.

Country music, led by Garth Brooks, accounted for 17 percent of music sales last year, the survey said. The genre doubled its share of the market in two years. The growth of rap and soul wasn't quite as meteoric, but accounted for 17 percent of sales in 1992, up from 12 percent four years earlier.

Profit margins were also boosted by the growing popularity of compact discs, which are more expensive than cassettes and vinyl albums (vinyl has virtually disappeared from consumer surveys). Introduced only a decade ago, compact discs made up 57 percent of all music bought last year.

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