The latest Numbers Guy article breaks down the claim that 70 to 80 percent of the people who buy rap music are white.
The statistic is a favorite of journalists and industry executives because it defies the misconception still making the rounds that rap's fans are mostly black, and shows that it is instead mainstream music and mainstream business. It's been stated so often that it's become an "industry convention," Will Griffin, president of Russell Simmons's Simmons Lathan Media Group in Los Angeles, told me. ... Sometimes it's 70%, sometimes 80%. The proportion is of rap buyers, or rap listeners, or total rap purchases; it's of teenagers, or of consumers age 13 to 34.He tracks it to SoundScan, then SoundData, then Russell Simmons's Simmons Lathan Media Group, then Vibe Magazine, then Mediamark Research Inc.
It's at Mediamark Research that he starts to get some solid research. And what he finds out is pretty interesting.
So how pervasive is the claim, and who do people credit it with?
I quickly found a few references in Google News, just from the last month.
The Rochester Democrat-Chronicle published it, attributing the figure to the New York Times.
The Washington Times quotes it from the Wall Street Journal.
It's in the Georgetown student newspaper with no attribution.