Rock topples pop as UK's bestselling album genre - if you count Mumford & Sons as rock

Forty per cent of the 10,000 biggest albums of 2013 were classed as rock

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The Independent Culture

In a world where Mumford & Sons are dubbed 'rock' (they're folk-pop) and Ed Sheeran has been described as a rapper (he's not), genre arguably means little.

But rock has ended pop's reign as the UK's bestselling album genre for the first time since 2010, according to new analysis from music industry body the BPI.

Marcus Mumford and his "I Will Wait" bandmates were included as rock in the analysis, as was Rod Stewart, but dubious decisions aside, 'rock' music claimed 33.8 per cent of all UK album sales in 2013, while pop accounted for 31 per cent.

Even a trio of Now That's What I Call Music albums (One Direction, Little Mix and P!nk eat your heart out) could not save pop from taking a financial tumble last year.

Figures from the Official Charts Company show that 40 per cent of the 10,000 biggest albums of 2013 were classed as rock.

Dance music was the third most popular genre, with 8.3 per cent of album sales racked up by the likes of French duo Daft Punk, while easy listening artists such as Robbie Williams and Michael Buble represented 8.1 per cent.

Pop fans need not despair, however, for the genre remained on top in the singles market, notching up 36. 2 per cent of sales. Rock trailed behind at 21.4 per cent.

Gennaro Castaldo from the BPI said: "While the appeal of pop remains consistent, the popularity of rock music tends to ebb and flow a little more, reflecting as it does the excitement that can quickly build around new acts as they burst through.

"With Arctic Monkeys now taking on near-iconic status and the likes of Jake Bugg and Bastille to name a few connecting with a new generation of fans, rock music looks set to enjoy another wonderfully vibrant period."

Are the 'indie' Arctic Monkeys rock? Would we not call Bastille synthpop? Must everything be labelled with a largely meaningless genre?