• 02.18.14

Infographic: This U.S. Map Reveals the Top-Selling Musician From Each State

You will not believe who beat Nirvana in Washington.

Infographic: This U.S. Map Reveals the Top-Selling Musician From Each State

It must be disappointing for members of the bands Kansas, Chicago, and Boston to find out that they ultimately failed to represent their namesakes to the fullest extent possible. As a new map of the United States reveals, however, none of these bands were the top-selling musical artists in Kansas, Illinois, or Massachussetts. (That would be Martina McBride, R. Kelly, and New Kids On The Block.)


Redditor Ooosh-E recently took some data from the RIAA’s list of the 250 top-selling musicians in the United States and used it to label each state according to the most unit-moving bands to hail from them. While nobody will flinch upon finding out that Prince dominates Minnesota and Billy Joel is the king of New York, there are many surprises to be found.

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Chief among head-scratchers is the fact that the smooth jazz stylings of Kenny G apparently trump the revolutionary rock of Nirvana in the state of Washington. (Seattle surely weeps tonight.) Also, John Denver is not the best-selling artist from Colorado, but only because it turns out that he’s from New Mexico–where he is the best-selling artist of the state. Finally, there are states like Montana, Idaho, and Oregon, who don’t have a top-selling artist at all. Presumably this is because they just didn’t have any musicians who cracked the RIAA top 250, but still, the redditor in question could have done some research and picked some artists who are associated with their states–like multi-platinum glam guys The Killers, who proudly come from Nevada.

Also nowhere to be found on this map: the band America.

H/t to 22 Words

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.