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TOP STORIES ★ 2019 ★

The

YEAR and the DECADE in

MUSIC

LUKE

BRYAN

THE INTERVIEW

DECEMBER 2019

Capitol goes to 11! Label of the Year for 11 Consecutive Years! Label of the Decade!

THANK YOU Country Radio!


Can’t Nobody Tell Me Nothing C

Changing the Conversation, country music’s gender imbalance continued making ountry music managed to both celebrate its identity and experience an identity crisis headlines. Perhaps consequently, women took center stage at the 53rd CMA Awards, a this year, hitting the mainstream through genre-bending bangers, a genre-probing show boasting three female hosts, an all-female opening number and a collaboration documentary and a continuance of the gender equality conversation. While questioning whether songs and artists are “country enough” is nothing of women representing “the future of country music,” as Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild said. Jennifer Nettles’ fashion statement at those very awards summarized new – see Bro Country, the Nashville Sound and the Urban Cowboy movement sentiments, donning a cape with the words “Play our f*@#!in records, – the need to define who does and doesn’t fit the format reached please & thank you” and “Equal Play” penned across it. a fever pitch. Lil Nas X’s viral hit “Old Town Road” entered public THE YEAR’S Contemplation on the current state and future of the genre consciousness at the end of 2018, a time when the Yeehaw Agenda was paired with reflection of its past following the release of Ken was manifesting through cowboy memes on Twitter and Tik Tok’s Burns’ eight-episode Country Music documentary in September. #yeehawchallenge. Rather than following the typical song trajectory, Through an extensive oral history told by many of the people who “Old Town Road” bypassed industry gatekeepers, ascending STORIES shaped it, Burns weaved a narrative chronicling the origins of consumption charts and winning awards, including most recently “hillbilly music,” exploring its early influences of gospel, blues and CMA Musical Event of the Year, without significant Country radio ballads to the beginnings and eventual skyrocketing of its mainstream popularity. play. On the heels of “Old Town Road” came the release of another viral hit A central thread discovered running through the decades that comprise the challenging the constraints of radio-focused country tracks, Blanco Brown’s tapestry of the genre is the persistent desire to answer, “What is country music?” “The Git Up.” The “trailertrap” dance phenomenon further blended elements “Country music has something for everybody, and it’s inside the song, it’s inside of what some see as contrasting genres: country and hip hop. Setting it apart, the characters,” mused Marty Stuart in the finale episode. “It’s really colorful in “The Git Up” is being promoted through the very avenues “Old Town Road” here. I invite you in.” never traversed and has seen moderate radio success because of it.

TOP

SLIDE IN THE DIGITS

Difficult as the “what is country?” question may be, the “how is country?” query is no easier. For instance, Country radio ratings continued years of decline (see graph). In fact, Nielsen Audio’s Jon Miller says, “2019 saw the lowest 6+ share and 25-54 share for Country since the advent of PPM measurement in 2011. Among persons 18-34, 2019 was the second lowest share for the format (with 2011 being the lowest).” In the record business, country music’s market share (total consumption) fell from 2018’s 7.5% to 7.3%. Further, when isolating on current country releases to better reflect the health of Nashville’s frontline labels, country consumption is down 2% against an overall industry gain of 11.9% YTD. On the plus side, that’s much better than the 13.4% decline country posted at this time last year. Concurrent (and debatably causal?) to the above noted declines are record setting lows in exposing music on Country radio. This year saw the lowest number of songs hitting the top 50 in more than 30 years (see page 33). Only 68 songs reached the top 15, also a record low, and only five country artists celebrated their first top 15 single in 2019. Related or not, flipping those indicators the other way would be a great way to start the next decade.

8.2% 2017

8.2%

2015

7.9%

2016

7.4%

7.5% 7.3% 2018

2019 Source: Sony/Nashville

COUNTRY PPM SHARE IN DECLINE 2014

COUNTRY SHARE OF RECORDED MUSIC

With overall radio listening in decline, Country ’s share of that listening is also down – at least in PPM (top 50) markets.

2017

7.6%

2018

7.3%

2019

6.7%

Source: Nielsen Audio. Country/New Country combined share for persons 6+, full week Mon-Sun 6a-Mid across Nielsen PPM markets. January to November average.

PAGE 3 • DECEMBER 2019


REMEMBER WHEN TOP THE DECADE’S

STORIES

PACKED REAR VIEW F

rom crossing the street to crossing formats, shutting it down to starting it all back up, 2019 brought a myriad of shifts and changes. Here are just a few of the major doings: Smack in the middle of CRS 50’s opening ceremony, Entercom and Cumulus announced a swap sending WNSH/New York and two stations in Springfield, MA to Entercom in exchange for its three-station Indianapolis cluster. Cumulus also made headlines when EVP/ Content & Programming Mike McVay stepped down in May. Media vet Brian Philips joined the company as EVP/Content & Audience, and McVay segued into fulltime work with his own McVay Media consultancy. Academy of Country Music CEO Pete Fisher departed after more than two years and ACM Awards Exec. Producer RAC Clark took the reigns on an interim basis. Long-tenured Grand Ole Opr y SVP/Programming & Artists THE YEAR’S Relations Sally Williams jumped to Live Nation as Pres./Nashville Music & Business Strategy. STORIES In June, Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings purchased Big Machine Label Group for a reported $300 million. BMLG Pres./CEO Scott Borchetta remains with the company in the same role and acquired a minority interest in Ithaca as part of the purchase. July saw Envision Country KNTY/Sacramento flip to Spanish, leaving a single Country outlet in the market that just a year earlier boasted three. Flipping into the format, however, were four new PDs of note: KNCI/Sacramento’s Joey Tack, WKKT/Charlotte’s Chuck “DZL” Thompson, KVOO/Tulsa’s Dena Fletcher and WIVK/Knoxville’s Rich Bailey. Retired KBEQ/Kansas City PD and Countr y Radio Hall of Famer Mike Kennedy broke out his saddle and rode to crosstown competitor Entercom WDAF to take the helm as PD. Also pulling headphones out of a drawer was Warner/ WMN Dir./National Radio & Streaming Promotion Katie Bright, who returned to radio in a major (market) way as Entercom WUSN/Chicago morning co-host. Long tenured label departures included WMN Dir./West Coast Radio & Streaming Promotion Rick Young and MCA Sr. Dir./West Coast Promotion Louie Newman, who wrapped more than 43 years in the industry. Finally, as the year wound down, so did Cold River, whose Founder Pete O’Heeron moved to focusing on his biologics company.

2010

2010

Nashville rebuilds following historic flooding.

Lyric Street shutters

Joe Galante departs Sony/ Nashville. 2012

2011

The rise of country music on television is led by Nashville, The Voice and American Idol 2013

2011 Cumulus purchases Citadel.

UMG/Nashville acquires EMI Nashville.

2013

“Nash” brand launches.

TOP

2010

2015 Voltair leads to questions surrounding PPM encoding.

2014 Garth leaves retirement, Taylor leaves country and George leaves tour promoters.

Bobby Bones rides into the format. 2015 Bro-mance backlash begins.

2014

2014

Clear Channel rebrands as iHeartMedia.

TomatoGate 2015

2016

Clay Hunnicutt leaves radio and is succeeded by Rod Phillips at iHeart; Mary Berner joins Cumulus; Randy Goodman succeeds Gary Overton at Sony/Nashville. 2018

2016

Country PPM shares begin decline.

2017

Country Aircheck celebrates 10 years.

2017

2017

Entercom buys CBS Radio. One October

iHeartMedia files for and Cumulus emerges from Chapter 11.

BMG obtains BBR Music Group.

T

he day after the CMA Awards, the life of Bob Kingsley was celebrated in the CMA Theater by friends and colleagues. Actually, that last phrase is redundant. As was evident in the way he was spoken about that day – if you worked, knew or listened to Bob, he was a friend. As emcee and CRB Exec. Dir. RJ Curtis said, “If you have a problem with Bob Kingsley, well, that’s a you problem.” As much as he accomplished with American Country Countdown and Country Top 40, as passionate as he was about storytelling and songwriters, it was Bob Kingsley the person who earned the greatest celebration. Country music and Country radio never had a better friend.

I N

M E M O R IAM

Paul Bottoms Harold Bradley Busbee Keith Case Dan Cheatham Jerry Chesnut Richard “Mike Lang” Cochrane Earl Thomas Conley Chuck Dauphin James Davidson Skip Davis Jim Ditenhafer Kenny Dixon Sherry Dollar John Lester Dougherty Dick Ellis Alton “Al” Embry Steve Ferguson

Brian Ferriman Fred Foster Jay Frank Phran Galante Jason Gellhause Jim Glaser Chuck Glaser Dick Gleason Howard Gloede William Hoffman Haydon Payne Ishmael Boomer Kingston Joe Mansfield Herb McCord Dan Mitchell Ralph Murphy Marita O’Donnell Gilbert “Gil” Poese

Volume 14, Issue 4, December 2019

914 18th Avenue, South Nashville, TN 37212 615-320-1450

PAGE 4 • DECEMBER 2019

Publisher/CEO Lon Helton lon@countryaircheck.com

Peter Puzo Dick Raymond Bruce Reese Steve Ripley Dave Robbins Maxine Brown Russell Mike Salois Bob Shannon Scott Simon Russell Smith Joseph A. (Joe) Soto Bo J. Spates Margaret “Maggie” Ann Lewis Warwick “Todd Stone” Willis Mac Wiseman Skip Woolwine Reggie Young

Bob Kingsley 1939-2019

VP/GM Chuck Aly chuck@countryaircheck.com

Radio Editor Monta Vaden monta@countryaircheck.com

Manager/Graphics & Administration Kelley Hampton kelley@countryaircheck.com

VP/Sales & Marketing April Johnson april@countryaircheck.com

Associate Editor Caitlin DeForest caitlin@countryaircheck.com

Coordinator/Graphics & Circulation Shelby Farrer shelby@countryaircheck.com

Art Direction Jerry Holthouse jerry@countryaircheck.com Additional Editorial Wendy Newcomer


“CRUISE”

# 5 FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE

“DIE A HAPPY MAN”

# 15 THOMAS RHETT # 18 ZAC BROWN BAND

“HOMEGROWN”

# 37 BRANTLEY GILBERT

“BOTTOMS UP” “MAY WE ALL”

# 42 FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE & T. MCGRAW

“EVEN IF IT BREAKS YOUR HEART”

# 49 ELI YOUNG BAND

“IT GOES LIKE THIS”

# 52 THOMAS RHETT

“IN CASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW”

# 53 BRETT YOUNG # 57 FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE

“GET YOUR SHINE ON”

# 64 FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE

“ROUND HERE” “CRAZY GIRL”

# 65 ELI YOUNG BAND # 70 THOMAS RHETT

“UNFORGETTABLE”

# 73 THOMAS RHETT

“T-SHIRT”

# 77 THOMAS RHETT

“GET ME SOME OF THAT”

# 78 FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE # 96 BRANTLEY GILBERT # 97 RASCAL FLATTS

17%

OF THE TOP 100 IN THE DECADE

“THIS IS HOW WE ROLL”

“COUNTRY MUST BE COUNTRY WIDE” “I LIKE THE SOUND OF THAT”

17.8%

OF LABEL CHART SHARE FOR THE DECADE


FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE

SHERYL CROW

REBA McENTIRE

JUSTIN MOORE

MIDLAND

RASCAL FLATTS

RONNIE DUNN

THOMAS RHETT

BRANTLEY GILBERT

AARON LEWIS

LADY ANTEBELLUM

CARLY PEARCE

SUGARLAND

BRETT YOUNG

ELI YOUNG BAND

LAUREN JENKINS

RILEY GREEN

THE CADILLAC THREE

DANIELLE BRADBERY

NOAH SCHNACKY

PAYTON SMITH

AVENUE BEAT

TYLER RICH


COUNTRY WIDE

T

he 53rd CMA Awards served as a celebration of women in country music, past, present and future. Wins in key categories by newer faces and the recognition of Jenee Fleenor as the first female winner for Musician of the Year and Lil Nas X with Billy Ray Cyrus as Musical Event of the Year may also have signaled a change in tides. With a trio of female hosts in Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton; collaborative performances by legendary female artists; and spotlight songs from up-and-coming stars, the event cast a wide, welcoming net for those looking to make their mark in the format, while honoring the trailblazers who brought the music to the forefront throughout decades past.

WINNER CITY CMA BROADCAST WINNERS

WYCT/Pensacola, FL

SMALL MARKET STATION “This was a special year for WYCT, as we brought home an ACM Award for Personality of the Year, both the Service to America Award and Crystal Award from the NAB and CMA Station of the Year,” notes PD/ morning host Brent Lane. “What makes the CMA special is that it honors the work of our entire team, both on-air and off, as we are fortunate to have approximately 35 employees to serve our community. Owners Dave and Mary Hoxeng have created a station and a team where everyone pitches in to create an experience for our listeners. Finding out we were being honored with this award was the most professionally incredible feeling ever. It’s something you never imagine is WYCT’s Mary Hoxeng, Brent Lane, going to happen, but when it did, we Candy Cullerton and Dave Hoxeng were speechless. I was overwhelmed to have the opportunity to stand onstage and accept the CMA Award on behalf of our entire team, but I have to give a special shout-out to [on-air personalities] Candy Cullerton and Big Moose, who put time into culling the very best of our material every year for the submissions.”

