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Country Music Consumption Up 20% So Far This Year.

Not only is the country format performing well in Nielsen PPM markets – increasing 0.7 from January to May 2023 in total 6+ audience (6.0-6.7) – the genre’s overall consumption has increased 20% year-over-year. The format can thank Morgan Wallen for the reinvigorated interest as the “Last Night” singer accounts for 40% of that growth, Billboard reports.

Propelled by Wallen, country music consumption in the U.S. is up 20.3% year-over-year in the first 26 weeks of 2023, according to data from Luminate. The increase is leaps and bounds above the 2.5% growth the genre experienced over the same period last year. Billboard says one out of every 10 country songs streamed so far this year has been by Wallen.

Through week 26, Wallen has moved 4.9 million equivalent album units (EAUs), representing 10.4% of all country consumption. Billboard notes that EAUs combine album sales with track sales and streams converted into equivalent album units.

Wallen’s dominance is enhanced by a new crop of country artists including Zach Bryan, Bailey Zimmerman, Jelly Roll, and Nate Smith that are bringing listeners to the format. Wallen and Luke Combs, along with Bryan and Zimmerman, account for 69% of country music’s year-to-date consumption growth.

Total country consumption through the tracking week ended June 29 was 46.7 million EAUs, which is around 7.9 million EAUs higher than the same 26-week period in 2022.

Billboard says the massive streaming numbers country artists accounted for so far this year are leading the rise in consumption, but album sales also factor in. Album releases by Wallen, Combs, and Taylor Swift pushed the genre’s album sales up 0.1% year to date, compared to a 21.4% decline in the prior-year period. Billboard counts Taylor’s first four albums – both the originals and the Taylor’s Version remakes – as country.

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