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

You will not believe who beat Nirvana in Washington.

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

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  • Jessica Karjala

    It appears that Pearl Jam, George Winston and Huey Lewis are just as irrelevant as their home state. Great info.

  • Kevin K. Scheuller

    You beat me to it, Ron. Jewel must have cracked the RIAA 250 list.

  • Michael McTiernan

    The map has since been updated to correct a few factual errors. Eminem is actually the best selling musician born in Missouri, George Strait is the King of Texas, and James Taylor is the best selling musician born in Massachusetts.

  • Matthew Hepler

    Um, I think this is actually a map of where artists were born that are in the top 250. I think this article misuderstood what this map was representing.

  • Ricky Kendall II

    This isn't every state...

    Nevada could be The Killers or Ne-Yo, not sure who sold more.

  • Jonathan Stone Murray

    Hootie and the Blowfish sold millions in the 90s and should represent South Carolina.

  • Michael McTiernan

    The majority of Aerosmith was actually born in New York. This map only displays where musicians were born and not where their bands were formed.

  • That's kind of silly, since bands can have members born in different places. Lars Ullrich of Metallica was not born in California, or even in the USA for that matter. Also, one of the members of Rascal Flatts was born in Kansas.

  • The headline is misleading. Is not a map of who's the most popular artist in each state, it's who's the most popular artist who also happens to be from each particular state.