Carrie Underwood, Dixie Chicks Claim Top Digital Country Crowns

706942_going_up.jpgAs album sales tank, the one silver lining in the industry has been the increase in digital sales. Country music consumers have been slow to adapt to the format, but as time has gone on, some of the more popular acts have begun posting some very strong digital numbers.

This week, Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” sold just under 58,000 – good enough to push it past two Rascal Flatts tracks for the top-selling country download of all-time.   Just to show how much country lags in the market:  Underwood’s track is #1 for the genre, but only #42 overall.    Also of note:  Underwood’s charity single “I’ll Stand By You”, which was only available for a few days of the tracking week, still managed to sell 124,496 downloads, making it the #2 track of all genres for the week.

I’ll be discussing retail and digital sales in relation to airplay later this week, but for now, here are the top ten digital country tracks of all-time:

  1. Before He Cheats – Carrie Underwood  (1,122,447 downloads to date)
  2. Life is a Highway – Rascal Flatts  (1,121,495)
  3. What Hurts the Most – Rascal Flatts (1,102,425)
  4. Not Ready to Make Nice – Dixie Chicks (921,555)
  5. Jesus, Take the Wheel – Carrie Underwood (919,712)
  6. Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy) – Big & Rich  (752,188)
  7. Live Like You Were Dying – Tim McGraw (639,015)
  8. Tim McGraw – Taylor Swift (540,716)
  9. My Wish – Rascal Flatts (524,666)
  10. Redneck Woman – Gretchen Wilson (497,141)

For the record, Wilson’s track comes in at #199 on the all-genre list, so that’s only ten country tracks among the top 200 digital singles to date.  Unsurprisingly, there’s little country penetration on the top digital albums chart as well, though the top country digital album to date – the Grammy-sweeping Dixie Chicks smash Taking the Long Way, is #7 overall.   Two artists that worked on that album are also in the top ten: John Mayer (#1) and Red Hot Chili Peppers (#10).  There are only five other country albums among the top 100 digital albums to date:

  1. Taking the Long Way – Dixie Chicks  (173,072)
  2. Me and My Gang – Rascal Flatts (124,036)
  3. Some Hearts – Carrie Underwood (110,537)
  4. Walk the Line – Soundtrack (71,417)
  5. 16 Biggest Hits – Johnny Cash (65,009)
  6. Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Thing – Keith Urban (54,584)

Much like the country audience held on to the cassette format far longer than consumers of rock, pop and hip-hop, it is going to take a while for digital sales of country acts to be more consistent with retail sales.   Will 2007 be the year it happens?


  1. thanks for the complete stats, its interesitng to see the comparrisons…the country trend looks to be a bit behind, but thats how it goes I think it will start coming into its own but its still sad to see cd sales falling so far behind

  2. Didn’t digital downloads just start a few years ago? So what is the point of posting the stats?
    There was no such things as digital downloads when huge stars like Shania released her global hits. SHania would of shattered those stats ten times over.
    I also see no big deal in the stats since AI viewers and mass exposure on AI help with downloads from people.

  3. William I can understand your love for Shania…I think she is great too, but right now she is not the one out there working her but off and making news. When the day comes and she puts our another album, and music, we can compare the way she “shatters” records in the current market. I am not saying that she wouldn’t do it, I just don’t like when people take Shania’s huge accomplishments outside the time in which they happened. Honestly talking about the successes of current stars does nothing to take away the great things that previous stars have done. Also AI = amazing marketing strategy, that doesn’t take away from the talent of those gaining exposure from it, the tired argument against American Idol is getting old people. Get over it.

  4. Gaby, actually big icons like Shania don’t have to prove anything because they have done it all and has set the standards for success. And last time I checked Shania is 41 yearsold and her priorities are different, she has a family and kids so why the heck does she need to work her butt off when she has done it her whole career.
    I don’t think what a 41 yearold woman does in the current market will mean anything even though she will sell tens of millions worldwide but the radio airplay is for the younger crowd now.
    Shania is just in another league and the biggest country female of alltime because not only her sales but it is how she changed the idustry and country music forever and created her music.You will never see big stars like her anymore.
    They are all manufactured these days.

  5. Potter aka William aka George…why is it that every time someone posts something regarding Carrie Underwood, you must bring Shania into the mix. It’s obvious it’s you because you always use “icon” and “transcends all genres” etc… LMAO!!!

    As far as digital downloads, that works two ways you know…if you could download digital songs when Shania came on the scene she would probably not have sold nearly as many physical CD’s as she did.

    Must be lonely to have to keep talking up Shania while you wait for that new album you’ve been mentioning for over a year now eh?

    And if you must bring her up, I think she is (was) a great entertainer, but vocally…Carrie sings circles around her!

  6. steve, are you some CArrie Underwood troll fan or her mom lol!!!
    You don’t even have a clue who I am and rarely post on message boards.
    I am just pointing out that Shania is an icon who has the money and power to do what she wants and her priorities are different now that she has a family.
    So give it a rest. You just sound really foolish trying to bash an icon like Shania who has achieved success worldwide that little opening acts like Underwood can only dream of.Maybe worry about Underwood sticking around more than 4 years instead of trying to discredit Shania and all she has done for country music.Nobdy is even in her league.
    As for vocally, that is all a matter of opinion and could listen to Shania all day.
    I laugh at how you are so jealous of Shania and her money and success than you have to take a jab and bash her.

