There is more music to choose from now than ever before, and it’s ever-so-convenient and “free.” No matter whether you like traditional or modern or anything else, it’s right there on your phone, what you want and when you want it. There are so many options that it can be a challenge to sort through it all. Most people don’t have the time and dedication to go to the trouble. They’ll still turn on the radio (and a few companies control a large percentage of stations), or check out streaming services (and the streaming model is still new enough that there aren’t adequate safeguards against companies “stacking the deck” with artist placements on lists).
The current listener-driven model is pushing the industry toward younger audiences. The “mainstream machine,” backed by demographic studies, marketing focus groups, talks with corporate sponsors, and other such things that have little to do with actual music, seems intent on chasing “pop dollars.” Well, they want all the dollars. The pop dollars and country dollars and rock dollars are all just dollars. If they thought they could make money from selling asparagus smoothies, they’d do that, too. Is their plan working ? One can look all over Nashville and see money flowing like water, and as long as the “machine” is rolling in the money, those efforts will continue.
All the alternatives to the mainstream are also growing at a rapid pace. That’s why I made separate posts for some of these scenes: Texas , Americana , and bluegrass. I’d previously mentioned the recent rapid growth of Ryman, the Opry’s parent company, and that’s yet another scene.
Country music in its various forms appears to be growing internationally, as well. Take a look at the lineup for the inaugural Long Road Festival in the UK. They have well-known acts like Carrie Underwood and Lee Ann Womack, tons of Americana acts, Texas star Aaron Watson,etc .
In the few years that I have maintained YouTube lists, I have never encountered such a large number of albums as I have in the first half of 2018. My 2018 New Country Showcase features well over a hundred artists, and I could easily add many more. Although I do include some well-known names, I make a point to include artists that receive little or no coverage elsewhere.
I started this blog on the first day of 2017, and I’ve made posts every day of 2018. I don’t know if I’ll keep up that pace, but I’ve enjoyed a ton of music this year.