Music Sales Confirm I’m a Music Snob

josh-grobin-250x200.jpgNielson SoundScan‘s 2007 report on nationwide music sales forces me to ponder once again the following question: Do I have crappy taste in music, or does the rest of the country?

The most popular artists in this year’s report make music that A) Hurts me to listen to, or B) I would prefer listening to crying babies for hours on end than have to endure. Here are some examples:

Josh Groban‘s album Noel was the top selling album of the year. Groban’s performances of his soaring ballad “You Raise Me Up” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and at a Superbowl NASA tribute gave me throbbing headaches. But more importantly, how does a holiday album sell the most copies of the year? Holiday albums are sappy, and tend to be re-hashings of songs we’ve all heard a cajillion times, for crying out loud. This is the first time in SoundScan’s history that a seasonal/holiday album suckered so many people since Kenny G’s Miracles: A Holiday Album achieved similar status in 1994. Don’t even get me started on Kenny G.

The Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie was the top selling digital artist this year. How did the woman who’s biggest contribution to the world was the song “My Humps” accomplish this feat? Of all the solo female artists out there, what is it about Fergie that people like so much? Personally, I can take all of about 10 seconds of her music before a large wince overcomes my face. I recognize that she’s breaking away from the shackles of a faux hip-hip band and getting all real and everything, but it’s a bad sign when a teenager’s living room performance of Fergie’s song “Big Girls Don’t Cry” is more interesting to me than the real thing.

Hannah Montana was the second top-selling artist (nearly 4 million copies sold!), and High School Musical 2 was the second top ten selling album of the year. Alright, so Hannah Montana was nominated for an Emmy, and she’s Billy Ray Cyrus’ daughter and all, but don’t all you tween girls have some homework to do or something?

Among the 10 top-selling artists of the entire SoundScan era (since 1991) are Garth Brooks, the Beatles, and Celine Dion; three of my least favorite names in music. Is it me, or has the music-loving populace gone completely mad?

Okay, so it is probably me, since I am, and have always been, a music snob. There, I admit it. Josh Groban telling me I raise him up really just bums me out. Hearing Fergie sing about crying makes me laugh. I hear Garth Brooks and am convinced that former country stars like Bob Wills are rolling in their graves. And I don’t think the Beatles make bad music, I just don’t like being told that I have to like them, just because they’re the Beatles. There’s no adventure in that. I think I’ll go nurse my curmudgeonliness with the new Eagles album, which was the third top-seller this year. Oh God, this is gonna hurt.


The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.