There are some things you can learn just by looking at the world around you, but some truths only reveal themselves when you take the time to crunch some numbers. This is especially true if you want to learn about country music fans. With millions of country music lovers across the world there is is no way to tell whether or not someone loves the country just by looking at them.
Finding out the real and sometimes surprising facts about country music fans takes some serious research. We’ve dug into the numbers to confirm some suspicions and reveal some surprising truths about country music fans.
Country music fans love the radio
Around the time that MTV came out, a famous song announced that video killed the radio star. But while other genres abandoned the radio country music fans have remained remarkably loyal. Since country music hit the radio in 1924 with “National Barn Dance” the genre has been growing on radio waves across America and around the world.
Number of Stations Playing Country and Western Music
- 1944: 600+
- 1964: 2,000+
- 2016: 4,000+
That’s a lot of stations broadcasting country music! To put it into context, the FCC reports that there are around 15,000 radio stations in America. This means that around 37% of the nation’s radio stations play country music! That’s some serious radio domination!
It’s also worth noting that country music fans aren’t just casual radio listeners. Just look at this survey on how country fans consume music.
How people listen to country music
- 70% listen to country on the radio
- 20% listen to country on online streaming services
- 20% use CDs
- 15% use iTunes or other digital formats
- 5% listen to country music at concerts or other live events
- 3% listen to it on vinyl
- 7% listen to it using other methods, like watching music channels on TV.
In this day and age where more music fans are getting their favorite tunes digitally, it says something about country fans that they are sticking to their guns. You have to add up every other method to even match the sheer power of country radio!
Country fans tend to be successful
If you consider yourself to be a fan of country music, then you are in good company. Stereotypes would have you believe that country music fans are all living in trailer parks, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Country music fans are actually some of the most successful music fans.
Country fan financial facts
- 75% of country fans own a home
- Country fan’s homes have average value of $228,586
- 50% of people with an income of $100,000 or more are country fans
These country fan financial stats don’t mean that you can get rich just by tuning in to your local country station, but it does suggest that if you want to get places in life, it might be a good idea to start networking at your local country music venue.
Country Fans Love Garth Brooks
OK, you don’t need to do any surveys to figure this out. It’s easy to tell that Mr. Brooks is one of the most beloved artists in all of music, not just country. But still, you can’t really appreciate the full reach of Garth Brooks until you look at some facts related to him.
Top-selling country albums
- Garth Brooks – “Double Live” 21 times platinum
- Shania Twain – “Come on Over” 20 times platinum
- Garth Brooks – “No Fences” 17 times platinum
- Garth Brooks – “Rope in the Wind” 14 times platinum
- Dixie Chicks – “Wide Open Spaces” 12 times platinum
It’s easy to see that Garth Brooks dominates this chart. He doesn’t just get the top spot; he gets three out of the top five! To get platinum certified an album has to sell one million records. This means that the five albums listed sold 84 million records in total, and Garth’s albums account for 52 million of those sales. That’s 62 percent! Even when you account for the fact that double albums like “Double Live” count for two it’s still an insane achievement.
And we’re just getting started looking at Garth’s dominance!
Top-selling country artists
- Garth Brooks, 138 million.
- George Strait, 69 million.
- Shania Twain, 48 million.
- Kenny Rogers, 47.5 million.
- Alabama, 46.5 million.
When looking at the most commercially successful country artists of all time, Garth Brooks absolutely dominates. George Strait and Shania Twain are both legends in their own right, but together their 117 million records sold falls 21 million short of Garth Brooks’ total.
Some would argue that Garth’s success on these lists is because he peaked during the 90s, when record sales were much higher than they are today. But that doesn’t account for the next fact.
Top Selling Concert Tours of 2017
- Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood
- Ed Sheeran
- Bruno Mars
- Lady Gaga
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra
32 years after the start of his professional music career Garth Brooks is still drawing fans to his concerts like acts half his age. Chart toppers Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars weren’t even born yet when Garth Brooks started playing honky tonks, but the country legend is still outperforming these international superstars when it comes to concert sales.
Country music fandom is getting younger and more diverse
Many people like to caricature country music fans as overwhelmingly old and white, but the truth is that country music fans come from every age, ethnicity, and walk of life. Country crossover stars like Taylor Swift often get accused of using country music to grow their own fan bases, but at the same time, they have also helped to grow country music and expand its reach.
Facts that show country music is getting younger and more diverse
- 54% increase in country listeners between the ages of 18 and 24 since 2006
- 25% increase in Hispanic country listeners since 2010
- 70% of nonwhites surveyed reported listening to country music at least weekly
Some country critics and genre purists would have you believe that the genre belongs to the past, but the facts show that this isn’t the case. Country music has a power that can connect people from different ages, genders, races, and nationalities.
Of course, if you’ve been going to country music shows you probably already knew this already. But it’s nice to have the facts to prove just how far country music can reach.