(AllHipHop News) When it was revealed not a single Hip Hop album made the top ten in sales for 2014 people began to speculate that was the result of the genre's fans no longer buying albums. That seems to be only partially true, but not because rap followers were necessarily illegally downloading the projects. It may be because Hip Hop listeners simply chose to stream the albums instead of purchasing them.
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While Nielsen Music data reveals Hip Hop/R&B only accounted for 13.9% of album sales in 2014, the two musical styles made up 28.5% of streaming compensation - the year's highest percentage. These numbers include totals from the OL, Beats Music, Cricket (Muve), Google Play, Medianet, RDio, Rhapsody, Slacker, Spotify, Xbox Music, and YouTube/Vevo services.
Rock music led the year with the largest percentage of album sales (33.2%) and came in second in streaming (24.7%). Pop accounted for 10.8% of sales and 21.1% of streams. EDM (2% sales, 6.8% streaming) and country (11.8% sales, 6.4% streaming) were the other top genres for 2014.
Overall streaming had already grown by 42% in the first half of 2014, and album sales dropped by 15% during that same time. Music streaming's impact versus album sales became so noticeable that Billboard decided to include streaming numbers in the calculations for its album chart. Every 1,500 streams began to count as one album sale on the Billboard 200 starting with the December 4 edition of the magazine.
Fans reaction to J. Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive demonstrated the current power of streaming. According to reports, the Roc Nation emcee's third studio LP broke Spotify's one week streaming record for 2014 when it pulled in 15.7 million streams in December.
Even though Hip Hop album sales declined in 2014, rap artists used other non-traditional methods of music distribution to successfully reach the masses. One of the most effective approaches was the "BitTorrent Bundle." Projects by rap acts De La Soul, G-Eazy, and Ace Hood made the top 10 most downloaded bundles from the platform. Each of those artists crossed the one million download mark for their respective releases through BitTorrent.