As the music and radio industry cancels country singer Morgan Wallen for his racist rant, his album sales explode.

Wow. What’s wrong with this picture?

Back on Tuesday (February 2), TMZ reported on a video of country star Morgan Wallen screaming obscenities and using the N-word. And although he apologized, the backlash was swift and intense.

His recording contract was suspended. Radio stations all over the continent stopped playing his music. Streaming services dropped his songs. Satellite radio opted out. He was declared ineligible for country music awards. Next to “cancel” in the dictionary is a picture of Morgan Wallen.

But a weird thing has happened. While radio airplay was down 71%, his music sales increased by 339%. And he already had the number one album in America with Dangerous: The Double Album, which came out in January. It’s still number one. And five songs are receiving 1,000 paid downloads a day. Prior to the cancellation, none were that popular.

Weird, no? Then again, maybe not.

The country music scene has split with way too many fans pointing out that the N-word is used all the time in hip-hop. These fans obviously decided to show their support by buying more of Wallen’s music.

Jeezus, people. Do we really need to point out the distinction when the accused is a white dude vs. a Black performer? Anyone who says that there’s not a white supremacy problem within country music needs to give their head a shake. This article from Vulture goes deep into that issue.

Other parts of the country community have been totally been on board with the cancellation, saying that such behavior has no place in their scene–or any scene, for that matter. This is from Mickey Guyton, the only Black female country performer signed to a major label.

What’s going on? This is from SavingCountryMusic.com:

“What also might be happening here is a musical version of The Streisand Effect, where censoring Morgan Wallen, or making him taboo, or forbidden, or hard to access is having the opposite result, similar to what we saw when Twitter and other big media platforms censored news from The New York Post on Joe Biden’s son Hunter right before the American Presidential election. The censorship resulted in a massive spike in traffic and interest to the outlet directly, specifically due to the effort to suppress it.

“What this reaction says about the scruples of the individuals that would use the revelation of Morgan Wallen’s personal behavior to purchase his music is one thing. But it also should perhaps cause a re-evaluation in how we go about dealing with individuals who fall out of favor with societal norms. Often not allowing them to participate only pushes the individuals and their followers further towards fringe ideologies and extremism as they search for communities that will validate their opinions as opposed to refute them, all while not injuring the bottom dollar of the banished individual, but sometimes padding it.”

Weird. And disturbing.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “As the music and radio industry cancels country singer Morgan Wallen for his racist rant, his album sales explode.

  • February 6, 2021 at 1:51 pm
    Permalink

    I had never even heard of Morgan Wallen before this. Now I’m a huge supporter. Not cause what he said was cool, but cancel culture is even less cool. He was saying it to his friends in private as a joke. Albeit kinda loudly on a public street.

    Reply
    • February 7, 2021 at 1:43 pm
      Permalink

      That makes you sound like both a racist *and* an idiot.

      Reply

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