Country music may be the most polarizing and toxic genre that exists right now, with thumbs becoming more quick to hammer the keyboard of their touch screen device to scream “THAT’S NOT REAL COUNTRY” in the comments of social media posts every chance they get. And while even I, a Country music critic, can get lost in that exhausting debate from time to time with both sides of the aisle, Country is arguably in a better spot than it has been in years.
For some, it took getting into artists such as Florida Georgia Line or Luke Bryan to finally become fans of artists such as Cody Johnson or Zach Bryan or Turnpike. With that said, no matter what type of Country you listen to, it would appear we’re back to being the “cool” genre.
Country album sales in the U.S. dropped from 31.8 million in 2019 to 28.3 million in 2020, yet still made up about 15% of the market share for total sales and streams. Concert attendance for Country artists have also continued to rise, (if you don’t count the years during the pandemic).
According to Luminate, Country music consumption in the states is up 20.3% in 2023 so far. That increase puts the 2.5% growth the genre experienced over the same period last year to shame. Album sales have also gone up, while last year the genre saw a 21.4% decline from the year prior.
Looking at the massive increase in Country music consumption, one could argue that it’s been fueled from Morgan Wallen’s popularity. According to Billboard, one out of every 10 country songs streamed so far this year has been by Wallen.
Morgan has sold 4.9 million equivalent album units, representing 10.4% of all consumption in the genre. What’s really interesting is that Wallen, Luke Combs, Zach Bryan and Bailey Zimmerman have accounted for 69% of country music’s year-to-date consumption growth. But I mean, are we really surprised by that?
We’ll check back in and provide y’all with the year-end stats right after the ball drops.
Luke Combs | All Over Againpic.twitter.com/A15cN1VWxk— Country Chord (@CountryChord) July 9, 2023