Feel that chill in the air? It’s not just climate change, friends. The music industry is suffering through historic lows in record sales, the worst since SoundScan started tallying them in 1991.
How are country artists faring? Let’s take a look at cumulative sales for current albums. Sales are rounded to the nearest hundred.
Top Selling Current Country Albums
- Taylor Swift, Fearless: 6,233,900
- Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift: 4,955,000
- Lady Antebellum, Need You Now: 3,138,700
- Taylor Swift, Speak Now: 3,078,600
- Zac Brown Band, The Foundation: 2,489,200
- Carrie Underwood, Play On: 1,937,041
- Lady Antebellum, Lady Antebellum: 1,835,800
- Jason Aldean, Wide Open: 1,364,700
- Miranda Lambert, Revolution: 1,149,000
- Rascal Flatts, Greatest Hits Volume 1: 994,600
- Sugarland, The Incredible Machine: 815,200
- Jason Aldean, My Kinda Party: 766,300
- Tim McGraw, Southern Voice: 749,200
- George Strait, Twang: 670,200
- Kenny Chesney, Hemingway’s Whiskey: 655,200
- Zac Brown Band, You Get What You Give: 636,000
- Rascal Flatts, Nothing Like This: 585,800
- Luke Bryan, Doin’ My Thing: 509,200
- Keith Urban, Get Closer: 508,200
- Brooks & Dunn, #1’s…and Then Some: 479,700
- Toby Keith, American Ride: 432,100
- Chris Young, The Man I Want to Be: 408,000
- Eric Church, Carolina: 380,600
- Darius Rucker, Charleston, SC 1966: 376,700
- The Band Perry, The Band Perry: 364,000
- Josh Turner, Haywire: 361,800
- Justin Moore, Justin Moore: 325,600
- Easton Corbin, Easton Corbin: 314,000
- Toby Keith, Bullets in the Gun: 279,400
- Jamey Johnson, The Guitar Song: 256,300
- Gary Allan, Get Off on the Pain: 238,000
- Reba McEntire, All the Women I Am: 224,800
- Jerron Niemann, Judge Jerron & The Hung Jury: 222,700
- Billy Currington, Enjoy Yourself: 222,000
- Tim McGraw, Number One Hits: 220,500
- Dierks Bentley, Up on the Ridge: 204,900
- Zac Brown Band, Pass the Jar: 202,100
- Trace Adkins, Cowboy’s Back in Town: 194,200
- Johnny Cash, American VI: Ain’t No Grave: 190,100
- Brad Paisley, Hits Alive: 189,200
- Alan Jackson, 34 Number Ones: 181,000
- Blake Shelton, All About Tonight: 160,700
- Little Big Town, The Reason Why: 158,300
- Blake Shelton, Loaded: The Best of Blake Shelton : 142,300
- Jaron and the Long Road to Love, Getting Dressed in the Dark: 119,700
- Josh Thompson, Way Out Here: 107,000
- Joe Nichols, Old Things New: 100,700
- Brantley Gilbert, Halfway to Heaven: 81,400
- Lee Brice, Love Like Crazy: 81,200
- Steel Magnolia, Steel Magnolia: 41,000
- Joey + Rory, Album Number Two: 34,100
- Randy Houser, They Call Me Cadillac: 30,900
…quite impressive numbers for someone, who can’t sing.
Taylor-bashing is always in season, isn’t it? If you enjoy music from anyone else on her label, you should still root for her continued success because she’s the one who’s paying the bills to keep you in Trisha Yearwood an Reba these days.
What’s interesting to me about these figures is that only nine albums have sold a million or more copies, and only another ten have sold half a million or more. Most interestingly is how poorly hits collections are faring–though, in fairness, some of them were recently released and haven’t had much time on the market. I don’t think the album as a format is nearly as endangered as the hits collection, and that makes perfect sense. Fans who aren’t buying much music in the first place surely can’t be expected to double-dip on a collection of songs they already either own or decided not to buy.
I can raise my hand and say I’ve done my part to bring down overall sales. I’ve mentioned it before, but there was a time when I’d buy nearly anything, just to expand my library. I’d take a chance on a newcomer, pick up a re-issue and indulge in an unhealthy number of Various Artists releases from soundtracks to tribute albums. I don’t know how much of my waning interest is that my taste is changed, or that the music just isn’t reaching me like it used to, but I honestly get bored when I look out on the current country scene.