WIVK/Knoxville, TN

MEDIUM MARKET STATION

Triple Crowns: 53rd CMA Awards hosts Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood and Dolly Parton (l-r). Girls Crush: (top photo) Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman and Karen Fairchild, Sara Evans, Terri Clark, Crystal Gayle, Jennifer Nettles, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Martina McBride, Gretchen Wilson, The Highwomen’s Amanda Shires and Maren Morris, Tanya Tucker and The Highwomen’s Brandi Carlile and Natalie Hemby (l-r) open the 53rd CMA Awards with a salute to women in country music.

“We sent our morning team, Tony [Randall] and Kris [Rochester], to Nashville to accept the award on behalf of the entire station,” says OM Jeff Jarnigan. “Seeing the entire staff’s pride in the hallways and witnessing their efforts being recognized by the CMA was an award in itself, but the trophy will serve as a lasting reminder of the commitment to be the best staff delivering quality radio each and every day. “WIVK has traditionally been deeply ingrained in the community, from work with Children’s Hospital and St. Jude to Coats for the Cold and dozens of other listener-focused events and promotions. As with every Tony Randall and station in today’s radio environment, Kris Rochester we are challenged to maximize our tool chest to deliver the best product and to be the best community partner possible. I was especially pleased with the teamwork shown to generate ideas helping to continue WIVK’s position as the leader in local partnerships that make life in East Tennessee special.”

PAGE 9 • DECEMBER 2019


“Magnificent. This is one of the greatest voices, male or female, in this or any other format.” —MUSIC ROW

trisha yearwood “EVERY GIRL IN THIS TOWN” — one of the BIGGEST FEMALE COUNTRY SINGLES of 2019 with over 200 million impressions and growing! TWO TOP 5 ALBUMS Every Girl — Top Country Album and Let’s Be Frank — Top Traditional Jazz Album CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED — Every Girl On Tour

“Yearwood’s vocals transcend genres. Whether she was singing American standards or her own hits, Yearwood’s vocal power was undeniable.” —Billboard 16th Season of EMMY AWARD WINNING, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen HOST of CMA Country Christmas TV APPEARANCES including Today, Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Live with Kelly & Ryan, and The Kelly Clarkson Show


COUNTRY WIDE

Heavy Medal: (top) BMI’s top songwriters are celebrated during the 67th Annual Country Awards Dinner. Seventh Heaven: (left) Pearl’s Garth Brooks breaks his own previously set record, picking up a seventh win for Entertainer of the Year.

WINNER CITY WSIX/Nashville

LARGE MARKET STATION “There’s an appreciation, acceptance and validation that comes with a CMA Award, and as a station WSIX’s Gator Harrison, family, I think the reassurance that Rod Phillips and Ryan the hours, sacrifice and sweat you McKiddy (l-r) put into trying to create something special and – hopefully – lasting gets recognition on any level is the encouragement and fuel you need to move forward,” explains SVP/Programming Gator Harrison. “I’m embarrassed to admit, but I’m a person of low self-esteem and low self-confidence. To now have programmed three radio stations that have been named CMA Station of the Year across small, medium and now large markets provides a small, still voice whispering in my ear, ‘I’ve got you. You’re gonna be okay.’ “As for the ceremony itself, I’ll say that I shook Willie Nelson’s hand and thanked him for country music. And, I pretty much blacked out after that moment.”

WIL/St. Louis

MAJOR MARKET STATION

Win There, Done That: Warner Music Nashville artists and executives celebrate multiple category wins following the 53rd CMA Awards.

“It was an amazing honor for my station to win this award two years ago, and it was extremely humbling to accept it once again this year,” says PD Danny Montana. “It starts with having last year’s CMA Major Market Personality of the Year winners Bud & Broadway on-air in the morning, and it is bolstered by having this year’s category nominees Mason & Remy in the afternoons. The combination of having these extremely talented shows creates many magical moments for our listeners across multiple platforms. This award is a wonderful acknowledgement of a fantastic team effort. “I always come away from CMA Awards WIL’s Danny week in Nashville with fond memories and Montana fun stories, but one that happened this year that I’ll be sharing with friends and family for years to come happened toward the end of the show. During a commercial break, as my wife and I were headed back to our seats, a lady turned around quickly with a full glass of wine and spilled it down my wife’s dress. Even with that mishap, it was a great night, and I was fortunate to celebrate my birthday the same night.”

Shane Collins, Tess Connell

Dr. Shane and Tess in the Morning, WPAP/Panama City, FL SMALL MARKET PERSONALITY

Party Of Thrive: Big Machine Label Group hosts their annual CMA Awards after party.

Velvet Hope: Kassi Ashton, Mike Dungan, Parker McCollum, Brandon Lay, Jordan Davis, Adam Hambrick, Clare Dunn (back, l-r); Cindy Mabe, Kylie Morgan and Travis Denning (front, l-r) at the UMG/Nashville after party.

PAGE 12 •DECEMBER 2019

TC: Deciding what to wear was tough, because I have never attended an awards show. I made the mistake of asking my mostly male colleagues, who had all attended before, and they informed me that pressed jeans and a blazer was the way to go. Luckily, I got some good advice and help from a local formalwear store, which pointed me in the direction of a Reba-as-Fancy-esque red gown. SC: I went with the Johnny Cash all-black look so we wouldn’t clash. TC: Our city was devastated by a Category 5 hurricane last year, so to be recognized and tell our listeners and broadcast family that we are bringing this award home for this was one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my career. SC: I said from the beginning that if we won, all the credit goes to God and our loyal listeners in Panama City and Northwest Florida. May we never have to endure another storm like Hurricane Michael. TC: Right now, the trophy sits in the center of the kitchen island and will likely stay there for at least six months. Eventually, it’ll be on a display shelf in my study, but I’m seriously contemplating bringing it with me on my holiday travels. SC: I was thinking about mounting mine to the hood of my truck so I can see it as I drive to the station! But, seriously, my wife Jennifer has a decorative talent, and I’m certain she will place it in the perfect spot.


ANOTHER DECADE OF HITS!

SINCE 1811


WI N N E R C IT Y “Mo” Melissa Wagner, “StyckMan” Greg Owens

Mo & StyckMan, WUSY/Chattanooga, TN MEDIUM MARKET PERSONALITY

COUNTRY WIDE In Color: MCA’s Kacey Musgraves, two-time winner on the night, performs “Rainbow Connection” with Willie Nelson.

MW: We’ve been riding on cloud nine since [Capitol’s] Carrie Underwood called to let us know we’d won. The big celebration obviously happened at that amazing awards show where we were honored both on and off television, but after the show, we continued the celebration at the CMA After Party. GO: There is a special shelf at home that I cleaned off the evening Carrie called. I sent my mom and dad before and after pictures of the shelf when I got home with my trophy. MW: Being backstage with a bunch of radio friends yakking when Willie Nelson walked by and put a “hush” over a group of folks that talk for a living was special. A living legend and national treasure was in our presence, and we all knew it. GO: [MCA’s] Kacey Musgraves performing with Willie did the same for me. Also, because I love Kermit the Frog. MW: We also want to thank [SVP/Programming] Justin Cole, who was with us, for always being so encouraging and supportive of the Mo & StyckMan Show from the very beginning.

Mike Wheless, Janie Carothers Q Morning Crew, WQDR/Raleigh LARGE MARKET PERSONALITY

Cheer Never Broke My Heart: Lil Nas X, Old Dominion, Ryan Hurd, Maren Morris, Luke Combs and Chris Young wrap CMA Awards week with Sony/Nashville executives.

“Janie and I were both able to attend the show, and [PD] Mike ‘Mad Dawg’ Biddle also flew up to join us in celebrating our CMA award win and the station’s nomination,” states Wheless. “We celebrated with champagne and balloons in the studio for the whole staff – that champagne didn’t last very long! Janie and I were then able to take in the sights and enjoy various parties in Nashville during the CMA Awards week. “This particular award is special to us because of the changes our show and the station as a whole have experienced in the past 18 months, including the passing of our PD Lisa McKay and the departure of our longtime co-host Marty Young. We had to re-brand and adapt to become a different show, but our hard work apparently paid off. This trophy is going on the mantle at home to admire and to serve as inspiration while show prepping each night before work.”

Matt McAllister, Emily Raines, “Slow Joe” Wallace

The Morning Wolfpack with Matt McAllister, KKWF/Seattle MAJOR MARKET PERSONALITY

Well Red: The songwriters and publishers behind SESAC’s mostperformed country and Americana songs of 2019 were feted during the 2019 SESAC Nashville Music Awards. Ell, Yeah! BBRMG’s Jon Loba, Stoney Creek’s Lindsay Ell and Byron Kennedy and BBRMG’s Carson James (l-r) celebrate Ell’s collaboration with Brantley Gilbert, “What Happens In A Small Town,” reaching No. 1 during the annual BMG/BBR CMA Pre-Party.

Danson In The Dark: Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen present EMI Nashville’s Brothers Osborne with the ASCAP Vanguard Award during the 2019 ASCAP Country Music Awards. Pictured (l-r) are Danson, TJ Osborne, Steenburgen and John Osborne.

PAGE 14 •DECEMBER 2019

“Our entire team got to go to Nashville to accept the award, which was exciting for everyone ... but especially for Emily, who had never been to Nashville despite being born and raised in Georgia,” explains McAllister. “We all spent a little money on some fresh duds for the big night ... especially my wife! We’re a pretty low-key bunch these days when it comes to partying, but I took everyone out to dinner in Nashville when we arrived to celebrate. We ate at Santo, which was recommended by [Triple Tigers’] Russell Dickerson, so I got to name drop when I made the reservation. “Winning a CMA award is always special, but this time around has a much deeper KKWF’s Emily Raines, meaning for me personally, after having to Matt McAllister and start all over professionally two years ago. “Slow Joe” Wallace Plus, the people that I work with now at KKWF are the most supportive and creative people I’ve ever been around, so it means so much that we got to represent them all in Nashville at Country Music’s Biggest Night.”

Bobby Bones, Amy Brown, “Lunchbox” Dan Chappell, Eddie Garcia The Bobby Bones Show, Premiere Networks NATIONAL PERSONALITY

“We couldn’t celebrate much the night of the awards because we had to be up early the next morning for our show,” notes Bones. “So, a couple weeks later, everyone came to my house for an end-of-the-year/post-CMA Awards win celebration. It means a lot to be recognized for our work, and there are so many people who help make this show a success that it’s pretty special to be able to celebrate this win with all of them. “Seeing so many friends throughout the week and being able to take a minute to celebrate everyone’s wins and successes was a highlight. The show was incredible, and there were so many stand-out moments and performances. I mean ... Reba! Come on! And, a lot of people don’t know this about me, but I have a really “Lunchbox” Dan Chappell, strong neck, so I’m making the trophy Bobby Bones, Amy Brown into a necklace so that I can wear it and Eddie Garcia every day.” CAC


JIMMIE ALLEN – BEST SHOT, MAKE ME WANT TO • CARY BARLOWE – WHERE IT’S AT, IT DON’T HURT LIKE IT USED TO, RAISED ON COUNTRY • JARON BOYER – SOMEWHERE ON A BEACH, GIRL LIKE YOU • LEE BRICE – HARD TO LOVE, RUMOR • CASEY BROWN – EVERY LITTLE THING • ZAC BROWN BAND – KNEE DEEP, HOMEGROWN, AS SHE’S WALKING AWAY, KEEP ME IN MIND, SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW • ALLISON VELTZ CRUZ – PRAYED FOR YOU • WYATT DURRETTE III – BEAUTIFUL CRAZY, EVEN THOUGH I’M LEAVING • BOB DYLAN – WAGON WHEEL • JUSTIN EBACH – HERE TONIGHT, GOOD GIRL, SINGLES YOU UP, FRIENDS DON’T • JOSH HOGE – I’M COMIN’ OVER, HANGIN’ ON • RAY WYLIE HUBBARD – DESPERATE MAN • JOSH LONDON – BEST SHOT • MATT MCGINN – WHAT IFS, HEAVEN • LANCE MILLER – DRINK TO THAT ALL

SESAC CONGRATULATES

NIGHT • SAMMY MITCHELL – ONE NUMBER AWAY • NIKO MOON – HOMEGROWN, SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW, BACK TO LIFE • JOE NICHOLS – GIMMIE THAT GIRL • TYLER RICH – THE DIFFERENCE • RUNAWAY JUNE – BUY MY OWN DRINKS • HILLARY SCOTT – NEED YOU NOW, DOWNTOWN, BARTENDER, JUST A KISS, WHAT IF I NEVER GET OVER YOU • KEIFER THOMPSON – ARE YOU GONNA KISS ME OR NOT • MICHAEL TYLER – SOMEWHERE ON A BEACH, GIRL LIKE YOU • ALYSA VANDERHEYM – TALK YOU OUT OF IT • KEVIN WELCH – MILLIONAIRE • JUSTIN WILSON – DRUNK ME • JIMMIE ALLEN – BEST SHOT, MAKE ME WANT TO • CARY BARLOWE – WHERE IT’S AT, IT DON’T HURT LIKE IT USED TO, RAISED ON COUNTRY • JARON BOYER – SOMEWHERE ON A BEACH, GIRL LIKE YOU • LEE BRICE – HARD TO LOVE, RUMOR • CASEY BROWN – EVERY LITTLE THING • ZAC BROWN BAND – KNEE DEEP, HOMEGROWN, AS SHE’S WALKING AWAY, KEEP

