Country Music is Making a Push to Get Fans into Streaming

If you look at the most-streamed songs on any given week, the charts are dominated–and I mean DOMINATED–but tracks from pop, R&B, hip hop and rap. It’s very, very rare to see any kind of rock song in the Top 200. It’s even more rare to see a track from a country artist. But it’s getting better. According to a recent study of Canadian listening habits, streaming

According to a recent study of Canadian listening habits, streaming habits of country fans is by 78%, which is higher than the adoption rates for EDM and alt-rock. Still, country represents at best 6% of all streams, which is the smallest of any major music genre.

Because streaming is the future of music distribution, it’s in the best interests of all segments of the music industry to get their fans into the habit of getting their music this way. Those on the country side are looking to lead fans into this new world with a series of initiatives–including enlisting the help of the once digital-adverse Garth Brooks. Bloomberg Technology reports.

Kelly Rich, who worked at Taylor Swift’s label for 10 years, jumped to Amazon Music a few months back to help bridge a gap between the tech giant and a segment of the listening public that’s been slow to change.

After snagging exclusive streaming rights to country music legend Garth Brooks last October, Amazon.com Inc. began moving to expand its country music fan base. The Seattle-based company recruited Rich from Big Machine Label Group to manage label relations at its Nashville, Tennessee, office and backed Brooks’s live tour.

“Nashville is a very close-knit community that requires someone working from within to best promote and achieve our goals,” Rich said in an email. Relationships are “based on trust, understanding and results.”

Paid-music streaming has become the largest revenue source for music, helping to stem a two-decade drop in sales. But country fans have been slower to log in. Even with growth of 83 percent last year, on-demand streaming generated just a fourth of country music consumption, 14 percentage points less than the industry average, according to Nielsen data.

Keep reading. The rock side of the industry needs to do something like this.

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.

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