Country Life Without Taylor ... And Drunks Aplenty
December 5, 2014
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville
What will the bean counters say about the 2014 year of Country music?
When the physical sales are counted, minus the sales of Taylor Swift , the story will certainly be mixed. The concert business makes up for a lot of the shortcomings in CD sales.
The 2015 concert lineup for Country is set to be the biggest in history --18 headlining Country tours, each with two opening acts. That's a deep talent pool. Several of these tours feature stadiums. The inaugural NY Country festival, Garth Brooks' juggernaut and the return of Chesney will keep the money machine in prime shape.
There is some worry of too many headline tours, but what a nice problem for the Country industry to have! The streamers will keep on taking advantage of their initial sweetheart deals. The PR people for songwriters will kick the publicity up a notch. The labels are making money that may or may not offset poor physical sales. The focus needs to be on the songwriters! It's the songwriters who live and die on the rate collected. The singers can go play concerts. The songwriters are stuck with this deal. .0004 a play is not a real rate.
The split in Country radio with the non-Bro Country music lineup formats will have some effect but it's all too early to predict.
The content of "Bro" Country will evolve in 2015 ... You would think those acts will grow up and evolve. Most if not all now are married men and I'm not sure how their current content will fly with their lifestyle.
With Taylor gone from Country, the teen Country format will be tested. . Taylor's decision seems to be a grand slam!
The teen Country format is a fascinating phenomenon. The drink and party 24/7 themes seem almost like parodies. The artists have already started to back off ... Every hit song can't be about drinking and driving.
The "Bros" will keep pushing the limit in video and George Strait is not going to sound right next to all them anymore that he did this year. Can the industry award shows keep being all things to all Country people? That will be a huge challenge. The CMA show did it, so who knows.
The ACM awards show in 2015 will be a huge Texas stadium show. It sounds like the ACMs will salute many of the artists with past hits. "Bro" may get pushed aside for more classic material.
It is a great time to be a fan. Great time to be in business with Country music. The music is fun and exciting to listen to.
The world of pop is very bubblegum as the year ends. Country is still the go to format for adults and even the young. It has been a strong year for Country.
The drunken fan problem remains. People died at Country shows this year and the industry was silent. It is shameful! Someone in leadership has to set some standards for fan behavior and booze consumption. Look at what is happening right now in the Greek system in the Virginias. There have been sexual assaults too at Country shows ... the Boston area, to name one. The overconsumption of liquor is a problem. Who is going to step up and curb the drunks?
I hope someone but I would say 10% chance. Too much money to be made and not enough social responsibility! I pray I am very wrong.