ALL OF OUR WRITERS IN COUNTRY AIRCHECK'S TOP 100 OF 2019 & THE DECADE

ME IN MIND, SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW • ALLISON VELTZ CRUZ – PRAYED FOR YOU • WYATT DURRETTE III – BEAUTIFUL CRAZY, EVEN THOUGH I’M LEAVING • BOB DYLAN – WAGON WHEEL • JUSTIN EBACH – HERE TONIGHT, GOOD GIRL, SINGLES YOU UP, FRIENDS DON’T • JOSH HOGE – I’M COMIN’ OVER, HANGIN’ ON • RAY WYLIE HUBBARD – DESPERATE MAN • JOSH LONDON – BEST SHOT • MATT MCGINN – WHAT IFS, HEAVEN • LANCE MILLER – DRINK TO THAT ALL NIGHT • SAMMY MITCHELL – ONE NUMBER AWAY • NIKO MOON – HOMEGROWN, SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW, BACK TO LIFE • JOE NICHOLS – GIMMIE THAT GIRL • TYLER RICH – THE DIFFERENCE • RUNAWAY JUNE – BUY MY OWN DRINKS • HILLARY SCOTT – NEED YOU NOW, DOWNTOWN, BARTENDER, JUST A KISS, WHAT IF I NEVER GET OVER YOU • KEIFER THOMPSON – ARE YOU GONNA KISS ME OR NOT • MICHAEL TYLER – SOMEWHERE ON A BEACH, GIRL LIKE YOU • ALYSA VANDERHEYM – TALK YOU OUT OF IT • KEVIN WELCH – MILLIONAIRE • JUSTIN WILSON – DRUNK ME • JIMMIE ALLEN – BEST SHOT, MAKE ME WANT TO • CARY BARLOWE – WHERE IT’S AT, IT DON’T HURT LIKE IT USED TO, RAISED ON COUNTRY • JARON BOYER – SOMEWHERE ON A BEACH, GIRL LIKE YOU • LEE BRICE – HARD TO LOVE, RUMOR • CASEY BROWN – EVERY LITTLE THING • ZAC BROWN BAND – KNEE DEEP, HOMEGROWN, AS SHE’S WALKING AWAY, KEEP ME IN MIND, SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW • ALLISON VELTZ CRUZ – PRAYED FOR YOU • WYATT DURRETTE III – BEAUTIFUL CRAZY, EVEN THOUGH I’M LEAVING • BOB DYLAN – WAGON WHEEL • JUSTIN EBACH – HERE TONIGHT, GOOD GIRL, SINGLES YOU UP, FRIENDS DON’T • JOSH HOGE – I’M COMIN’ OVER, HANGIN’ ON • RAY WYLIE HUBBARD – DESPERATE MAN • JOSH LONDON – BEST SHOT • MATT MCGINN – WHAT IFS, HEAVEN • LANCE MILLER – DRINK TO THAT ALL NIGHT • SAMMY MITCHELL – ONE NUMBER AWAY • NIKO MOON – HOMEGROWN, SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW, BACK TO LIFE • JOE NICHOLS – GIMMIE THAT GIRL • TYLER RICH – THE DIFFERENCE • RUNAWAY JUNE – BUY MY OWN DRINKS • HILLARY SCOTT – NEED YOU NOW, DOWNTOWN, BARTENDER, JUST A KISS, WHAT IF I NEVER GET OVER YOU • KEIFER THOMPSON – ARE YOU GONNA KISS ME OR NOT • MICHAEL TYLER – SOMEWHERE ON A BEACH, GIRL LIKE YOU • ALYSA VANDERHEYM – TALK


CO N G R AT U L AT I O N S,

ON BEING NAMED

Top Female Artist of the Year AND

Top Female Artist of the Decade!

is the follow-up to Carrie’s recent #1 hit, “Southbound,” which makes its way onto the list of Top 100 Songs of the Year at #48.

Capitol Records Nashville; © 2019 UMG Recordings, Inc.


A

fter three straight years at No. 2, Capitol/Nashville took its first chart share crown in 2009 and has held on ever since. The 2019 Label of the Year survived its biggest challenge yet from the Luke Combs-fueled Columbia team, taking the title by two-tenths of a point. For the decade, however, it wasn’t even close. From 2010 through this year, Capitol amassed an astounding 15% of all airplay, 18 of the decade’s top 100 songs and the top male and overall artist in Luke Bryan. Capitol boasts three of the top 15 overall artists – Bryan, Keith Urban and Dierks Bentley – with three additional partials – Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum and Eric Church. The former ended the decade on Capitol; the latter two switched to other labels midstream. In honor of the label’s incredible history with hit songs, Country Aircheck pulled some of the greatest “hits” from the 10 prior Label of the Year articles for this retrospective. • 2009: “We are drawn to a diverse roster,” said thenPresident/CEO Mike Dungan. “One artist is dramatically different from the other. There’s nobody on this roster that competes with anybody else on this roster. And in our promotion staff, we have the same kind of personalities.” • 2010: “Lady A’s ‘Need You Now’ is a once-every-I-don’tknow-how-often kind of single that just slays and stays,” Dungan said. “And stay it did – No. 1 for five weeks, to be exact. Which is all wonderful except for the fact that it completely overshadowed a monster single from Luke Bryan, [‘Do I’].” Added then-SVP Steve Hodges, “Looking around my office, I see three empty bottles of champagne that remind me of the Hodges’ Bottles Monday morning the entire office celebrated Luke’s first No. 1.” • 2011: “Back when we were traveling around to get the first album off the ground, it seemed like they wanted it as much as I do,” Darius Rucker said. “It’s cool to feel like it isn’t all on me. The thing I remember that told me a lot about Capitol really had nothing to do with me. We’d just started working on my first record, and they had Chris Cagle’s ‘What Kinda Gone’ out at the time. That record was on the charts for something like 51 weeks. Coming from the Pop world, where you have a two-month window and you’re done, seeing a label believe in a song that much was amazing. That kind of dedication really showed me what a great company they are.” • 2012: “[Then-Southeast rep] Bobby [Young] is incredibly passionate about music,” said WSKJ/Mobile PD Bill Black. “Reason being, as we have discussed many times, is he keeps having more children. His motivation to keep Capitol as the most successful label is mainly about having to work until he’s 97 just to keep them in diapers. The guy is a baby-making machine. He’s got grown kids and some little ones – I think he’s up to 37 kids at this point. So he’s got that extra commitment, otherwise he won’t be able to send them to college ... or reform school.”

• 2013: “This isn’t something Capitol has a patent on, but they definitely excel at top-down selflessness,” said then-UMGN VP Shane Allen, who helmed the Capitol team under Hodges prior to the EMI/Universal merger. “For five years, it has never been about Bobby Young anything other than a blue collar work ethic to do what needs to be done for the incredible artists we’ve been so fortunate to represent. Everyone shares in the successes and failures equally. That’s something Hodges said he expected of everyone, including himself, from day one. No egos allowed.” • 2015: “My first day at UMG, everyone in promotion dressed up ... but me!” recalled then-new VP/Promotion David Friedman. “Katie Dean wore a pants suit and called me ‘Casual Friday.’ After three hours of ice, I’m in Royce’s office when he calls Mike Krinik in and starts berating him for not returning a text at 5am. I buried my face in my cell phone and when I looked up, the entire promo team was staring at me through the window and started to laugh.” • 2016: “I’ve got one more big job in me, I’m ready to roll,” Young said of being asked to helm the team following Hodges’ departure. Added UMGN then-SVPP Royce Risser, “If you looked across Nashville at regionals who were ready to be a VP, he was the no-brainer. And he was on this staff, ready to go. He’s well respected by his artists and by the team. As a matter of fact, multiple people on the team jumped up and said it’s got to be Bobby. Easy pick.” • 2017: “Never let what you do define who you are,” Risser said in response to a question about the best advice he’d received. “What we do for our livelihood has a very sneaky way of becoming how we identify ourselves. It’s so easy to get into conversations with people outside of our industry who find us interesting because of our line of work. I can Royce Risser meet pretty much anyone and know the Country radio station in their market. It’s a very easy entry point into conversations. However, using it without caution can become dangerous. What happens when the job is over? Kind of scary, right? It’s a tough balance, but how great would it be to live and interact with people without having to reveal what you do, how much money you make, or who you know? It’s not entirely possible, but working toward that is healthy.” • 2018: “A staff that looks at the job at hand, puts their heads down and goes during a difficult year with headline tours, promoting to programmers, working the charts and setting up Adam Hambrick,” Young said when asked what’s best about Capitol. “Some seven, eight and nine-day runs for this group. Amazing. Plus, a roster at the top of their game. The most talented, creative and engaged artists we couldn’t be prouder to represent.” CAC

Staff & UMGN Support: Shane Allen, Alisa Bowman, Rachel Dobson, Katie Dean, Mike Dungan*, Paige Elliott, David Friedman*, Jeremy Guenther, Matthew Hargis, Jimmy Harnen, Steve Hodges, Donna Hughes*, Brent Jones*, Mike Krinick, Ashley Laws*, Katelyn Lester*, Diane Lockner, Jason McColl, Royce Risser*, Annie Sandor*, Chris Schuler*, Mara Sidweber*, John Trapane, Sarah Beth Watson, Bobby Young*, *current Megan Youngblood*.

2019 CHART SHARE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Capitol Columbia Valory RCA Broken Bow WMN BMLGR Big Loud WAR Stoney Creek

10.5% 10.3% 8.7% 8.6% 7.6% 6.5% 5.7% 5.1% 4.5% 4.4%

DECADE CHART SHARE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Capitol WMN RCA BMLGR Broken Bow Arista Valory MCA Columbia Big Machine Mercury WAR Curb EMI Nashville Stoney Creek

15.0% 7.9% 7.7% 7.3% 6.0% 5.9% 5.8% 5.4% 5.3% 4.7% 4.4% 3.8% 3.3% 3.0% 2.7%

CAPITOL ARTISTS Trace Adkins, Adam Hambrick*, Dierks Bentley*, Luke Bryan*, Eric Church, Mickey Guyton*, Caylee Hammack*, Walker Hayes, Hootie and the Blowfish*, Joey Hyde, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town*, Jon Pardi*, Darius Rucker*, Carrie Underwood*, Keith Urban*, Emily West. *current roster

PAGE 19 • DECEMBER 2019


THANK YOU COUNTRY RADIO FO R

YO U R

S U P P O RT

O F

SONY MUSIC NASHVILLE IN 2019! 2 IMPRINTS

I N

T H E

TOP 5 LABEL SHARE

COLUMBIA NASHVILLE | RCA NASHVILLE #1 MOST HEARD SONG

A N D

3 SONGS IN THE TOP 10

LUKE COMBS “BEAUTIFUL CRAZY” LUKE COMBS “SHE GOT THE BEST OF ME” OLD DOMINION “MAKE IT SWEET”

#1 OVERALL MVP

A N D

3 ARTISTS IN THE TOP 10

LUKE COMBS | KANE BROWN | OLD DOMINION #1 MOST HEARD MALE

A N D

3 ARTISTS IN THE TOP 10

LUKE COMBS | KANE BROWN | CHRIS YOUNG 3 MOST HEARD FEMALE ARTISTS

I N

T H E

TOP 10

MAREN MORRIS | MIRANDA LAMBERT | TENILLE TOWNES 3 MOST HEARD NEW ARTISTS

I N

T H E

TOP 10

MATT STELL | MITCHELL TENPENNY | RYAN HURD

© 2 0 1 9 S O N Y M U S I C E N T E R TA I N M E N T


theYEAR in MUSIC

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

TOP 100 OF 2019

LUKE COMBS

Beautiful Crazy

River House/Columbia

MORGAN WALLEN

Whiskey Glasses

Big Loud

JASON ALDEAN

Girl Like You

Macon Music/Broken Bow

SCOTTY MCCREERY

This Is It

Triple Tigers

CHASE RICE

Eyes On You

Dack Janiels/Broken Bow

LUKE COMBS

She Got The Best Of Me

River House/Columbia

ELI YOUNG BAND

Love Ain't

Valory

JIMMIE ALLEN

Best Shot

Stoney Creek

OLD DOMINION

Make It Sweet

RCA

LEE BRICE

Rumor

Curb

KANE BROWN

Good As You

RCA

BRETT YOUNG

Here Tonight

BMLGR

JUSTIN MOORE

The Ones That Didn't...

Valory

THOMAS RHETT

Sixteen

Valory

DAN + SHAY

Speechless

Warner/WAR

JORDAN DAVIS

Take It From Me

MCA

DUSTIN LYNCH

Good Girl

Broken Bow

BRANTLEY GILBERT & LINDSAY ELL

What Happens In A...

Valory/Stoney Creek

RILEY GREEN

There Was This Girl

BMLGR

KELSEA BALLERINI

Miss Me More

Black River

MICHAEL RAY

One That Got Away

Warner/WEA

LUKE COMBS

Beer Never Broke My...