It’s quite discouraging to see how poorly Joey + Rory’s Album Number Two has sold so far, because it was one of the few that I’ve bought and thoroughly enjoyed. We’ve all heard fans decry that they can’t find enough new country music that resembles what they look for, and I think Joey + Rory offer that. The fans can’t say it’s not out there; they’re just not finding/buying.
are these album sales numbers for the past year? Either way, congrats to Taylor and Lady A. I can truthfully say that I own both of LA’s and 2 of Taylor’s (don’t have Fearless).
Miranda Lambert should be higher, imho.
Personally I think the overall numbers reflect how poor the recent music has been. I usually try to listen to country radio during my drive to&from work, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I like maybe half of what’s on current mainstream country radio, and I truly love even less than that. So, I stick with my mp3 player.
What exactly denotes a “current album” on this list? What release period are we talking about? Just wondering.
I think at some point we need to figure out a way to tally downloads and convert them into album equivalency units for sales ranking purposes, such as maybe every 12 songs sold and downloaded equals one album unit.
It appalls me to suggest such a thing, since MP3s are a definite step backward in sound quality but it appears that sound quality isn’t a high priority for the IPod generation
I might be missing something and I apologize in advance if I am.
I see more than current albums listed for several artists, e.g., Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown; where is Reba’s “Keep On Loving You” album that had sales for most of 2010?
Current albums are ones that are currently charted. I think the rule is they have to be more than two years old AND drop out of the top 100 to move to catalog status.
Reba’s new album sales look awful!!! Im really dissapointed in how bad her new album has been selling
…well, code, relatively to jamey johnson’s “guitar song” and dierks bentley’s “up on the ridge” albums, which both were among the most acclaimed releases of last year, reba’s sales figures are not looking too bad at all.
I must say that I recently bought copies of “Charleston, SC 1966” by Darius Rucker, “My Kinda Party” by Jason Aldean, and “Nothing Like This” by Rascal Flatts, but I usually pick and choose individual songs to download instead of going out and buying the whole album. I’m sure there are lots of other people who do the same thing, which is obviously why record sales are so much lower than they used to be.
These are the albums that I’ve purchased in their entireties from this list. This does not include albums that I’ve received as promotions, but it does include albums that I bought at deep discounts:
Taylor Swift, Fearless
Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift, Speak Now
Zac Brown Band, The Foundation
Jason Aldean, Wide Open
Miranda Lambert, Revolution
Tim McGraw, Southern Voice
George Strait, Twang
Zac Brown Band, You Get What You Give
Keith Urban, Get Closer
The Band Perry, The Band Perry
Josh Turner, Haywire
Easton Corbin, Easton Corbin
Toby Keith, Bullets in the Gun
Jamey Johnson, The Guitar Song
Gary Allen, Get Off on the Pain
Dierks Bentley, Up on the Ridge
Zac Brown, Pass the Jar
Johnny Cash, American VI
Little Big Town, The Reason Why
Josh Thompson, Way Out Here
Joe Nichols, Old Things New
Joey+Rory, Album Number Two (I got this as a promo, but bought it to support the artists as well)
Randy Houser, They Call Me Cadillac
Sales are rounded to the nearest hundred.
6. Carrie Underwood, Play On: 1,937,041
Leeann, you got me wondering so I took a look at what I’ve bought:
Taylor Swift, Speak Now ($5 Amazon MP3)
Miranda Lambert, Revolution (CD)
George Strait, Twang (CD)
Dierks Bentley, Up on the Ridge (CD)
Johnny Cash, American VI: Ain’t No Grave (CD)
Joey + Rory, Album Number Two ($5 Amazon MP3)
Also, I got Luke Bryan, Doin’ My Thing as a free MP3 download from Bryan’s website. It’s worth noting that Twang and Revolution were 2009 purchases, and that I used Amazon credit earned with Swagbucks to pay for Speak Now and Album Number Two.
All of My Swift albums were under $4.00.
Only one artist on that whole list who isn’t a “mainstream” act. Kudos to Brantley Gilbert for selling that many records while not being played on the radio and recording on a small time indie label. Been a long time fan, and I hope he starts to get appreciated for more than the much maligned Jason Aldean songs he’s written.
Tom, you cant compare reba to Jamey Johnson or Dierks Bently, since reba is a much bigger start than both of them, she shouldve at least sold 300K by now. The album was preceded by a #1 hit, which sold 220K digital downloads, and hit #53 on the billboard hot 100. So yes, the sales for reba’s new album are bad, the fact that dierks and johnson are selling close to reba is ridiculous especialy since she has a bigger fan base and had the bigger radio hit.
