The Liberal Country Music Fan

Welcome to the Liberal Country Music Fan blog. Life sometimes gets a bit Blue for us country music fans on the Left. With any luck, this blog will provide a home and a voice to us Roosevelt-lovin' Rednecks. It'll be our "Big Blue Note".

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Clear Channel Makes American South Inhospitable To New Country Bands and Songs

A very interesting Billboard article reveals a new trend in country music geography: thanks to Clear Channel and other conservative radio companies, the American South has become a bad place to market a new country band or country song!

According to the article, it is becoming increasingly difficult to “break new acts” or get airplay for a new single in the South. South-central states such as Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas are apparently the worst for new country, while southeastern states including Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and North and South Carolina follow close behind.
"The [south-central United States], if you‘re not George Strait [iTunes], is absolutely the hardest place to start any record, whether it‘s an established act or a new artist," says Gator Michaels, senior VP of promotion at Warner Bros. Nashville, home of Faith Hill.
This trend away from new music in the south-central U.S. is apparently a recent one. The author of the article writes that in the early 1990s, the south-central U.S. was a panacea for new country acts.

Why the change? Billboard reports that many in the industry blame radio consolidation and “very conservative” radio managers, specifically those of airwaves behemoth Clear Channel.

Fortunately for the industry, the western United States has “quietly ramped up, becoming the most fertile ground” for new country music. The Northeast, surprisingly, has become record promoters’ second-best area.

What does this mean for country music politics? While it is exciting news that the West and Northeast are becoming important regions to the country music industry - there are many more liberals per capita in these regions than in the South - I worry that Clear Channel and others are increasingly segregating country music. The West and the Northeast will enjoy “new” country, while the South will only have access to “classic” country. Such a bifurcation in the genre could destroy the unifying effect of country music on a nation that definitely needs some unifying. Similarly, the left-leaning West and Northeast would lose part of the vital cultural communication channel to the South that is country music. If this channel begins degrading, this website would be increasingly preaching to the choir, one my greatest fears.


  • At 5:56 PM, Blogger Ken said…

    Sort of a blue state reds state dichotomy, only in music!


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