ACM Sales Bounce? Not So Much.

So I’m checking out this week’s from Hits Daily Double, and expecting to see a sales bounce among country artists who performed on the ACM show early in the tracking week. Turns out, that didn’t happen, and I have to say I’m shocked. The only performer to see a sales bounce was Taylor Swift, who rose a meager 7%. Rascal Flatts stayed flat, but everybody else so their sales drop: Carrie Underwood (-20%), Tim McGraw (-25%), Martina McBride (-48%), and Miranda Lambert (-6%) .

Presenters didn’t do any better: Blake Shelton was down 25%, and while former ACM Top Female Vocalist Gretchen Wilson opened at #1 with her new album (and #5 overall), it was with sales of 72k, a shockingly large drop-off from her first two albums, which both moved more than 200k in their opening weeks.

It looks like the ACM producers haven’t gotten the message that the Grammys learned back in 2006: Stay the hell out of the way of American Idol. Ratings were at an all-time low for this year’s ACM show, which aired opposite the Idol semi-finals, and a huge national platform for country music got lost in the shuffle. The Grammys saw their ratings bounce back big in 2007 by moving to Sunday, and the performers and winners were rewarded with .

So move the ACM to a non-Idol day of the week next year, or else everybody’s going to have to follow Taylor Swift’s lead and serenade Tim McGraw to get a minor sales boost. (And, speaking of McGraw, it’s worth noting that he chose to perform a non-album track tribute to soldiers on the show, which explains why the best performer of the night didn’t get a sales boost.)

Update: CMT has posted an article about this.


  1. It’s worth noting that country albums always get a disproportionate sales bounce from Mothers’ Day sales. The Mothers’ Day numbers came in last week. I’m a little surprised at the magnitude of the sales declines, especially for the newer albums, but I wasn’t expecting sales increases for country albums this week.

    I agree with your point about moving the ACMs away from Idol and DWTS, though.

  2. That’s a good point regarding Mother’s day, though the size of the decline still amazes me. I just don’t remember that ever happening before after an awards show. The ratings were atrocious this year. Why you would schedule a musical event opposite the biggest music show in history is beyond me. I can’t help but think that most of the people who tuned in to the ACM’s over Idol are already big country fans who weren’t being exposed to any of the music for the first time, rather than casual ones who might end up buying the music.

  3. That’s the key point I think Kevin, that diehards are gonna be the only people who are gonna watch something like this, which is bad for country. I first became a fan of mainstream modern country when I randomly tuned into the CMA’s in 2005, so it can happen.

  4. I wouldn’t expect a bump in sales when no one watched the show. Meanwhile, Elliott Yamin’s album had a big bump after his performance on AI last week.

    The ACMs have always been more about glitz and celebrity than real country music. Perhaps it’s time to make the show two hours and more interesting.

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