I mean really 64K in the first week!?!?! That’s just awful
So, who are you upset with?: Reba’s huge fan base, Reba or the people buying Dierks and Jamey but not Reba? It’s impossible not to compare her sales with theirs if she has an album out within the same time frame. This list is not arbitrary; it reflects actual sales, good or bad for Reba.
reba’s album has only been out for 12 weeks and is not a double disc like Jamey johnson with each disc couting as a sale so this is not a fair comparison.
Reba’s album will eventually go gold. It’ll sell a couple thousand a week throughout 2011, enough to get shipments to 500k.
If she puts out “Day She Got Divorced”, she might get there quickly.
Regarding Johnson, the only time double disc collections count as two units are when RIAA certifications are calculated. So he has 256, 000 copies of the set but he’s got a gold record (500,000) because that number is doubled.
I was going to comment on the surprising disconnect between radio and album sales. Lee Brice had the #1 song of the year but hasn’t even managed to sell 100,000 copies of his album. Who would have guessed that bland songs with little more aspiration than making a soccer mom in her minivan NOT change the station when it comes on, wouldn’t inspire enough passion in listeners to drive them to stores to buy a full length album.
But then I see that Justin Moore has sold over 300K. Sigh.
As for hits compilations, I think, in the long run, they tend to sell better than the studio releases.
In his almost 30 year career, George Strait has only had one other album not reach platinum status (2000’s self titled effort).
Also, I knew The Incredible Machine was selling well, but I didn’t know it was so close to platinum.
On what ground did Blake Shelton win male vocalist again?
Kevin, Billboard added another ‘new’ chart within the last year, this is why Taylor Swift’s “Taylor Swift” is still considered ‘current’ by their main Hot 200 Albums chart. In reality, it DID drop of the 100, and is over the 2 year old threshold. They put it back on when the chart changed due to re-issues being allowed back on. They now have a Hot 200 ‘current album’ chart where “Taylor Swift” is nowhere to be found, it’s basically the same as the chart from SoundScan where I get my numbers from (The Taylor Swift album hasn’t been on that for months).
As to Paul’s point,
The exact metric you say is being tallied now, at least for digital album sales.
How come the Court Yard Hounds album isn’t on here? I know they sold more than 30K copies…
“On what ground did Blake Shelton win male vocalist again?”
For real. It seems like they just really wanted to mix things up after three years of Urban then three years of Paisley. Shelton did have two big radio hits, and certainly had a high profile. But those sales seem unforgivably sluggish. At least if Dierks had won, we could say it was an artistic thing.
So proud of Brantley Gilbert!! I almost wish he wouldn’t get anymore well known than he is because he has such a grassroots following. For a cd that was put out on an independent label with hardly any mainstream radio play besides XM – that’s awesome!
KEVIN, i LOOOOOVE the day she got divorced but i dont think they will put it out since it’s not really radio friendly, its one of my favourite songs on the album. I will say the ballads are definitely more mature and better than the uptempos, but they will most likely go with “The Bridge You Burn”, which is catchy and has reba acting her age.
Taylor’s album sales are fantastic, but to me her album is really pop, really good but really pop, in songs like better than revenge, superman, haunted i cant hear any country instruments in them.
I don’t think Reba’s team really cares if she acts her age, just as long as she keeps getting radio hits.
A friend of mine has recently gotten into Todd Snider, and he got me the .mp3 album recorded at a show Snider played last October. I listened to it last night and there was a remark Snider made at one point, talking about how he had nine songs and needed a tenth so he could record and release an album, go on tour, etc. when it occurred to him, “That’s how they make country music!” and it bothered him to be so commercial-minded.
It’s pretty obvious that even country’s notoriously committed fan bases are feeling exploited by tripe and have largely stopped buying. There are an awful lot of Reba albums out there, for instance, and I think at this point most of her buyers are showing up out of habit more than anything else. More casual listeners already have a sufficient hits collection in their library and aren’t convinced there’s anything overwhelmingly interesting to be found in her current material.
Speaking of those hits collections, I forgot to respond to Michael A. In the digital era, there’s really no reason for consumers to buy hits collections anymore. They’ll pick up the songs they want as they’re released, and the only way to sell a hits collection now will be to either include some new material (that had better be really strong) and offer it as an “album only” purchase to force the older songs on the consumer, or if the hits collection includes different mixes, edits, etc. than the previously available album versions (something Keith Urban was wise to do with his 18 Kids release).
