Music shipments in 1998 were valued at approximately 13.7 billion dollars in the United States. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), several trends within the music industry have emerged. Compact discs (CDs) continue to do extremely well as a format. However, cassettes continue to be a format that consumers purchase steadily, with more than 1 billion in units shipped to retailers. Approximately 16% of the album products shipped to stores were cassettes. Although DVD music videos are not reported by all companies who supply them to retailers, those who did reported total shipments of 485,000 units.
Music singles are distributed as CD singles, cassette singles, and vinyl singles. Although the total singles shipments decreased in 1998 from previous years, this is probably due to an exceptionally strong year in 1997. The number of CD singles shipped (56 million) was more than twice the number of cassette singles shipped (26.4 million).
In 1998, the RIAA released a consumer profile of music purchasers in the United States. While CDs dominated the purchases of consumers surveyed, with 74.8% of the total, cassettes maintained second place with 14.8%. Vinyl was less than 7% of the market. The number of consumers over the age of 30 grew while all other age groups declined in the number of units purchased compared to previous years.
The popularity of different music genres continues to shift. While rock and country still dominate the market, the popularity of rock as a genre has declined from 32.5% in 1997 to 25.7% in 1998. Country has remained stable with 14.1% of the market. Movie soundtrack popularity grew in 1998 from 1.2% to 1.7%.