River House/Columbia

BLAKE SHELTON

God's Country

Warner/WMN

ERIC CHURCH

Some Of It

EMI Nashville

BRETT ELDREDGE

Love Someone

Warner/WMN

LUKE BRYAN

Knockin' Boots

Capitol

COLE SWINDELL

Love You Too Late

Warner/WMN

DAN + SHAY

All To Myself

Warner/WAR

JON PARDI

Night Shift

Capitol

LUKE BRYAN

What Makes You Country Capitol

JASON ALDEAN

Rearview Town

Macon Music/Broken Bow

CHRIS YOUNG

Raised On Country

RCA

CHRIS STAPLETON

Millionaire

Mercury

KANE BROWN

Lose It

RCA

CHRIS LANE

I Don't Know About You

Big Loud

RUSSELL DICKERSON

Every Little Thing

Triple Tigers

MAREN MORRIS

Girl

Columbia

RUNAWAY JUNE

Buy My Own Drinks

Wheelhouse

DIERKS BENTLEY

Living

Capitol

DIERKS BENTLEY f/BROS. OSBORNE

Burning Man

Capitol

CODY JOHNSON

On My Way To You

CoJo/Warner/WMN

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE

Talk You Out Of It

BMLGR

MATT STELL

Prayed For You

Wide Open/Records/Arista

CHRIS JANSON

Good Vibes

Warner/WAR

THOMAS RHETT

Look What God Gave Her Valory

JAKE OWEN

Down To The Honkytonk

Big Loud

MIDLAND

Burn Out

Big Machine

CARRIE UNDERWOOD

Southbound

Capitol

KEITH URBAN

We Were

Capitol

CHRIS YOUNG

Hangin' On

RCA

51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

CARRIE UNDERWOOD

Love Wins

Capitol

RASCAL FLATTS

Back To Life

Big Machine

TIM MCGRAW

Thought About You

Columbia

MITCHELL TENPENNY

Drunk Me

Riser House/Columbia

LADY ANTEBELLUM

What If I Never Get...

BMLGR

KIP MOORE

Last Shot

MCA

KENNY CHESNEY

Tip Of My Tongue

Blue Chair/Warner/WEA

MORGAN EVANS

Day Drunk

Warner/WEA

JIMMIE ALLEN

Make Me Want To

Stoney Creek

OLD DOMINION

One Man Band

RCA

RODNEY ATKINS

Caught Up In The Country

Curb

THOMAS RHETT

Remember You Young

Valory

GEORGE STRAIT

Every Little Honky Tonk Bar MCA

GARTH BROOKS & BLAKE SHELTON Dive Bar

Pearl

MIDLAND

Mr. Lonely

Big Machine

CARLY PEARCE

Closer To You

Big Machine

DUSTIN LYNCH

Ridin' Roads

Broken Bow

MIRANDA LAMBERT

It All Comes Out In...

RCA

MAREN MORRIS

Rich

Columbia

JON PARDI

Heartache Medication

Capitol

HARDY

Rednecker

TVM/Big Loud

DYLAN SCOTT

Nothing To Do Town

Curb

LUKE COMBS

Even Though I'm Leaving

River House/Columbia

TYLER RICH

The Difference

Valory

KEITH URBAN

Never Comin Down

Capitol

RYAN HURD

To A T

RCA

JORDAN DAVIS

Slow Dance In A Parking...

MCA

TENILLE TOWNES

Somebody's Daughter

Columbia

BROTHERS OSBORNE

I Don't Remember Me ...

EMI Nashville

ZAC BROWN BAND

Someone I Used To Know ZB Collective/BMG/Wheelhouse

TRAVIS DENNING

After A Few

Mercury

LOCASH

Feels Like A Party

Wheelhouse

TRISHA YEARWOOD

Every Girl In This Town

Gwendolyn/Pearl

RANDY HOUSER f/HILLARY LINDSEY What Whiskey Does

Stoney Creek

TIM MCGRAW

Neon Church

Columbia

BLAKE SHELTON

Turnin' Me On

Warner/WMN

BRETT YOUNG

Catch

BMLGR

SCOTTY MCCREERY

In Between

Triple Tigers

INGRID ANDRESS

More Hearts Than Mine

Warner/WEA

BLAKE SHELTON f/TRACE ADKINS

Hell Right

Warner/WMN

LAUREN ALAINA

Ladies In The '90s

19/Mercury

KANE BROWN

Homesick

RCA

JASON ALDEAN

We Back

Macon Music/Broken Bow

CAYLEE HAMMACK

Family Tree

Capitol

ERIC CHURCH

Desperate Man

EMI Nashville

MADDIE & TAE

Friends Don't

Mercury

JAKE OWEN

Homemade

Big Loud

LOCASH

One Big Country Song

Wheelhouse

KACEY MUSGRAVES

Rainbow

MCA

KELSEA BALLERINI

Homecoming Queen?

Black River

PAGE 21 • DECEMBER 2019


DYLAN SCOTT

RODNEY ATKINS

LEE BRICE


JACKSON MICHELSON

FILMORE

2020. LET’S DO THIS.


TOP 15

s

2019 of

Peak Date

Wks. on Chart

1 (1)

2/4/19

14

3

1 (1)

8/26/19

27

31

15

11/11/19

9

93

Stoney Creek

1 (2)

11/26/18

4

8

Miss Me More Burning Man Living Rumor Lose It Good As You What Makes You Country Knockin’ Boots

Black River Capitol Capitol Curb RCA RCA Capitol Capitol

1 (1) 1 (1) 1 (1) 1 (1) 1 (1) 1 (1) 1 (1) 1 (2)

6/10/2019 1/28/2019 9/23/2019 7/1/2019 12/3/2018 5/28/2019 2/25/2019 9/16/2019

32 13 29 35 8 22 17 26

20 40 39 10 34 11 30 26

KENNY CHESNEY

Tip Of My Tongue

Blue Chair/Warner/WEA

7

11/11/2019

18

57

LUKE COMBS

She Got The Best Of Me

River House/Columbia

2*

11/19/2018

4

6

LUKE COMBS

Beautiful Crazy

River House/Columbia

1 (4)

4/1/2019

20

1

LUKE COMBS

Beer Never Broke My Heart

River House/Columbia

1 (2)

8/12/2019

16

22

LUKE COMBS

Even Though I’m Leaving

River House/Columbia

2

11/11/2019

10

73

ERIC CHURCH

Desperate Man

EMI Nashville

13

11/19/2018

7

95

ERIC CHURCH

Some Of It

EMI Nashville

1 (1)

7/22/2019

29

24

DAN + SHAY

Speechless

Warner/WAR

1 (2)

1/7/2019

10

15

DAN + SHAY

All To Myself

Warner/WAR

1 (1)

8/19/2019

27

28

DAN + SHAY & JUSTIN BIEBER

10,000 Hours

Warner/WAR

14

11/11/2019

6

--

JORDAN DAVIS

Take It From Me

MCA

1 (1)

3/4/2019

18

16

RUSSELL DICKERSON

Every Little Thing

Triple Tigers

1 (1)

11/4/2019

46

36

BRETT ELDREDGE

Love Someone

Warner/WMN

1 (1)

6/17/2019

33

25

ELI YOUNG BAND

Love Ain’t

Valory

1 (1)

5/20/2019

29

7

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE

Talk You Out Of It

BMLGR

8

8/12/2019

40

42

BRANTLEY GILBERT & LINDSAY ELL

What Happens In A Small Town

Valory/Stoney Creek

1 (1)

11/11/2019

46

18

RILEY GREEN

There Was This Girl

BMLGR

1 (1)

4/15/2019

24

19

SAM HUNT

Kinfolks

MCA

2/19/18

14

59

4/16/18

24

26

J

CHRIS JANSON CODY JOHNSON

Good Vibes On My Way To You

Warner/WAR CoJo/Warner/WMN

1 (1) 8

10/21/2019 6/3/2019

33 32

44 41

L

LADY ANTEBELLUM MIRANDA LAMBERT CHRIS LANE DUSTIN LYNCH DUSTIN LYNCH

What If I Never Get Over You It All Comes Out In The Wash I Don’t Know About You Good Girl Ridin’ Roads

BMLGR RCA Big Loud Broken Bow Broken Bow

9 11 1 (1) 1 (1) 10

11/11/2019 11/11/2019 9/30/2019 1/14/2019 11/11/2019

26 17 36 11 29

55 68 35 17 67

M

SCOTTY MCCREERY TIM MCGRAW MIDLAND JUSTIN MOORE KIP MOORE MAREN MORRIS MAREN MORRIS

This Is It Thought About You Burn Out The Ones That Didn’t Make It... Last Shot Rich Girl

Triple Tigers Columbia Big Machine Valory MCA Columbia Columbia

1 (2) 14 2 1 (1) 6 2 1 (1)

2/19/2019 11/4/2019 3/11/2019 9/3/2019 1/17/2019 11/26/2018 7/29/2019

16 38 19 39 9 4 30

4 53 47 13 56 69 37

OLD DOMINION

Make It Sweet

RCA

1 (1)

4/29/2019

26

9

OLD DOMINION

One Man Band

RCA

3

11/11/2019

21

60

JAKE OWEN

Down To The Honkytonk

Big Loud

6

4/1/2019

22

46

JON PARDI

Night Shift

Capitol

4

5/13/2019

28

29

JON PARDI

Heartache Medication

Capitol

8

11/11/2019

22

70

MICHAEL RAY

One That Got Away

Atlantic/WEA

1 (1)

4/8/2019

23

21

THOMAS RHETT

Sixteen

Valory

1 (1)

1/22/2019

12

14

THOMAS RHETT

Look What God Gave Her

Valory

1 (1)

6/24/2019

19

45

THOMAS RHETT

Remember You Young

Valory

62

CHASE RICE

Eyes On You

Dack Janiels/Broken Bow

RUNAWAY JUNE

Buy My Own Drinks

Wheelhouse

BLAKE SHELTON

Turnin’ Me On

BLAKE SHELTON

God’s Country

CHRIS STAPLETON

Millionaire

Mercury

MATT STELL

Prayed For You

COLE SWINDELL

A

B

C

D

Dan + Shay

theYEAR inMUSIC

E F G H

Riley Green

O P R Jason Aldean

S T U W Y Thomas Rhett

Artist

Title

Label

JASON ALDEAN

Girl Like You

Macon Music/Broken Bow

JASON ALDEAN

Rearview Town

Macon Music/Broken Bow

JASON ALDEAN

We Back

Macon Music/Broken Bow

JIMMIE ALLEN

Best Shot

KELSEA BALLERINI DIERKS BENTLEY f/BROS. OSBORNE DIERKS BENTLEY LEE BRICE KANE BROWN KANE BROWN LUKE BRYAN LUKE BRYAN

Peak Position (wks. at No.1)

12

2019 Rank

5

11/11/2019

17

1 (2)

5/13/2019

28

5

5

9/16/2019

45

38

Warner/WMN

8

11/19/2018

7

86

Warner/WMN

1 (2)

7/15/2019

18

23

2

3/25/2019

21

33

Wide Open/Records/GCE/Arista

1 (1)

10/14/2019

29

43

Love You Too Late

Warner/WMN

1 (1)

10/28/2019

48

27

MITCHELL TENPENNY

Drunk Me

Riser House/Columbia

1 (1)

12/10/2018

8

54

CARRIE UNDERWOOD

Love Wins

Capitol

10

4/22/2019

25

51

CARRIE UNDERWOOD

Southbound

Capitol

1 (1)

10/7/2019

25

48

KEITH URBAN

We Were

Capitol

6

11/11/2019

26

49

MORGAN WALLEN

Whiskey Glasses

Big Loud

1 (1)

6/3/2019

31

2

BRETT YOUNG

Here Tonight

BMLGR

1 (1)

4/22/2019

25

12

CHRIS YOUNG

Hangin’ On

RCA

5*

11/19/2018

2

50

CHRIS YOUNG

Raised On Country

RCA

5

8/19/2019

31

32

*Luke Combs was No. 1 10/29/18 and 11/5/18. *Chris Young was No. 1 11/12/18

PAGE 25 • DECEMBER 2019


kelsea ballerini

#4 most played female of the decade #3 most played female in 2019

over 2 billion streams to date #20

miss me more

song of 2019 | over 200 million streams

#100

homecoming queen?

song of 2019 | over 50 million streams

thank you country radio!


