The Jazz Line reports that “Jazz is officially the least-popular genre in the U.S.” According to Nielsen’s 2014 Year-End Report, jazz album sales have plummeted to only 5.2 million for the full year. This is all jazz recordings, by all artists.
Jazz is also pretty moribund on streaming services, with only 0.3% of music streamed coming from that genre.
The Jazz Line says:
“This is indicative of an aging listenership that is slow to adapt to new technologies. As more and more traditional record stores go out of business, it’s becoming harder for these veteran stalwarts of the genre to access new releases, while the few digital natives that actively listen to jazz are finding it difficult to carry the numbers.”
Yet some would suggest the decline is simply because jazz is boring.
I’m a sort-of jazz fan. I like several artists – Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Brad Mehldau, Theolonious Monk, John Coltrane – but I don’t have the knowledge of the genre to know the names of the B-list musicians, as I do with classical music. I’ve got so much great music to listen to from those artists, that I really don’t have time to explore much more. If I did have a streaming subscription, I might delve into contemporary jazz, but I see so little progress in the genre that it’s good enough for me to stick with the greats.