  7. Steve,

    You don’t have to tell me twice. He’s posted under several different names already on the two Carrie-related threads. I’d delete his comments if they weren’t so darn entertaining.

  8. Steve and others, what with all the Shania bashing?
    I met Shania in 1993 when she first started out and she was such a class act and very nice with a great honey voice on her acoustic versions.
    She has grown into the last decade to one of the biggest and most successfyl stars of alltime. She worked her butt off to achieve her success and now I see some Underwood fans come on here and try and discredit Shania and her voice and her talent.How sad that these people are so jealous of class act and talent like Shania who basically changed the way country music is percieved.
    I quite agree with William, Shania is so much bigger and on such a higher level than any other country artist that it isn’t even close.
    I believe Shania is on hiatus with her family and keeping her priroitites right and also working on a new ablum. I guess when you have as much money and success and high status as Shania then you make music on your time schedule.

  9. Kevin, I posted here as Samuel and william on this thread to make a point.
    It seems Carrie Underwood fans seem to love to Bash Shania because Shania is in a league of her own.
    So I made up different screennames to make my point just like others have different screennames to praise Underwood.
    I have nothing against her but she is still an opening act and far from the level of true stars who do their own thing and create their own music./
    So I post to defend Shania who set the standard.I find Underwood fans lack respect for those who came before and they show no resepct for Shania at all who has done things others could only dream of.

  10. Kevin,no on other articles here where she was bashed, not this particular one.

    If you want to do a real story why not try and dig up some info on the reclusive Mutt Lange or reclusive Shania and see why they are such outsiders and why they rarely are seen in public and live in obscure places.
    Now that would interest people if you can try and dig up some info on the man and woman(Shania and Mutt) who changed country music forever.
    Also try and get some info and what their peers actually think about them or are they hated by everyone in the industry because they keep to themselves.
    Now that would be an interesting article.
    I know Mutt hasn’t given an interview in over 30 years but what makes Mutt and Shania tick.

  11. I have been reading this site for years and have never seen Kevin bash Shania. Quite the opposite, actually.

    Other topic, even with the AmIdol exposure, Carrie’s crossover success with “Before He Cheats” has been extremely impressive. Is this the biggest country crossover hit since the heyday of Shania, Faith, Lone Star, etc.? It’s gotta be close to it. Here’s to hoping her next album is a consistently good one and not 1/2 killer 1/2 filler.

  12. Matt C, thank you for the laugh. Shania and Mutt did everything on their own and Shania wrote her own songs and her own attitide and charisma. That is being in control and knowing what you want.
    The label had no say in Shania. She and Mutt had all the power and created their own image and songs,

    Greg fenoe, big difference, Shania actually started out country and crossed over and took the risk and got bashed for it and took it to a level never to be seen again on a global scale.
    An AI contestant starts out as with a pop audience so there is no cross over there at all.
    I find it funny that Carrie’s only cross over song is one that includes Shania’s name in the song.

  13. William, Samuel, whoever you are…I am a huge Carrie fan, and am constantly on boards with other Carrie fans and have never heard a bash of Shania, not even a discredit to her success…so as you can see I get really confused when Shania gets brought up defensivly when someone is talking about Carrie, they are not the same artist, not even in the same time period, as you stated Shania is focused on her family and such…I don’t see why celebrating Carrie’s success and huge talent makes you feel like you have to bring up Shania. Like it or not, manufactured or not the times have changed and people are making waves in the music biz differently than before, to discredit them and to try to negate their talent just because it is something you don’t prefer is juvenile. I am sorry for the long rambling post but this is not the first time that I have seen this happen and it is just uncalled for. I don’t know what the future holds for Carrie’s career, I can only hope that she will continue to put out music that she is proud of and that the fans love…time will tell if she will reach legandary status, but I think she has a great start and I will continue to support a voice that I love to hear!

  14. I don’t believe in this manufacturing crap. I say if you have a good voice you have a good voice. and William/Samuel there right. When Shania comes out with more music, which will hopefully be soon, she’ll give her #! competator a run for her money. You can’t force a good voice out of anyone and Carrie has a naturally perfect vocal.

    When Shania returns then you should keep bragging, but until then just leave it alone. Who cares about Idol. Carrie would have overthrown Shania at this point anyways. When Shania returns she’ll definatly create a heated battle for the best and most popular selling country female, but until then Carrie has been welcomed with open arms.

  15. Part of country’s lag may be due to the songwriters. My favorite artist, Patty Loveless, doesn’t have any studio albums completely available on iTunes for example and other music download sites. There is always one, usually more, songs missing. I assume this is because some songwriter’s don’t want their songs to be sold in this way? Can anyone explain this? I have wanted to purchase full albums on iTunes but wasn’t able to so I download a song or two from an artist. I see this with country artists more, and obviously I’ve paid special attention to Patty.

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