A Greatest Hits album is, ultimately, little more than a playlist on a disc. What incentive really is there for buying one in the age of making our own playlists–and not bothering with discs?
Zack: You act like that’s a bad thing! Doesn’t anyone realize that the recording industry is a business? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the quality of the music shouldn’t matter, but you can’t blame Reba or anyone on her “team” for wanting to be successful. Making music is Reba’s profession just like everyone else has a profession, and whether you like it or not, having radio hits is what pays the bills.
Dan, I’ve never quite understood how it is that an artist makes money off radio success. Theoretically, it translates into exposure, which entices listeners to spend money to buy the artist’s music, come see them in concert, etc. Other than royalties–which I’m given to understand are often paltry and frequently not properly handled–what financial incentive is there for success on radio?
Put another way: assuming that Reba’s low sales reflects that she’s selling only to the die-hards who will support her anyway (and I think that’s pretty much what we’re seeing here), does it make any real difference to her financially whether radio plays any of her new material?
I’m not sure either, and I won’t pretend I know how it all works, because I really don’t. My point is just that I don’t think it’s completely out of line for Reba or the executives at her record label or anyone else to aim for radio success. I know there are lots of other ways to measure success in the music industry, but it seems to me that receiving airplay is the easiest way for artists to get themselves noticed and potentially sell more records.
…, interesting buy-list leeann. taylor swift’s, miranda lambert’s, zac brown band’s, jamey johnson’s and dierks bentley’s albums are must have items in any serious collection of country music. they are a statement about the artitistic state of affairs in the genre at this point in time.
easton corbin’s, the band perry’s and josh thompson’s debuts are fine, definitely their money worth early efforts.
the rest surely are nice too have, with randy houser’s album being one that’s too good to be missed, even when you’re not a big fan of this artist.
your list makes a lot of sense and is actually a good, on whom to keep an eye/ear on. interestingly enough you don’t seem to miss carrie underwood albums either, so far.
Dan-Jason Aldean has had an amazing year, im not really sure how he keeps getting looked over-who did he piss off in Nashville?
And with Reba getting radio success I think its a benefit-promotes her touring, the album sales arent great but she is still a concert draw.
If you meant me-Dan and not the other Dan, I do think Jason Aldean would have been (and is still, really) the rightful heir to the Male Vocalist title, at least commercially speaking (if both he and Bentley had both been up for it at the CMAs, I probably still would’ve gone with Bentley). I think Aldean being overlooked probably just comes down to him being on Broken Bow, a smaller label with less pull in Nashville. I expect the award shows to course-correct on him pretty soon, but who knows?
I think Aldean needs a career record, too. Something along the scale of what “The House That Built Me” did for Miranda Lambert and what “Stay” did for Sugarland.
It’s not a bad thing, I am happy that Reba is still earning hits at this point in her career (she probably would’ve never managed to get 4 weeks #1 with “CMG” before the explosion of popularity she had with “Because Of You” and Reba Duets), but I mean that she is at a point where she should be making great music [not that some of her recent music isn’t among the best we’ve seen from her] that has no need to pander to radio (because she is a legend in and of herself). I guess I am waiting for the moment where she makes another great artistic record like For My Broken Heart.
I’ve never been a fan of Reba’s, so I haven’t really followed her career too closely. It seemed like a pretty big deal for her to leave MCA, though, and I have to ask those of you who are fans of hers: do you see any difference in what she’s done since vs. what she had been doing at MCA? Do you feel like she’s taking new chances, or is it more of the same?
Regarding Jason Aldean, my perception of the guy is he’s just one of the sea of almost anonymous young artists out there getting by with generic redneck lyrics set to watered down rock music. Maybe there’s more to his work, but he hasn’t really caught my attention with anything to date. I suspect that’s really the reason that the awards shows aren’t fawning over him. Surely by now Big Machine Records has demonstrated they know how to successfully promote an artist?
Lastly, regarding radio hits: other than the writers who rely on the royalty checks, does anyone really value having a hit on radio the way they did even ten years ago? What does it really even mean today?
Then, I’m still bitter over the corporate conglomerates usurping local deejays’s power. For the last decade the only time my local people have taken an on-air request was when it was obviously a song in heavy rotation they were going to play anyway. Having a radio hit is supposed to signify that a song has resonated with the listening public. Today, I fear we’ve become Pavlov’s dogs offering our goodwill and saliva to songs that we hear a lot…regardless of whether we wanted to hear them (and forget whether we wanted to hear something else!).
…you mean “big green tractor” wasn’t a career song, kevin?
