The mass merchandisers' ability to sell vast quantities of deeply discounted albums has disproportionately benefited performers more likely to appeal to a rural, small-town or suburban audience, generally benefiting country and hurting rap, several music executives said.
For example, mass merchandisers accounted for about 60 percent of the 5.4 million sales of the Dixie Chicks' most recent album and about 72 percent of the 2.5 million sales of Toby Keith's last album, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
In contrast, mass merchants sold just 35 percent of the 5.8 million copies of Norah Jones' most recent album, which dominated the Grammys, and just 26 percent of the sales of the most recent album by the rapper 50 Cent, according to Nielsen SoundScan. (Wal-Mart sells edited editions of 50 Cent albums in some of its stores, typically near urban areas.)
Markedly late to the party, here's an NYT article about big-box stores and homogenized taste. Mefi people, as usual, have some prescient comments.