COMBS, CARRIE, DAN + SHAY LEAD 2019 COUNTRY AIRPLAY

Carrie Underwood

I

n just his third full year on the national music scene, Luke Combs tops Country Aircheck’s Overall and Male Top Performer categories in 2019. It has been a meteoric rise for Combs, who was CA’s Top New Artist and No. 10 Overall artist in 2017. Last year, he ranked No. 9 Overall and eighth on the list of men. During the 2019 chart year, Combs posted four Top 15 songs, all of which hit No. 1 at some point in their chart run. “Beautiful Crazy” – this year’s CMA Song of the Year – topped the chart for four weeks; “Beer Never Broke My Heart” was on top for two weeks in the current chart year, which ran Nov. 11, 2018-Nov. 9, 2019. “She Got The Best of Me” peaked in the 2018 chart year while “Even Though I’m Leaving” was No. 1 the first three weeks of the 2020 chart year. In addition to CMA Song, Combs also won the CMA crystal bullet as Male Vocalist and took home the ACM hat for Best New Male Artist. Carrie Underwood once again led the Women’s airplay category, narrowly edging 2017 and 2018 top female, Maren Morris. Underwood posted a No. 1 with “Southbound” and a Top 10 with “Love Wins.” This is the seventh time Underwood has been the most-heard female since hitting Country airwaves in 2005 after winning American Idol, also taking the crown in 2016, 2015, 2010, 2008, 2007 and 2006. Leading the Duo/Group category for the first time, and placing fifth overall, are ACM and CMA Duo of the Year, Dan + Shay. The pair notched No. 1s with “Speechless,” a two-week chart-topper, and “All To Myself.” Their collaboration with Justin Bieber, “10,000 Hours,” peaked at No. 14 during the 2019 chart year but is inside the top 10 at press time. The pair also took home ACM hardware for Single and Song with “Tequila.” Six artists charted a Top Riley Green tops the New Artist list on the strength 15 Country single for the of a No. 1 with “There Was This Girl” and the current first time during the 2019 Top 20, “I Wish Grandpas Never Died.” chart year, including a pair – Lindsay Ell and Justin Record Lows: A total of 143 songs made it into the Bieber – who were part of Top 50 in 2019 – six fewer than last year, 14 fewer than collaborations with Brantley 2017 and 17 under 2016 and 2015. This is the lowest Gilbert and Dan + Shay, number of songs hitting the Top 50 in a year in more respectively. That is down than 30 years of keeping track of this stat. from the 10 Top 15 First This year’s 143 charted songs came from 91 different Timers in 2018, eight in artists – 58 men with 100 songs, 17 women with 20 songs 2017 and nine in 2016. (including Lindsay Ell, who joined Brantley Gilbert on Three in this year’s group a No. 1 duet) and 16 duos/groups with 23 songs. That notched No. 1s – Gilbert and Ell’s “What Happens In compares to last year’s 149 songs from 92 different A Small Town,” Riley Green’s artists – 59 men with 99 songs, 14 women with 21 songs “There Was This Girl” and (including Faith Hill, who joined Tim McGraw on a Matt Stell’s “Prayed For You.” duet) and 19 duos/groups with 29 songs. In 2017, the 157-charted tunes were distributed JUSTIN BIEBER among 59 men with 107 songs, 14 women (including (Warner/WAR) Hill, who joined McGraw on a pair of charted duets) with 18 songs and 16 duos/groups with 32 songs. LINDSAY ELL Only 68 songs peaked in top 15 in 2019, also a (Stoney Creek) record low, forty-eight different artists contributed to those 68. The large number of artists contributing to RILEY GREEN the low number of songs suggests a considerable slowing (BMLGR) in the life of a song. This year’s number compares to last year’s 52 separate artists who contributed to the 77 CODY JOHNSON songs that peaked inside the Top 15. In 2017, Country (CoJo/Warner/WMN) had 49 artists generate 72 Top 15s and in 2016 there were 52 acts with 80 songs. RUNAWAY JUNE The 48 artists contributing 68 top 15s were 37 (Wheelhouse) men/52 songs, four women/six songs and seven duos or groups/10 songs. In 2018, the 52 artists with 77 Top 15s MATT STELL came from 39 men/58 songs, five women/seven songs (Wide Open/ and eight duos or groups/12 songs. In 2017, five women Records/GCE/Arista) had six Top 15s while in 2016 seven women placed 12 songs in the Top 15. In 2015, four women had seven tunes in that space. No. 1s, Top 100: Country churned out 40 No. 1 songs by 35 different artists in 2019. Luke Combs is the year’s No. 1 king, posting six weeks on the throne. He was the only artist with a four-week No. 1 with “Beautiful Crazy.” Combs is also among a group of seven acts – which includes Jimmie Allen, Luke Bryan, Dan + Shay, Scotty McCreery, Chase Rice and Blake Shelton – who had a two-week No. 1. Those seven artists accounted for 18 weeks of No. 1s. Twenty-seven men contributed 42 No. 1s over 42 weeks, four women had four charttoppers for four weeks and four duos/groups posted four No. 1s covering five weeks. This includes the No. 1 duet from Gilbert and Ell. In 2018, 40 No. 1 songs came from 31 different artists. Twenty-four men contributed 32 No. 1s over 40 weeks, three women had three chart-toppers for three weeks and four duos/groups posted five No. 1s covering seven weeks. The prior year saw 44 No. 1s by 33 different artists. Twenty-four men posted 33 No. 1s covering 38 weeks, three women counted for three No. 1s over three weeks, and six duos/ groups posted eight songs that spent nine weeks at No. 1. Contributing songs to this Number of Charted Songs year’s Top 100 were 46 men with 70 songs, 12 women with 15 songs (including the Gilbert/Ell duet), and 12 Duos/Groups with 16 songs. 196 175 172 169 160 160 157 149 143 Combs and Shelton each had four hits in the Top 100, while Jason Aldean, Kane 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Brown and Thomas Rhett each had a trio. As always, all of the airplay information within these pages Number of Songs Reaching Top 15 comes from our partners at Mediabase 24/7. All of these stats are based on singles that spent at least one week in the Top 50 during the 2019 chart 78 80 80 82 73 80 72 77 68 year, which ran Nov. 11, 2018Nov. 9, 2019.

TOP 15 FIRST TIMERS

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

theYEAR inMUSIC

Country Radio’s Top 2019 Performers OVERALL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

LUKE COMBS JASON ALDEAN THOMAS RHETT KANE BROWN DAN + SHAY LUKE BRYAN BLAKE SHELTON JIMMIE ALLEN DIERKS BENTLEY OLD DOMINION

River House/Columbia Macon Music/Broken Bow Valory RCA Warner/WAR Capitol Warner/WMN Stoney Creek Capitol RCA

MALE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

LUKE COMBS JASON ALDEAN THOMAS RHETT KANE BROWN LUKE BRYAN BLAKE SHELTON JIMMIE ALLEN DIERKS BENTLEY CHRIS YOUNG MORGAN WALLEN

River House/Columbia Macon Music/Broken Bow Valory RCA Capitol Warner/WMN Stoney Creek Capitol RCA Big Loud

FEMALE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

CARRIE UNDERWOOD MAREN MORRIS KELSEA BALLERINI LINDSAY ELL CARLY PEARCE MIRANDA LAMBERT TENILLE TOWNES TRISHA YEARWOOD INGRID ANDRESS LAUREN ALAINA

Capitol Columbia Black River Stoney Creek Big Machine RCA Columbia Gwendolyn/Pearl Warner/WEA 19/Mercury

DUO/GROUP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

DAN + SHAY OLD DOMINION ELI YOUNG BAND MIDLAND RUNAWAY JUNE FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE RASCAL FLATTS LADY ANTEBELLUM LOCASH BROS. OSBORNE

Warner/WAR RCA Valory Big Machine Wheelhouse BMLGR Big Machine BMLGR Wheelhouse EMI Nashville

NEW ARTIST 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

RILEY GREEN LINDSAY ELL RUNAWAY JUNE CODY JOHNSON MATT STELL MITCHELL TENPENNEY HARDY TYLER RICH TRAVIS DENNING RYAN HURD

BMLGR Stoney Creek Wheelhouse CoJo/Warner/WMN Wide Open/Records/GCE/Arista Riser House/Columbia TVM/Big Loud Valory Mercury RCA

PAGE 27 • DECEMBER 2019


X #7 MOST HEARD NEW ARTIST OF 2019 X NEW MUSIC IN 2020

X WHISKEY GLASSES: #2 MOST HEARD SONG OF 2019 X #10 MOST HEARD MALE ARTIST OF 2019 X CURRENT SINGLE CHASIN’ YOU TOP 25 CURRENT CONSUMPTION

X I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU #35 MOST HEARD SONG OF 2019 X BIG, BIG PLANS IMPACTING NOW


#1 MOST HEARD SONG OF THE DECADE “BAREFOOT BLUE JEAN NIGHT”


TOPD E100 CADE

t in

theDECADE

inMUSIC

OF THE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

JAKE OWEN

Barefoot Blue Jean Night

RCA

SAM HUNT

Body Like A Back Road

MCA

BLAKE SHELTON

Honey Bee

Warner Bros./WMN

THOMPSON SQUARE

Are You Gonna Kiss Me...

Stoney Creek

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE

Cruise

Republic Nashville

ERIC CHURCH

Springsteen

EMI Nashville

DARIUS RUCKER

Wagon Wheel

Capitol

ZAC BROWN BAND f/J. BUFFETT Knee Deep

So. Ground/Atlantic/BPG

ERIC CHURCH

Drink In My Hand

EMI Nashville

DUSTIN LYNCH

Small Town Boy

Broken Bow

LADY ANTEBELLUM

Need You Now

Capitol

RODNEY ATKINS

Take A Back Road

Curb

JASON ALDEAN

Dirt Road Anthem

Broken Bow

JOE NICHOLS

Gimmie That Girl

Show Dog-Universal

THOMAS RHETT

Die A Happy Man

Valory

JASON ALDEAN

My Kinda Party

Broken Bow

KIP MOORE

Somethin' 'Bout A Truck

MCA

ZAC BROWN BAND

Homegrown

So. Ground/Varvatos/BMLGR

SAM HUNT

Leave The Night On

MCA

MIRANDA LAMBERT

Mama's Broken Heart

RCA

LUKE BRYAN

I Don't Want This Night...

Capitol

JON PARDI

Dirt On My Boots

Capitol

BRETT ELDREDGE

Don't Ya

Atlantic/WMN

RANDY HOUSER

Runnin' Outta Moonlight

Stoney Creek

JASON ALDEAN

When She Says Baby

Broken Bow

DIERKS BENTLEY

Somewhere On A Beach

Capitol

CARRIE UNDERWOOD

Undo It

19/Arista

LOCASH

I Love This Life

Reviver/Star Farm

LADY ANTEBELLUM

Downtown

Capitol

BLAKE SHELTON

A Guy With A Girl

Warner Bros./WMN

LUKE BRYAN

Country Girl (Shake It For Me) Capitol

KENNY CHESNEY

American Kids

Blue Chair/Columbia

BLAKE SHELTON

Boys 'Round Here

Warner Bros./WMN

KANE BROWN f/L. ALAINA

What Ifs

RCA

RANDY HOUSER

How Country Feels

Stoney Creek

KANE BROWN

Heaven

RCA

BRANTLEY GILBERT

Bottoms Up

Valory

LADY ANTEBELLUM

Bartender

Capitol

ZAC BROWN BAND & A. JACKSON As She's Walking Away

So. Ground/Atlantic/BPG

DYLAN SCOTT

My Girl

Curb

CARRIE UNDERWOOD

Blown Away

19/Arista

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE & T. MCGRAW May We All

BMLGR

MIRANDA LAMBERT

The House That Built Me

Columbia

LUKE COMBS

Hurricane

River House/Columbia

DUSTIN LYNCH

Where It's At

Broken Bow

BROTHERS OSBORNE

Stay A Little Longer

EMI Nashville

BILLY CURRINGTON

Do I Make You Wanna

Mercury

BLAKE SHELTON

God Gave Me You

Warner Bros./WMN

ELI YOUNG BAND

Even If It Breaks Your...

Republic Nashville

CHRIS YOUNG

I'm Comin' Over

RCA

51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

LUKE BRYAN

Play It Again

Capitol

THOMAS RHETT

It Goes Like This

Valory

BRETT YOUNG

In Case You Didn't Know

BMLGR

LUKE BRYAN

Rain Is A Good Thing

Capitol

DIERKS BENTLEY

Drunk On A Plane

Capitol

LUKE BRYAN

Drunk On You

Capitol

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE

Get Your Shine On

Republic Nashville

BRETT ELDREDGE

Beat Of The Music

Atlantic/WMN

JOSH TURNER

Why Don't We Just Dance

MCA

LUKE BRYAN

That's My Kind Of Night

Capitol

KEITH URBAN

Long Hot Summer

Capitol

DARIUS RUCKER

Come Back Song

Capitol

JASON ALDEAN

Lights Come On

Broken Bow

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE

Round Here

Republic Nashville

ELI YOUNG BAND

Crazy Girl

Republic Nashville

SAM HUNT

Take Your Time

MCA

JASON ALDEAN

Crazy Town

Broken Bow

KENNY CHESNEY

Save It For A Rainy Day

Blue Chair/Columbia

LUKE COMBS

One Number Away

River House/Columbia

THOMAS RHETT

Unforgettable

Valory

JOSH TURNER

Hometown Girl

MCA

MIRANDA LAMBERT

White Liar

Columbia

THOMAS RHETT

T-Shirt

Valory

JORDAN DAVIS

Singles You Up

MCA

LUKE BRYAN

Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye

Capitol

BILLY CURRINGTON

It Don't Hurt Like It Used To

Mercury

THOMAS RHETT

Get Me Some Of That

Valory

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE

This Is How We Roll

Republic Nashville

JASON ALDEAN & K. CLARKSON Don't You Wanna Stay

Broken Bow

OLD DOMINION

Break Up With Him

RCA

LEE BRICE

Hard To Love

Curb

ZAC BROWN BAND

Keep Me In Mind

So. Ground/Atlantic/BPG

ERIC PASLAY

Friday Night

EMI Nashville

LUKE COMBS

When It Rains It Pours

River House/Columbia

JERROD NIEMANN

Drink To That All Night

SeaGayle/Arista

DAN + SHAY

Tequila

Warner Bros./WAR

BRETT ELDREDGE

Wanna Be That Song

Atlantic/WMN

LUKE BRYAN

Crash My Party

Capitol

BRETT ELDREDGE

Lose My Mind

Atlantic/WMN

DAVID NAIL

Whatever She's Got

MCA

LOVE AND THEFT

Angel Eyes

RCA

LUKE COMBS

She Got The Best Of Me

River House/Columbia

BLAKE SHELTON

All About Tonight

Reprise/WMN

LADY ANTEBELLUM

Just A Kiss

Capitol

RODNEY ATKINS

Farmer's Daughter

Curb

BRANTLEY GILBERT

Country Must Be Country...