I think Reba moving to Big Machine has made her want to be a fresh face in the business… At the very least, the only difference I see is that she is clearly trying to vie for mainstream attention on her Big Machine records compared to her MCA work. [Though, she does have some great songs on her last two albums] I think that being on a label with Taylor Swift (and the tour with Kelly Clarkson) has made her more in-tune with what the younger “kids” want and I think she is getting the opportunity to sing the “rockers” that she’d been wanting to sing. (Kevin wrote a while ago that Reba said she’d wanted to sing “Guys Do It All The Time” every night on stage)
With regards to the songs, I think that radio hits nowadays are more important for the veterans compared to the younger singers, considering so many [especially Female Artists] (Sara Evans, Jo Dee Messina, to name a few) artists tend to have their record releases put off because they aren’t getting enough momentum at radio. I think it also has to do with the iPods (people can just listen to their favorite songs that they are in the mood for instead of radio), I figure that I don’t want to sit through an hour-long cycle where they play Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, and maybe one mediocre hit from radio years ago… I’d rather listen to my favorite songs (which is why I never leave the house without one or two CDs).
Travis, I think Reba’s music has definitely become less interesting in the years since she left MCA. She sometimes sounds like she’s playing it safe these days. As for Jason Aldean, my opinion of him is pretty much the same as yours. A big amen to your final paragraph.
“Regarding Jason Aldean, my perception of the guy is he’s just one of the sea of almost anonymous young artists out there getting by with generic redneck lyrics set to watered down rock music.”
That’s been my basic opinion for most of the time he’s been around, but I’m finding it harder to write him off that easily lately. I think that, not unlike Rascal Flatts, he actually does have a distinct artistic identity that fans identify him with (in his case, King of Redneck-Rock); he just happens to make a type of country music I don’t generally like.
“That’s been my basic opinion for most of the time he’s been around, but I’m finding it harder to write him off that easily lately. I think that, not unlike Rascal Flatts, he actually does have a distinct artistic identity that fans identify him with (in his case, King of Redneck Rock); he just happens to make a type of country music I don’t generally like.”
Gotta disagree here, Dan. I actually think Rascal Flatts ARE one of the most distinct acts on radio, and even more so when they match a great song with their voices/harmonies.
Whether you like Rascal Flatts or not, I think it’s difficult to argue that Gary’s voice alone isn’t enough to indentify a Flatts song.
Plus, everyone knows what kinds of songs they gravitate towards as well (power ballads, love songs, cheesy upbeat tracks). Those two elements together make it virtually impossible NOT to recognize them, in my opinion.
Just because some people may not like an artists style of music doesn’t mean it’s not unique.(:
K, I think you misread Dan’s comment – he said he thinks RF does actually have a distinct artistic identity.
I dont think Reba’s musical style has changed with label changes-she really hasn’t had anything interesting this decade IMO. MCA Nashville is no longer the monster hit machine it was in the 90s with the likes of Reba,Trisha Yearwood,George Strait,Vince Gill and many others. With both Yearwood and McEntire leaving close to each other makes you wonder how things are over there.
As for Aldean, I am not his biggest fan, but he is selling better than any other male solo act and his singles rarely fail at radio. But for award show success, look at someone like Trisha Yearwood who was on a major label and it took her 6 years to win her first of only two solo CMAs….its all politics.
Cory, I’d like to respectfully dispute your last remark. We are, after all, talking about taking art and making it a competition. How else can voters decide, except based upon their own taste and predilections? Let’s say you had a ballot in hand. Would you not immediately dash to check off your favorites?
The thing about awards is that, for better or worse, they legitimize commercial recording artists. Let’s face it: they should officially rename the Duo of the Year Award at all country awards shows to the Brooks & Dunn Award. They’re the definitive duo, and how did they get that way? In large part by having no meaningful competition during their formative years.
I don’t say this to marginalize B&D in any way; they earned every Duo award they received. Now that they’ve split and are going out as solo acts all eyes are on Ronnie Dunn; we’re so accustomed to his voice on radio that we expect him to do very well on his own. (Kix Brooks has lower expectations to meet, it seems, but a lot more room to surprise everyone.) Dunn should hold his own nicely against the crow of solo male acts today, but would he have lasted on his own, though, trying to establish himself against Vince Gill, Tim McGraw, George Strait, Alan Jackson and/or Garth Brooks in the 1990s? I think Rascal Flatts have gotten by in their era largely because the industry–lead by corporate radio owners with direct, personal ties to the Bush administration–shunned the Dixie Chicks. Had that situation gone differently, I wonder if Rascal Flatts might not still be perceived as a mediocre boy band hiding out in the country field because they knew they weren’t talented enough to hack it as a pop act.
