On July 20th, Hits Daily Double posted a list of the top 50 audio streams of 2018 so far, and the top 50 album sales.
Out of the top 50 audio streams, zero country songs made the list. Two songs include supposedly country artists: #8 Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line, and #16 Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey.
For album sales, it’s worth emphasizing that album sales overall are declining rapidly. Just half a dozen albums of any genre sold over a million in the first half of 2018, and two are movie soundtracks. Five of the fifty albums carry the country label: #18 Jason Aldean, #21 Kane Brown, #24 Luke Combs, #38 Chris Stapleton, and #44 Thomas Rhett. Four of those five enjoy tremendous support from country radio.
Younger artists generally have much larger streaming numbers than the older artists. The lowest streaming totals corresponding to the 50 top-selling albums belong to some of the oldest artists on the list. Dave Matthews (51) has under 24 million streams, followed by Pink (38) at 118+ million, Jason Aldean (41) at under 211 million, Chris Stapleton (40) at under 271 million, Eminem (45) at 279+ million, Shawn Mendes (19) at under 281 million, and Justin Timberlake (37) at under 282 million. No matter the genre, being older is a major disadvantage in streaming.
Older acts often sell more tickets on tour, though. Pollstar’s 2017 Year End Special shows that older “legacy” acts make tons of money on tour (a lot more than anyone makes on streaming). From the highest-grossing North American tours of 2017 , the nominally country acts in the top 100 were Garth Brooks (4), Tim McGraw & Faith Hill (10), Eric Church (18), FGL (19), Luke Bryan (20), Chris Stapleton (29), Zac Brown (33), Dierks Bentley (46), Jason Aldean (52), Sam Hunt (62), George Strait (67, with just 10 tour dates), Willie Nelson (82), Brad Paisley (85), and Kenny Chesney (98). No matter the genre, the old folks still move tickets like crazy, even if the young guys are the ones getting the streams and airplay. The show tickets make a lot more money.