Valory

RASCAL FLATTS

I Like The Sound Of That

Big Machine

COLE SWINDELL

Chillin' It

Warner/WMN

JAKE OWEN

The One That Got Away

RCA

JASON ALDEAN

Burnin' It Down

Broken Bow

PAGE 31 • DECEMBER 2019


CONGRATULATIONS, LUKE! MOST HEARD ARTIST OF THE DECADE

YOUR

FAMILY


BRYAN & “BAREFOOT” LEAD THE DECADE

theDECADE

inMUSIC

Luke Bryan

Top Artists Of The Decade OVERALL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

LUKE BRYAN JASON ALDEAN BLAKE SHELTON FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE KENNY CHESNEY CARRIE UNDERWOOD KEITH URBAN ZAC BROWN BAND THOMAS RHETT LADY ANTEBELLUM TIM MCGRAW CHRIS YOUNG DIERKS BENTLEY ERIC CHURCH MIRANDA LAMBERT

Jason Aldean

MALE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

LUKE BRYAN JASON ALDEAN BLAKE SHELTON KENNY CHESNEY KEITH URBAN THOMAS RHETT TIM MCGRAW CHRIS YOUNG DIERKS BENTLEY ERIC CHURCH BRAD PAISLEY JAKE OWEN BILLY CURRINGTON LEE BRICE BRETT ELDREDGE

Blake Shelton

FEMALE

L

uke Bryan is Country Aircheck’s Artist of the Decade and Jake Owen’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” is the No. 1 song of the last 10 years.

Bryan was the only artist to amass more than 19 million airplay points in the last 10 years, doing so on the strength of 27 songs hitting the Country Aircheck/Mediabase Top 50 weekly chart during that span, with eight placing in the decade’s Top 100. Bryan barely bested Jason Aldean for top honors, edging-out his fellow Georgian by fewer than 100,000 airplay points, an extremely narrow margin considering the decade generated more than 431 million airplay points. Aldean was the only artist to garner more than 18 million points. He had 25 songs hit the charts, with seven appearing in the decade’s Top 100. Blake Shelton charted more songs than any artist in the last 10 years with 30 Top 50s while also posting five hits in the Top 100. The most-heard female of the decade, Carrie Underwood, got more than 11.5 million points courtesy of 22 charted songs. Miranda Lambert was runner-up with 8.5 million points and 15 Top 50s. Top Duo/Group Florida Georgia Line tabbed 12.5 million points from 18 charted songs. The Zac Brown Band followed FGL by two million points from 19 Top 50s. Jake Owen’s“Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” written by Dylan Altman, Eric Paslay and Terry Sawchuk, led all songs with almost a half million plays and more than 1.5 million points. The top three songs were separated by only 19,000 points, with 100,000 points between Nos. 3 and 4. Forty-five different artists have songs in the Top 100, with five posting five or more tunes there. Those five, however, accounted for an amazing 30 of those mega-hits; Bryan had eight, Aldean seven, and, with five each were Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett and Shelton. If you’re wondering how the women fared, Underwood had two while second place Lambert had three in the Top 100. The breakdown of the 45 acts in the Top 100 were 32 men with 73 songs, two women with 5 songs and 11 Duos/Groups with 22 songs. A total of 1,243 songs got enough Country radio airplay to hit the weekly Top 50 in the last 10 years. Of those, 788 songs belonged to 146 different male artists, 204 came from 61 different women and 268-charted songs were performed by 66 duos or groups. Seventeen duets/collaborations featuring a man and a woman hit the top 50. Compiling 10 or more Top 50 hits over the last decade were 26 men, three women and eight duos or groups. As always, all data comes from Mediabase 24/7. The most-heard songs of the decade were determined by taking the stations and weights in the current 157-reporting station database and calculating the points for every play of every song that hit the Top 50 within that time frame. Special thanks to Mediabase’s Moses Araya for his help in tabulating all those points and plays.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

CARRIE UNDERWOOD MIRANDA LAMBERT TAYLOR SWIFT KELSEA BALLERINI MAREN MORRIS JANA KRAMER REBA MCENTIRE CASSADEE POPE LAUREN ALAINA CARLY PEARCE SARA EVANS CAM MARTINA MCBRIDE KACEY MUSGRAVES LINDSAY ELL

Carrie Underwood

DUO/GROUP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE ZAC BROWN BAND LADY ANTEBELLUM RASCAL FLATTS OLD DOMINION THE BAND PERRY DAN + SHAY LITTLE BIG TOWN ELI YOUNG BAND THOMPSON SQUARE LOCASH BROS. OSBORNE PARMALEE BIG & RICH MIDLAND

Florida Georgia Line

PAGE 33 • DECEMBER 2019


Labels Preview Q1 Releases

Adam Doleac Arista

Arista

The Arista team kicks things off with the debut single from Adam Doleac, as “Famous” officially impacts at Country radio. “We are extremely excited for you to meet Adam, if you haven’t already,” says VP/Promo Josh Easler. Matt Stell comes off his debut No. 1, “Prayed For You,” with “Everywhere But On,” which is out now as he embarks on his first headlining tour. Lanco is back with “What I See” and are hitting the road with Miranda Lambert in the spring. “Teddy Robb continues to make fans everywhere he goes as ‘Really Shouldn’t Drink Around You’ keeps growing and making new fans daily,” adds Easler.

Average Joes

Expect new releases in Q1 from Sam Grow, Colt Ford, Cypress Spring and Carter Winter, as well as a new album from Lenny Cooper. Additionally, a yet-to-beannounced new female artist will be joining the label early next year.

BBRMG/BMG

Digital breakout artist Blanco Brown will join Chris Lane on tour in early 2020. Meanwhile, keep your ears open for new solo music from the Georgia native as well as a few surprise country collaborations in the coming months.

Big Loud

Big Loud is celebrating its five-year anniversary in 2020. Already touting multiple No. 1s from Chris Lane, Jake Owen and Morgan Wallen, the label will start the year strong with a new single from Hardy in the first quarter — which follows his certified gold debut single, “Rednecker.” The label will continue to develop its class of 2020 featuring new artist signings Madison Kozak, Larry Fleet, Sean Stemaly and Ernest.

Big Machine

First up from “The Machine” will be Midland, impacting their second single from Let It Roll Jan. 20. The Cadillac Three will drop their fourth studio album, Country Fuzz, Feb. 7. A week later, Carly Pearce will release her sophomore self-titled album featuring the duet with Lee Brice, “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” on Valentine’s Day. The first quarter will also see the radio introduction of the newest addition to the roster, Payton Smith, who will be appearing at BMLG’s annual CRS Luncheon Feb. 21. Noah Schnacky, whose debut single “I’ll Be The One” continues to climb, will release his debut EP in the spring. Lainey Wilson Broken Bow

Black River

Kelsea Ballerini is readying her third album, which SVP/Promo Mike Wilson believes she “hit out of the park.” He adds, “She collaborated with a variety of new artists and writers, and it is going to knock your socks off when you hear it.” The label will have a few tracks online before the end of February. Wilson also expresses his appreciation to Country radio for making “Miss Me More” Ballerini’s fifth No. 1. Abby Anderson continues to write songs and grow as a writer and artist, and Wilson “can’t wait for folks to hear her music.”

BMLG Records

Coming off their BMLGR album debut, Ocean, Lady Antebellum’s current single “What If I Never Get Over You” is Top 5 and climbing. Brett Young continues his streak after five No. 1s and five platinum+ singles with “Catch” reaching the Top 20. “Catch” Young on his headlining Chapters Tour in the new year. “Due to overwhelming fan demand, Riley Green’s organically viral hit ‘I Wish Grandpas Never Died’ has already cracked the Top 25 as he continues to sell out venues

nationwide on his current headline tour,” says SVP/ Promo Matthew Hargis. Green hits the road with Jason Aldean in January. The newly crowned ACM Breakout Artist of the Decade, Florida Georgia Line, deliver their next single, “Blessings,” “with a message the world needs right now,” according to Hargis.

Broken Bow

Back at the top of the chart is ACM Artist of the Decade Jason Aldean with “We Back,” the first single from his newly released ninth studio album, 9. Dustin Lynch is “Ridin’ Roads” to the top with a new album coming Jan. 17 (Tullahoma). Chase Rice is enjoying his AM/PM Winter Tour, where the audience can be heard singing along to current single, “Lonely If You Are.” “We saw this same reaction with ‘Eyes On You,’ with both the live audience and the digital metrics,” says coVP/Promo Lee Adams. “Another hit!” Lainey Wilson’s debut, “Dirty Looks,” is getting attention, and Craig Morgan has returned to the label. “Craig Morgan is back home on BBR, and we are more than thrilled,” exclaims co-VP/Promo Shelley Hargis. “His heartfelt song, ‘The Father, My Son, And The Holy Ghost,’ spent three weeks at No. 1 on iTunes and continues to be Top 5 Consumption Per Spin.” Coming in February is new music from Tyler Farr. “Jason Aldean is producing Tyler’s album, and Tyler has never sounded better,” says Adams.

Capitol

Jon Pardi has momentum on “Heartache Medication,” projected to top the chart in early January, followed by a new single release in early February. Keith Urban’s “We Were” is peaking as the year ends, and a new release is expected no later than February with a new album in the second quarter. Luke Bryan’s “What She Wants Tonight” will be closing in on Top 10 to ring in 2020, and a new LP release will be on its heels. Country Aircheck’s Most Heard Female of 2019, Carrie Underwood, has the fourth track from her debut Capitol album Cry Pretty – “Drinking Alone” – closing in on Top 30. Capitol released Hootie & the Blowfish’s “Hold On” in October and the band’s Imperfect Circle LP shortly after, debuting at No. 2. “Hold On” continues to climb, already Top 40 heading into the new year. Little Big Town’s “Over Drinking” was recently released and is on more than 100 stations. It begins its chart climb into the new year to support a new tour and album launch in January. “We all know the potential when this band hits, and we feel we have one of those big ones with this track,” says VP/ Promo Bobby Young. Caylee Hammack’s debut single, “Family Tree,” was released this year, is Top 30 and steadily climbing the chart. “We’re very excited about getting Adam Hambrick’s second single released,” says Young. “‘Forever Ain’t Long Enough’ will be serviced in late February. This project stands on its own, and initial feedback from programmers is excellent.” There’s a strong possibility of new music from Dierks Bentley early in 2020, as is getting a single and album scheduled to follow up his No. 1, “Living.”

PAGE 35 • DECEMBER 2019


Payton Smith Big Machine

Columbia

Luke Combs enters the new year with his seventh consecutive No. 1, “Even Though I’m Leaving,” still in the Top 10 as he prepares to announce the title of his next single. Maren Morris’ “The Bones” continues to ascend the charts, while Tim McGraw will make a couple of major announcements alongside the release of his next single, the up-tempo “Way Down.” Fresh off of the Combs tour, Jameson Rodgers continues to put his name on the map with debut single “Some Girls.” Expect a major announcement from Tenille Townes to complement her new single, “Jersey On The Wall.” Mitchell Tenpenny takes “Anything She Says,” featuring Seaforth, into Q1 while extending the tour by the same name.

Curb

The label rolls into the new year with big plans for Lee Brice following his No. 1 “Rumor” and current duet with Carly Pearce, “I Hope You’re Happy Now.” The Curb team will be setting up Brice’s follow-up single, “One Of Them Girls,” which VP/Promo RJ Meacham describes as “a fun, up-tempo homage to the kind of woman every guy hopes to find, and every woman envisions herself to be. This song could be about that girl Lee ultimately gets in ‘Rumor.’” New signee Jackson Michelson, whose “Stay Over” impacted Dec. 9, will be continuing his radio tour. “When an artist connects so well with programmers, you just want to keep the party going and see as many people as you can,” shares Meacham. Country radio mainstay Rodney Atkins connects with current single “Thank God For You.” Adds Meacham, “It is an incredible feeling to see how Rodney still has a home for new music on the dial.” Singles will be released by Dylan Scott and Filmore, with Scott heading out on tour with Brantley Gilbert and Filmore with Lauren Alaina.

EMI Nashville

Next year will see a continuation of Eric Church and Jon Langston singles, in addition to the introduction of new music. There’s nothing scary about Church’s “Monsters” advancing toward the top of the chart, following his latest No. 1, “Some Of It.” With more than 15 million streams, Jon Langston’s “Now You Know” is starting its upward trajectory. Watch for Langston on tour first quarter with Morgan Wallen. Brandon Lay’s “For My Money” ships Jan. 6 and goes for adds Jan. 20. “With a new producer, Brandon has a fun up-tempo gem that is impressing everyone who hears it,” says VP/Promo Jimmy Rector. “Join the 20+ stations that have already committed out of the box.” Look for Lay on tour with Brantley Gilbert in 2020. CMA Kickstarter Program recipient Kylie Morgan will continue her radio tour with “I Break Things,” with a new single expected late in the first quarter. Brothers Osborne spent much of the fall working on new music. “Stay tuned, because the Bad Boys of Baltimore are about to blow everyone’s mind,” says Rector.

