It is July already, and the mid year album sales report is in. The Nielsen report refers exclusively to the US market, but that is, of course, country music’s homeland. As may be expected in our current music climate, overall album sales are down, however the country music genre guides the way for those chasing down physical album sales.
The top ten overall album sales chart features two country music albums: Blake Shelton Based on a true story, and Taylor Swift Red. However both these albums move up the chart, and a third country act, Florida Georgia Line with their album Here’s to The Good Times, appears at number eight, on the physical album sales chart. It appears as if country fans favour a physical album, complete with booklet, a more personal item than a mere physical download.
Country music stars have a long history of connecting with fans in a much more personal manner than that of their pop counterparts. Take a look at last month’s CMA Music Festival, in which country’s biggest stars, alongside newcomers, personally greeted and entertained thousands of fans in downtown Nashville. That personal touch shines through when speaking of physical media. Photos, lyrics and thank-you’s all add to the experience of purchasing an album, and country fans remain aware of that.
In this country, it may be slightly different. Country Albums are purchased by fans as and when they are available. Occasionally on iTunes, but the UK library contains very little country music compared to the USA iTunes Store. Albums may be purchased at live events, or perhaps more commonly on Amazon, with extortionate shipping and customs charges.
Perhaps if country music was as readily available in this country, and one could wander into HMV and pick up George Strait’s latest release with the same ease as purchasing Rihanna’s latest offering, our statistics would reveal the same trend. People don’t like paying for digital media- as indicated in the report- and it is a credit to the country community, and their ferocious loyalty to their artists, that they are keeping physical media alive.