Image courtesy of Raúl Nájera.
In February 2022, Chartmetric Founder/CEO Sung Cho presented the below slide deck to the Country Radio Seminar (CRS) crowd in Nashville, Tennessee. Gathered there were industry executives attending "a three-day educational event, which gathers key business leaders in various radio and music industry fields, featuring presentations on best business practices, emerging technology, personal career development, and new music showcases."
Here, Chartmetric had a chance to snapshot what the US country music scene looked like, by the numbers, across several platforms. We've covered Spotify's Hot Country playlist, the Country Music Association Awards, and Black female Country artists on our blog before, but what's great about a high-level summary is we get to examine the state of the genre as a whole.
Slide 2: In "Country music non-unique listeners by city," we look at Country artists on Spotify through their Monthly Listeners (MLs). By grouping 15K+ Country artists together and organizing their MLs by city, we are able to look at the cities where Country music has the best reach. While Nashville might be the expected No. 1, it's really a numbers game by population: Dallas (No. 1 at 33M), Atlanta (No. 2 at 25M), and Chicago (No. 3 at 25M) are the Top 3. Note: These are "non-unique" MLs, which means that one individual user who listens to Darius Rucker and Kelsea Ballerini will be counted as two MLs.
Slide 3: In "Top audience brand affinities and interests," we're able to group by which brands Country fans on Instagram favor the most. Anyone familiar with US Country music jokes that it's all about beer and trucks.... Well, the data supports that! In the Top 20 brands across Instagram Country artist followers, we see eight automobile and motorbike brands, from Chevrolet to Toyota. Busch and Coors show up as the only two beer brands, but "Beer, Wine & Spirits" shows up as the No. 2 top interest.
Slide 5: In "Country music audience by age and gender," we have an aggregation of YouTube Country music listeners. Unsurprisingly, we see a large number of young fans aged 18-24 (always a key age demographic in the music industry). Interestingly, there appears to be a majority female audience on YouTube: at 52 percent, women slightly edge out men on the platform. Note: This dataset only features binary genders.
Slide 6: In "Pandora and Spotify genre streams," we're looking at aggregated streams on both streaming platforms (comprehensively for Pandora; Spotify data here is limited to recent top tracks per artist). The idea with these pie charts is to understand how much streaming consumption is happening with Country music, relative to other genres. As Country has performed well on Pandora, we see Pandora edging out Spotify for Country consumption (8 percent of total stream count vs. 4.5 percent on Spotify). Interestingly, Country is the sixth most streamed genre on both platforms.
Slide 7: On "Top 15 US Country artists on Amazon Music," we examine another streaming platform that country performs well on — this time, through chart appearances. When we say "appearances," it's the number of times an artist appears on an Amazon Music chart. Here, we've focused on artists who have ever been tagged as Country, and so we see a diverse list from Taylor Swift to Johnny Cash.
Slide 8: In "Global consumption of Country music," we see cities you might not expect, from Montreal to Mexico City. By country, there's no question where the genre resonates the most by YouTube streams: the US at 62 percent.
Slide 9: In "Pronouns & Gender," the pie charts are derived from our data-driven equity initiative, Make Music Equal. In it, we find ways to designate self-chosen pronouns, so users can understand how to balance rosters, festival lineups, and more. When applied to our Country-tagged artists, 50 percent of them self-identify as "he/him," which is slightly more even than the entire set (53 percent as "he/him"). While that sounds equitable, the other halves are shared with "they/them," meaning "she/her" identifying artists are less than 25 percent of both datasets.
Hopefully, a snapshot for any genre from this level can help provide a "health check" for how the genre is performing relative to others, as well as an understanding of who and where a genre's listeners are. Music data is so much more than checking which artist is No. 1. When you look across platforms, you learn what the true aggregate effect of music really is.