Forge Entertainment

Lucas Hoge will kick off the year with new music and a TV show, Hoge Wild, which he’ll film while touring. The show follows Hoge performing, hunting, fishing and scuba diving around the world and will air on Sportsman Channel in Q3 and Q4. “Lucas has been

Avenue Beat Valory

writing amazing new music and we are so excited to share these songs in 2020 and in 42 million households,” says CEO Laura Lynn.

GrassRoots

James Dupré is slated to release new music in the first quarter following success with “Another Love Song” and as vocalist with The Music of Randy Travis. Richard Schroder continues to grow his audience with new single “We All Start Somewhere,” building on streaming and small market radio attention. “We are looking forward to seeing everyone at CRS for our Annual Starlight Dinner at The Patron Club at Bridgestone Arena and excited for another year of working with amazingly talented artists and being a part of building their success stories,” says Managing Partner Nancy Tunick.

Gwendolyn

Trisha Yearwood returned to Country radio in 2019 with “Every Girl In This Town,” the lead single from her latest studio album (Every Girl), and wrapped the year on the Every Girl On Tour. Her television success continued as the host of CMA Country Christmas and Trisha’s Southern Kitchen, in addition to appearances on Today, Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Live With Kelly And Ryan and The Kelly Clarkson Show. “This is such an important time for female artists in Country music,” says GM Lesly Simon. “And Trisha’s awe-inspiring voice and storytelling make her music essential to Country radio today. I can’t wait for listeners to hear all that is to come from this powerful ‘Every Girl’ in 2020.”

MCA

Sam Hunt’s “Kinfolks” is his fastest rising single to date and expected to peak in Q1 as he readies his next album for release (date TBD). Jordan Davis has registered his third consecutive platinum single with “Slow Dance In A Parking Lot,” which is currently Top 15 and climbing at radio. He kicks off his inaugural headlining tour in January, bringing along label mate Kassi Ashton to open several dates. MCA’s newest signing (and current SiriusXM The Highway Find) Parker McCollum will be introduced to radio starting Q1, and the lead single from Kip Moore’s “She’s Mine” is currently climbing the charts with an album expected in the first half of 2020.

Mercury

Travis Denning’s “After A Few” gained momentum at the end of 2019 that will carry into the first quarter with “big research and a very familiar groove that the Mercury team expects to be working well into 2020,” according to VP/Promo Damon Moberly. Denning is finishing his debut project for the label, and word is that “this thing is loaded.” Maddie and Tae are finalizing tracks for their upcoming album release, which should be coming in the first quarter, with more than 100 million on-demand streams reported for “Die From A Broken Heart.” Billy Currington sets his sights on the “Details” in his current track at radio, now inside the Top 40. “Billy is one of the format’s most consistent hit makers, and this song is showing signs of great testing and reaction from the audience,” says Moberly, who hints at more new music coming in 2020. And fresh off of her appearance in the Dancing With The Stars finale, Lauren Alaina and her new single are “Getting Good.” “This new album will be: two breakups, a little loss, a little flirting and a lot of growing,” promises Alaina.

Monument

Heading into 2020 with an eye on new music, Monument had Walker Hayes’ 8Tracks Vol. 3 – Black Sheep on deck in December, while Teddy Robb’s current single, “Really Shouldn’t Drink Around You,” is climbing the chart following his national television debut on NBC’s Today. Brandon Ratcliff is preparing for the release of a new single expected at the top of the year. Alex Hall, the label’s newest signee, is coming off an opening run on Tanya Tucker’s While I’m Livin’ Tour, and will have his debut single ready for Country radio in the new year. Additionally, the label is planning for the second season of their podcast Shady Ladies Of Music City. And watch for more new music coming from Caitlyn Smith.

Pearl

Seven-time CMA Entertainer Of The Year Garth Brooks and Blake Shelton’s “Dive Bar” continues making its presence known on the chart. The video for the track marked Brooks’ first new music video in 12 years and amassed more than 31 million views in the first week, also sparking his seven-date Dive Bar Tour, where the only way in was to win tickets via Country radio, with recent hints from Brooks that he may continue to crash dive bars into 2020. The Stadium Tour launched last year and will continue in 2020, with stops in Detroit and

PAGE 36 • DECEMBER 2019


Gabby Barrett WAR A&E Network premiered the two-part documentary, Garth Brooks: The Road I’m On, highlighting his career. “Last year was a milestone year for Garth with the huge success of not only the record-breaking stadium shows, but also the incredible Dive Bar stint,” says GM Lesly Simon. “Garth’s partnership with Country radio on these once-in-a-lifetime shows has been fantastic. As ‘Dive Bar’ continues to climb the airplay charts, stay tuned for more exciting announcements from Garth and Pearl!”

RCA

“Bluebird” from Miranda Lambert will kick off 2020, with the ACM’s most-awarded artist touring throughout the year. The RCA promo team is working alongside their Columbia counterparts on Mitchell Tenpenny featuring Seaforth’s “Anything She Says,” with the duo continuing to tour with Tenpenny in early 2020. Old Dominion’s new single is coming in February, and the group will be out on headlining tour dates and with Kenny Chesney in the summer. “We will continue to grow in Q1 with ‘Homesick’ from Kane Brown, ‘To A T’ from Ryan Hurd and Chris Young’s ‘Drowning,’” ensures SVP/Promo Dennis Reese.

Riser House

Climbing into Q1 is Dillon Carmichael’s “I Do For You,” which is “growing nicely and getting great research,” according to Dir./National Promotion Maurisa Pasick. “We’re very excited about how this song is being received, and Dillon is paving a way in country music for Riser House,” she adds. “We also will start introducing Meghan Patrick on radio tour, who unapologetically knows herself as an artist and is an exceptional talent!”

Rebel Engine

Stephanie Quayle’s new single “Whatcha Drinkin ‘Bout” will continue into Q1. Co-written by Quayle, it’s the latest release from If I Was A Cowboy. “The song is taking on a life of its own with early support from Country radio and the music video showcasing SQ’s endearing sense of humor,” says Label Head Carli McLaughlin. “Our team is celebrating the announcement of Quayle as Bass Pro Shops’ very first female country music artist ambassador and looking at early 2020 to release the acoustic series titled The Montana Sessions: Presented by Wrangler.”

Reviver

The Reviver promo team will further their efforts with Thompson Square’s “Masterpiece” into the new year, according to VP/Promo Jim Malito. Tenille Arts’ “Somebody Like That” impacts Jan. 13 and album Love, Heartache & Everything In Between lands Jan. 10. With a reported 31 million streams and TV appearances on ABC’s The Bachelor and Game 3 of the NBA Finals, in addition to her first European tour dates, she is poised for a big year. The staff will also be out playing Josh Abbott Band’s new single in January and getting ready to roll out new music from Easton Corbin at the end of first quarter.

Show Dog

Established in 2005 by Toby Keith and celebrating its 15th anniversary, early 2020 will see the label continue with his Greatest Hits: The Show Dog Years. New music will be revealed in spring as his tour gears up once again. Waterloo Revival has been busy in the studio recording new music, which is already featured on Parker McCollum MCA

streaming services. They will be delivering that new music to radio soon and continuing to work with Exec. Producer Arturo Buenahora. Back from maternity leave, Krystal Keith will get back to her Nashville songwriting sessions as the year begins.

Stoney Creek

Jimmie Allen is following up current single “Make Me Want To” in Q1, and Lindsay Ell’s “I Don’t Love You” is racking up the early adds. Also be on the lookout for another single off King Calaway’s debut album, Rivers, as they continue to show everyone why Garth Brooks said “They are what any artist or band would hope to be,” with Ricky Skaggs adding that “King Calaway is the freshest new sound I’ve heard in Country music in many years.”

Triple Tigers

“Triple Tigers Records has some great things in store for 2020,” says SVP/Promo Kevin Herring. Coming off three consecutive No. 1s and a gold album, Russell Dickerson will debut a new single from a new album. Catch him on tour with Kane Brown. “Aside from new RD music, we will be laser-focused on continuing the climb to the top of the charts with Gone West’s debut single, ‘What Could’ve Been,’ with their debut album expected early summer, and Scotty McCreery’s ‘In Between,’” says Herring. McCreery will also have a new tour announcement in 2020.

Valory

The Valory team are coming off a record-setting year with six Country No. 1s from four different artists: Eli Young Band, Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert and Thomas Rhett (x3). “Q1 of 2020 will have us working follow-up singles from all of those amazing artists,” says VP/Promotion & Marketing Chris Palmer. “TR has given us a great duet with Jon Pardi, ‘Beer Can’t Fix,’ Brantley is bringing the heat with ‘Fire’t Up,’ EYB

has another great Dann Huff-produced record with ‘Break It In,’ and Justin follows up a career single by answering the age old question of ‘Why We Drink.’” Avenue Beat will continue their introduction to the industry and fans, while Tyler Rich goes on tour with Lanco in winter. Hints Palmer, “Plus the VMC might just have a few other surprises up our sleeves!”

WAR

Dan + Shay are on the way to their seventh No. 1 as “10,000 Hours” with Justin Bieber sees chart growth and power research. The duo will release more new music as they embark on their inaugural headlining arena tour in Q1. After his third No. 1 at Country radio, Chris Janson isn’t “Done” yet. The single continues its journey up the chart as Janson hits the road for his Real Friends Tour. CMA New Artist of the Year Ashley McBryde takes new single “One Night Standards” on tour in the spring with Luke Combs. And Gabby Barrett cuts through the clutter with “I Hope.” Look for new music from Tucker Beathard coming soon.

WEA

Coming on the heels of Kenny Chesney’s latest “Tip Of My Tongue,” Team WEA will kick off Q1 with new music from Chesney as he prepares for his Chillaxification tour. CRS New Faces nominee Ingrid Andress continues her ascent up the charts with debut single “More Hearts Than Mine” currently inside the Top 20. Look for major tour announcements both in the US and Europe for 2020, in addition to alreadyannounced stops with Keith Urban. Michael Ray’s “Her World Or Mine” is Top 35 and will continue climbing in the first quarter. “Diamonds,” the new single from Morgan Evans, impacted Dec. 9, and he ends the year with shows in LA, New York City and Chicago and continues into the new year touring the US, Europe, Canada and Australia. New music is coming soon from Devin Dawson, co-writer of the 2019 CMA Single of the Year “God’s Country.”

Wheelhouse

LoCash’s singalong “One Big Country Song” continues to gain traction as the duo progresses their 2020 tour dates. As Runaway June’s new single “Head Over Heels” sustains its upward trajectory, look for news of a major tour announcement from the trio, who spent 2019 with Carrie Underwood. Granger Smith’s “That’s Why I Love Dirt Roads” is building momentum. “Granger is Wheelhouse’s flagship artist, and our whole team is pumped about the success of this new single,” says VP/Promo Ken Tucker. Zac Brown Band’s “Leaving Love Behind” impacts Jan. 13, followed by the band launching the second leg of The Owl Tour in February. Johnny McGuire makes his solo debut with an early March impact date. Tucker calls McGuire and his Neon Nights EP the label’s “secret weapon, an accomplished songwriter with a unique storytelling ability.”

WMN

Succeeding CMA Single of The Year “God’s Country,” Blake Shelton’s “Hell Right” is Top 15 and climbing. In addition to recently wrapping up season 17 of NBC’s The Voice, Shelton is hitting the road for the continuation of his Friends And Heroes Tour. “From the radio airwaves to the TV screen to the arena, Blake Shelton is country music’s most visible ambassador,” says Dir./National Radio & Streaming Anna Cage. With debut single “Loved By A Country Boy” ascending the chart, Trea Landon will open for label mate Cole Swindell’s Down To Earth Tour. New music from Swindell and Brett Eldredge will land on radio’s desk in 2020. CAC

PAGE 38 • DECEMBER 2019


For more information about any and all of these services, please contact Robin Rhodes R O B IN@MEDIAB ASE.CO M M E D I A B AS E .CO M

9


CONGRATULATIONS

TOP ARTIST OF THE DECADE TOP MALE ARTIST OF THE DECADE

EIGHT SONGS IN THE TOP 100 OF THE DECADE: #21 “I DON’T WANT THIS NIGHT TO END” #31 “COUNTRY GIRL (SHAKE IT FOR ME)” #51 “PLAY IT AGAIN” #54 “RAIN IS A GOOD THING” #56 “DRUNK ON YOU” #60 “THAT’S MY KIND OF NIGHT” #75 “KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE” #88 “CRASH MY PARTY”

LUKE’S LATEST SINGLE MAKING ITS WAY UP THE COUNTRY CHARTS IS “WHAT SHE WANTS TONIGHT”

CAPITOL RECORDS NASHVILLE; © 2019 UMG RECORDINGS, INC.


Luke Bryan Sitting On Top (of) 10

T

en years ago, Luke Bryan was five years into his run on Capitol when he was named the ACM New Artist of the Year (see June 2010 print issue online). He ends the decade as Country radio’s most-heard artist (see page 33). Bryan celebrated the former by tossing then-Capitol chief Mike Dungan into a Las Vegas pool. While a long-form business-focused interview doesn’t offer the same kind of photoop, it does find him reflecting on the state of the industry, his relationship with radio and his legacy.

