“In chaos there is opportunity.” - CMA chairman Steve Moore
But, the writers covering the meeting reported that the panic is palpable and quote Anderson Merchandisers CEO Charlie Anderson predicting that the industry will “implode” within three years if it continues to operate in the same manner.
Is this the current decade's equivalent of the legendary 1986 New York Times Robert Hilburn piece which pronounced the country music business dead?
A reminder: that pronouncement came at the very same time that Garth was marrying Sandy and “the class of 1989” was recording and starting to release their early music, which by 1993-1994 drove the format to its highest heights in history!
If so, it seems - while the patient certainly has seen better health nationally than right now - the early signs of a strong recovery are already becoming visible.
Even after all these decades since then, Country remains the #1 adult music format that hasn't fragmented in any major way, still hanging onto very loyal leading edge boomers while attracting passionate teens and 20-somethings too.
More cause for optimism:
Taylor Swift continues to prove that Country can still sell plastic albums as well as digital downloads when the product and the marketing is right.
While numerous 'wannabe' acts are no-doubt struggling in the 20’s and 30’s on the charts, just this week in Fresno a KSKS-presented $5 concert series show featuring Bucky Covington, Matt Kennon and Jerrod Niemann was a complete sell-out.
“It was incredible,” notes PD Tom Jordan, “This is the first time KISS has ever sold any concert out!”On the summer superstar touring circuit, a dozen or so major Nashville acts still are packing concert venues.
Give them something that excites them, and they still do respond.
Early indications from the first month's rating trends of spring are that country's national average losses were more in time spent listening, not as much in cume, meaning that - again - the market is largely still there, we simply need to give 'em a reason to spend more time with us.
Country needs a Lady Gaga?
We may already know the names of some of them who will join Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Sugarland and Carrie Underwood, among others, who even now are drawing as well or better than Tim, Toby, Reba, George, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson or Kenny Chesney.
Lady Antebellum? Zac Brown Band? Easton Corbin? Billy Currington? Jason Aldean? Dierks Bentley? Blake Shelton? Miranda Lambert? Luke Bryan? Chris Young? All/any of the above? Someone whose name we don't even know yet?
It's a good time, as always, to listen very carefully to everything.
The country format's issues are nothing that great songs won't solve. It seems to me that we have plenty of very talented artists in the in-basket.
There’s tremendous cause for optimism for country’s future, thanks to the changing of the guard happening on right now.
Who are you excited about?