Country Music: Who’s Listening?
It’s no surprise that country music and its fan-base has seen unprecedented growth in the past few years, for a variety of reasons. Country songs are being played on pop radio, are on multi-genre playlists, many great cross-genre collaborations happening, country artists are frequently featured on many specials and TV shows, and an increase in social media presence, among other things, has allowed many more people to be exposed to country music. Which leads to the question: When it comes to country music, who’s listening?
According to Spotify, the majority of country music listeners are from the United States, but the genre has grown internationally; since 2015 there has been a 21% increase in foreign listeners. As a result of international growth, artists are increasingly touring more in other countries. Longtime fans know that country music is popular in Canada and Australia, but South Africa, many countries in Europe, particularly Northern Europe, and some countries Southeastern Asia have a significant fan-base as well.
In the United States, country music continues to grow as well. According to research from the Country Music Association, 40% to 41% of females from every generation from Baby Boomers to Centennials listen to country music; in contrast, male listeners are 39% of Baby Boomers and Generation X, respectively, 38% of Millennials, and 27% of Centennials. Overall, 42% of the United States listens to the genre.
Also, according to the Country Music Association, country music has a presence in every major region of the United States, with 30% to 55% of the population of each region fans of the genre. There has also been an increase in the diversity of the country music fan-base as well, as Hispanic and African American consumers have doubled and tripled, between 2010 and 2005 to 2015.
Nielsen reported in July of 2018 that country music was the leading radio format for this year, which is no surprise. It consistently has been one of the top performing, if not the top performing radio formats for years. For country music fans, it will certainly be exciting to see how the genre continues to change and grow in 2019. Brantley Gilbert was right in saying that “Country Must Be Country Wide.”
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