The reason the awards matter is that they’re a barometer for our own interest in an artist. If an artist doesn’t win something on a semi-regular basis, it’s taken to mean that he/she/they aren’t quite “there.” Walk away empty-handed at a few awards shows in a row, and the public may well move on altogether. To what extent we’re conscious of this I can’t say, but it’s true. You might pay $65 a ticket to see a Male Vocalist of the Year in concert, but who’s going to pay that kind of money to see, say, Gary Allan, who has often been completely overlooked by the awards? I’d rank Allan’s material and vocals in the same league as Ronnie Dunn’s, but Dunn was part of the award winning duo of our lifetime; he’s worth $65, and Allan is not.
Hmmm….I don’t like the notion that people hide out in country music because they’re not talented enough to make it as a pop act.
“I think Rascal Flatts have gotten by in their era largely because the industry–lead by corporate radio owners with direct, personal ties to the Bush administration–shunned the Dixie Chicks. Had that situation gone differently, I wonder if Rascal Flatts might not still be perceived as a mediocre boy band hiding out in the country field because they knew they weren’t talented enough to hack it as a pop act.”
Did you know that Rascal Flatts actually got offers from pop labels BEFORE they chose to sign to Lyric Street?
If they wanted to be a pop band, they would’ve taken the oppertunity to be one when it was first presented.
There’s a difference between a said artist being called “pop” while remaining in the country genre, and being a pop artist and suddenly jumping over to country music when the pop genere is no longer supportive.
If an artist has pop influnces, but CHOSE to start in country music, is it really fair to question the motive?
Tara/Dan: I misread the comment, and didn’t see the “unlike” part of it. Sorry. (:
K, that’s true. Seems like there’s been so many pop-acts trying their hand at country lately. Jessica Simpson, Michelle Branch, Jewel, Darius Rucker, etc. Most have been failed attempts. “The Wreckers” did fairly well for the short time they were around, and Darius has really been lucky getting a ton of air time. I like his voice a lot. Some of his song choices are pretty mediocre, but still better than some of the other stuff out on mainstream radio.
the way these award shows work primarily is members of the music industry vote….so if a large label like RCA throws all their votes to their particular artist-that is alot of votes and can have a impact. Its a business, not a bunch of people voting for their favorite artist. For instance, it been said over the years at the 1992 CMA Awards, Mary Chapin Carpenter’s label made a deal with Suzy Boggus’s label…if MCC label voted for Suzy as Horizon Award, then Boggus’s label would vote for MCC as female vocalist. Result was Mary Chapin having a suprise win, beating Reba and Wynonna….and Suzy Boggus winning Horizon Award in a an upset over Brooks n Dunn and Trisha Yearwood.
Regarding Rascal Flatts, I am aware they were originally nudged to go out as a pop act. I personally have a much greater appreciation for the talent in country music, but the industry itself still perceives the genre–even after Garth proved it could make a ton of money–as second-class. Anyone who’s ever paid attention to the Grammy’s can testify to how little regard the rest of the industry has for mainstream country.
The implication, then, is that Rascal Flatts astutely realized they were better off being a big fish in a little pond and that’s why they marketed their music to country. The topic of a pop artist going country is a non-issue, and for what it’s worth it doesn’t bother me in the least when an artist cuts a country album. Sure, many of them are commercially-minded efforts designed to give a boost to a sagging career but every now and again someone flexes his or her artistic muscle and turns in something great, like Ray Charles’s Modern Sounds in Country and Western.
And lest anyone take that to be hypocrisy on my part, I don’t begrudge Rascal Flatts for opting to take their chances as a country act instead of as a pop act. Bringing a boy band aesthetic to country music was daring and while I’ve never liked their material they’ve clearly succeeded against what I thought were very high odds. I could have sworn after hearing the first ten seconds of “Praying for Daylight” that I’d never have to hear another of their songs on country radio; I was clearly mistaken!
If an artist has pop influnces, but CHOSE to start in country music, is it really fair to question the motive? -K
…….Did Taylor Swift receive offers from pop labels before signing to country? Or was she just an unfortunate casualty of the current state of crossover country music? Just Asking.
Also, I think that the majority of young country artists today have had at least one pop influence that they’d name as a major influence, look at Carrie Underwood (80’s pop). I think the majority of all country artists nowadays have pop artists as influences (it’s unavoidable).