CA: What stands out to you about this last decade? LB: It’s been a great ride. Musically, it’s the balance of staying who you are, but also obviously looking at your surroundings. My main thing is looking at what’s going on around you and trying to make music that complements all of that – moving the needle, taking chances. I’m really happy with my ability to have songs like “Drink A Beer” and “Most People Are Good.” People know that’s really my sentiment, but they also know “I Don’t Want This Night To End” and “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” are my personality, too. We’ve seen artists in the past who are known as kind of a ballad singer, or just a bar or honkytonk singer. The fact that I’ve got a broad range of songs over the past 10 years – I’m really, really happy about that. It’s a testament to Jeff Stevens, my producer; the label, [manager] Kerri Edwards and all of my people. I’ve had a fun decade with some songs I thought were going to do amazingly well, but really didn’t. Then we’ve had those surprise songs where I took somebody’s advice at the label, and we knocked it out of the park. This decade has thrown a lot at you, professionally and personally. How have you balanced being an artist, performer and creative person with running a business that has grown exponentially in these 10 years? That’s an ever-changing algorithm. It all starts with trying to write and find as many great songs as I can, doing my best job recording them and doing my best job at being a better singer and musician every year. Once I lay that down and get the music made, then the business – managing the tours, Idol and the rest – you have to have people working for you who can run that stuff. You can’t lay awake at night wondering about what your business manager is doing. Of course, everybody who works for you isn’t going to bat a thousand. You’re just trying be a great boss, be decisive and have fun with all of this. I think people know I truly still have a lot of fun being in this role. I never wanted to be one of those artists who dreams of this, moves to town, gets the dream and then is miserable. I wished for it, fought for it and it was worth every second. I don’t have many regrets. I don’t look back. Are there little mistakes I’ve made along the way? Certainly. There’s been a million things happening, and you’re not going knock it out of the park every time. You’ve just got to trust everybody in your circle and have people in place who try to keep you in check and add perspective. I was on the phone with Jimmy Harnen a couple weeks ago, and he reminded me about when “We Rode In Trucks” didn’t go No. 1. He remembers me telling him, “Hell, I wrote the damn thing, and if it didn’t work, it didn’t work. Let’s move on to the next song and find something that does work.” When you have ups and downs, you can’t run around blaming everybody else. Essentially it all falls on you. You have to manage the whole – manage the people who are managing the tentacles. If my t-shirt guys makes a mistake on a shirt, yeah I might get on to him, but we learn from it and move on. There are too many moving parts to get bogged down with one thing that really doesn’t matter. As long as I’m healthy, going to the gym, putting on shows I want to put on, getting rest, my voice feels good, and I’m writing songs ... that’s the best I can do for my career. The personal level is a whole other two-hour interview.

THE INTERVIEW

Speaking of the t-shirt guy, how deeply do you get into running your business? Do you delegate a lot or are you the chief operating officer? Well, I delegate a lot. On the really important stuff, I’m really focused. But as with every business, there are multiple levels of priority, and there’s only so much mental real estate. How much do you want to bog your mind down? Making music and doing the live shows is 90% of this business. And now that we’re talking about it, I look at the work that went into [developing] radio relationships through the years. Meet-and-greets and just dotting all the “i”s and crossing all the “t”s. Where I am now is a product of all the groundwork from my first radio tour early to doing the CMA radio remotes [last month]. I relish those relationships and what Country radio and I have been able to build together. I never want to take it for granted, because nothing will ever feel better than hearing your music on the radio. How big was your team a decade ago, and how big is it now? In 2009, we were probably on two tour buses and had one semi-truck, maybe two. Now we’re nine, 10 buses and nine, 10 semis. We’re looking at 55 employees that count on me to do my job every night and, when we’re doing stadium shows, there’s 85-90. We contract about 30 people to come in and help us put on stadium shows and the Farm Tour shows. There’s also a whole Crash My Playa team I only see once a year. People are like, “When are you going to retire?” And I’m like, “I don’t want to have to tell people that work for me that they don’t have a gig.” I love being the guy a lot of

PAGE 41 • DECEMBER 2019


people count on. I don’t wake up with anxiety about it. I wake up going, “All right, let’s get after it and show the world what we’re going to do this year or this week.” Beyond the music and your downtown Nashville bar, how many different businesses are you in? Me, Jason Aldean and Adam LaRoche just opened up a steak house. I’ve got a little cigar bar down on the beach at 30A. I’ve got a lot of stuff spread out that I like to have fun with. Having a business degree, I pride myself on being a good business guy, but I make some mistakes here and there. Are you still doing Buck Commander? Yeah. Me and my 11-year-old are in the truck right now going hunting this afternoon, so I’ll try to get some footage for him on Buck Commander.

THE INTERVIEW

And the label and publishing? I’ve got 32 Bridge Entertainment with Jon Langston signed and multiple songwriters under my publishing. These are just byproducts of being in the business, meeting aspiring songwriters and artists, and trying to use your name and reputation to help people you believe in. As I get more years on my career, it’s really fun watching other people achieve their dreams and grow. How deeply are you going to get into the label space? Is Jon it, or are you going to develop other artists? It’s really important to focus on Jon and get him to the level we want him at. So, I don’t have any plans, and it’s all about when the right person comes along. If I hire somebody and say, “Go find me an artist to sign,” sure, they could do that. But it’s got to be somebody you really see something special in, because it’s an emotional undertaking. You’ve got a person’s life and career in your hands, and I don’t want to ever take that lightly.

Some artists built fan bases in the sales era, others have done it in the streaming era, but you’ve sort of straddled both. Do you think about how to navigate in the streaming world differently than you did when it was more about sales? I came along at a very interesting time, because I was really in the middle of it segueing. I even remember somebody telling me one year that “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” had been illegally streamed a billion times. So I guess I lost out on that. But I’ve also made money on streaming. Meanwhile, record sales were in a big downturn. I guess I could sit around talking about the what-ifs and what-shouldhave-beens, but I don’t know where it would get me. What’s important now is that we fight for more for the songwriters. One way I think about it is, as the money gets smaller for the whole music business, record labels get tighter with their money. When you start crunching numbers and counting pennies in this business, it really hurts, because you don’t take chances on creative brains. For instance, if my albums are flying off the shelves, that allows UMG/Nashville to have more money to take chances on more artists. That’s the disappointing and the heartbreaking side of music not getting bought and purchased properly. It clamps down on the overall broadness of what music could be. That’s true, and it is interesting hearing you say that. Some artists at your level seem to object to labels using revenue and clout generated by the stars to build up the next generation. You hear stories about the artists in contract battles working to squeeze those label margins. But you accept that traditional structure of the top acts essentially funding the new signings? Keith Urban and all the other artists at Capitol were selling so many millions of albums, it allowed Mike Dungan to go, “Hey, let’s try this kid out of south Georgia.” Now, labels are forced to cut their rosters, cut creativity, because the money just isn’t there. I hope we’re on the upside of figuring it out and can recalibrate how to go from here.

How do you think we’re doing, overall, in country music? Obviously, it keeps getting broader. I will never be the guy who criticizes and bellyaches about how someone makes music and a living for themselves. I’ve had it happen to me. One minute, I’m the savior of country music; the next, I’ve ruined it. So I’m never going to be that guy. I’ve heard legends say, “I wish country music would go back to ...” I don’t You’ve hosted the ACM Awards and have been on American Idol for a couple of really understand why we would spend a lot of time trying to sound like people in the ‘80s years. What have you learned about television, and has that given you ideas or a and ‘90s. I get what people are trying to say, but you have to find your own sound. desire to further explore the visual realm? Midland have a more retro sound, and it’s working for them. Then I’m listening With my music career, it’s always come in increments where I could learn and to Kane Brown, and then Dan + handle it. I kind of built it the old Shay. That’s a lot across the board, fashioned way – really methodical but at the end of the day, the fans and spending time with it. Hosting have to buy it, and they have to buy the ACMs taught me elements With my music career, it’s always into it. If they are, it’s working. You of being comfortable in front of can’t really overthink it much more a camera, being charismatic and come in increments where I than that. funny. Working with Blake and could learn and handle it. I kind of Dan + Shay are appealing to Dierks on that – it teaches you a lot people from all different genres. and, I think, led to me getting the built it the old fashioned way That’s why they’re parked on top of gig on American Idol. – really methodical and iTunes and streaming. Everybody With that, I’ve developed spending time with it. is consuming it. Is it as country as another level of confidence on TV. Merle Haggard? No, but they’re For years, I would sit on the couch doing their artistry, and a lot of with Jimmy Kimmel or Jimmy people are buying it. Fallon and be really nervous, but When I was playing 800-seat now I’m more comfortable. When honky tonks, as soon as I came I get to that place, I can really offstage the DJ was playing Flo Rida be who I am. As far as TV in the and daggum T-Pain. Everybody had future, it’s all about where it fits cowboy hats on and were dancing to with my personal life. I’ve been rap music. That’s kind of the way it gone quite a bit. You can only go was when I was in college, too. Now, so hard and for so many years. No people have playlists with all forms matter what, I still want my music of music. The days where everybody to be first and foremost. After all just listens to one style of music these years, I’m still selling out because that’s the only channel shows. My merch numbers are their car will pick up on the radio higher than ever. People are still are gone. coming out to watch me perform, People have their music they and that’s the crown jewel. listen to when they’re on their boat. They’ve got their music for when Between stadiums, arenas, the they ride around their farm. They’ve Spring Break shows you did and got their music they listen to when Farm Tours, you have a lot of they’re tailgating at a football game. different iterations for touring. Is It’s all different, and it all sets a that intentional or helpful to mix it mood that they want to get into. up like that? They’ve all just kind of spawned Did you just play a radio station naturally. We never forced them. guitar pull? Nobody ever came to me and said, Yeah, down in Augusta. “Hey, I’ve got a way for you to make a lot of money.” Spring Break A lot of artists get to a certain level was just, “Hey, let’s go play some and think they’ve graduated from shows.” We put 200,000 people on those sorts of things. But you don’t? the beach, and it got to the point Well, I’ve got a history with Augusta there was too much liability. and love the city. I’ve played I’d always loved going to farm Augusta National and worked with parties – field parties – and WKXC down there a lot. That’s a seeing a band. So I said, “Let’s do fun guitar pull. Luke Combs was on that.” The first time there were a it, and I hadn’t seen him in a while. thousand people there. This year, It’s really fun for me to do those, we played for 80,000 people over because I live in a world where two weeks. Even Crash My Playa everything is a big production. started out pretty simple and has Rarely do I ever get to just plug-in become something fans have an expectation for. So they’ve all grown from trying to make fun musical experiences and play. I rolled in with my guitar and I played my song. If I ever outgrow that, then I need to retire. for fans. Some artists can walk out, stand at a microphone and sing hits. But I’m all about giving people different things to look at, and that’s part of what’s made Crash My Party is the Academy of Country Music Album of the Decade, and now me successful. you’re the Most Heard Artist of the Decade ... It’s been an amazing month getting this recognition. You’re busy and don’t even How much attention do you pay to overarching business issues? As a realize the decade is almost up and that there are end-of-the-decade accolades. I publisher, are you concerned about how digital has diminished the number of don’t know if there’s anything to be more proud of. ACM Album of the Decade professional songwriters? was a real cherry-on-top moment. But when you look at the statistical information Thirty years ago, there were 3,000 published songwriters, and now there are of radio spins – I mean, I’m a stats guy. I love knowing Mike Trout batted .338 and 300. I know that stuff, and it’s heartbreaking. I try to explain it to friends and won the batting title. So it’s very humbling to look back and say, “Who would have family members all the time. We’re still figuring out streaming and how music is consumed, but the money has dissipated, and songwriters were the first to get taken ever thought that when you tallied it up, I’d have more spins than anybody else.” I never set out for it, but it’s something I’ll never forget and I’ll always cherish. out. And we’re more than ever in a singles driven market, and the ability to make a living as a songwriter solely having singles on the radio is really tricky. So I watch it Do you see yourself as one of the veterans now – someone who is influencing future all. Do I know the ins and outs – percentage breakdowns on streaming? No. I could generations of country artists? put the time in to brush up on that, but it’s always changing. I don’t see myself necessarily as a veteran. I do relish the role of having tours, What I do know is that in the early ‘90s, I bought Alan Jackson’s A Lot About Living having the artists that are on my tour with me coming on the bus. I do relish trying CD four separate times. Now, when you load music on your phone, it’s there forever. to give them the best advice to help their career. That’s fun. So I’m not saying I’m a It’s in your cloud. You never have to buy it again, and that’s a big difference. All we veteran, but I am noticing veteran qualities showing through. CAC can do is figure it out from here and find better ways to protect the music.

PAGE 42 • DECEMBER 2019


Profile for Country Aircheck

Country Aircheck's Year and Decade End Print Publication  

Featuring: The Year & Decade In Music Top 100 Charts, Label Of The Year, More Luke Bryan in The Interview

Country Aircheck's Year and Decade End Print Publication  

Featuring: The Year & Decade In Music Top 100 Charts, Label Of The Year, More Luke Bryan in The Interview