NIRVANA Tops Grunge-Heavy Tally Of Active Rock's Most-Played Songs Of The Past Decade

NIRVANA Tops Grunge-Heavy Tally Of Active Rock's Most-Played Songs Of The Past Decade

According to Nielsen Music's Year-End Report, which also included a number of statistics for the recently completed decade, the 10 most-played songs on American active rock radio over the past 10 years were all released during a previous decade — the 1990s.

From 2010 to 2019, NIRVANA accounted for four of the 10-most-played songs at active rock radio, as the quartet of singles from the Seattle band's 1991 album "Nevermind" — that is, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (No. 1), "Come As You Are" (No. 3), "In Bloom" (No. 7) and "Lithium" (No. 10) — tallied more than 500,000 spins combined.

ALICE IN CHAINS's "Man In The Box" — the second single from the band's 1990 full-length debut "Facelift" — was the second-most-played song at active rock radio over the past decade. That topped the totals of the group's Seattle peers PEARL JAM, whose "Even Flow" ranked fifth on the list, and SOUNDGARDEN, whose "Black Hole Sun" came in ninth.

Only three of the format's 10 most-played songs were not recorded by a group from Seattle — STONE TEMPLE PILOTS' "Plush" (No. 4), THE OFFSPRING's "Self Esteem" (No. 6) and METALLICA's "Enter Sandman" (No. 8).

As for 2019, Nielsen stated that QUEEN was America's top rock act of the year (and sixth most popular overall), with a combined 2.7 million "total album-equivalent consumption," a metric combining streaming, album sales and album-equivalent digital single sales. In addition, the band's soundtrack to the 2018 feature film "Bohemian Rhapsody" was the year's top rock album, with 1.16 million of the same metric.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" was the second-best-selling rock album of 2019 in terms of pure sales, behind only TOOL's "Fear Inoculum". Because the majority of those sales were physical copies, it was also rock's top-selling physical title of the year, as well as the fifth-highest overall. In addition, the band's "Greatest Hits 1" and "Platinum Collection" compilations were the year's sixth- and ninth-best-selling physical titles, respectively.

The rock genre was far and away the top format for physical album sales, with 42.2 percent of the year's total sales. (No. 2 was pop, with 11 percent.) Rock also accounted for the highest portion of digital album sales (32.4 percent, more than twice the total of R&B/hip-hop) and digital song sales (22.3 percent to R&B/hip-hop's 20.5 percent). Rock continues to lag behind R&B/hip-hop in streaming, however, as the latter genre accounted for 30.7 percent of all on-demand streams last year — more than twice the total of rock (14.7 percent).

The report also included several charts ranking sales for the recently completed decade. Notably, the three top-selling vinyl albums of the past 10 years were THE BEATLES' "Abbey Road" (558,000), PINK FLOYD's "Dark Side Of The Moon" (376,000) and the rock-themed soundtrack to the Marvel film "Guardians Of The Galaxy" (367,000).

Click here to see Nielsen's full report.


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