The nostalgic days of going to a store, buying a CD, and listening to an artist only to realize you like one song on the entire album are over. Today, music streaming dominates how Americans listen to music. While fans still support their favorite artists by purchasing albums, streaming services give consumers access to complete albums and playlists, as well as singles. Even though all genres have access to these services, country music has been reluctant to accept the change. Forbes recently published an article highlighting the interesting fact that country music struggles in the world of music streaming. The idea that the country genre hasn’t welcomed streaming like the rest of the music industry is baffling. So why do country music fans not utilize streaming and how do labels motivate consumers to stream more?
According to Billboard, the typical country music listener is older and more established in their career.
“Statistics for the average country fan show that they are 45 years old with an income of $75,392. Seventy-five percent of country fans own a home (valued at $228,586), which is higher than the national average,” New Statistics About Country Music Fans Revealed At Billboard Country Music Summit.
Music streaming apps could possibly be too complicated for those in the older demographic to use with a lack of understanding about the features associated with the services. This demographic still consumes much of their music by traditional radio. Country radio stations provide listeners with information about new music and artists without the heavy lifting. If a listener likes a song, the radio station provides the artist information and will more than likely continue to play the song. While streaming isn’t as direct, listeners can listen whenever or wherever and still gain access to album titles, artist information, and similar songs within the genre.
The country music industry needs continued awareness of streaming sources available. Being one of the most popular genres in the U.S., there is potential for country listeners to engage in music streaming.
In the hip hop industry, the streaming market has become increasingly popular. Many artists release albums exclusively on platforms such as, Tidal and Apple Music. By doing so, these platforms not only receive high amounts of traffic, but also allow listeners to access exclusive content to increase brand loyalty. Country music should utilize streaming services to continuously bring new music to fans and listeners.
Billboard statistics also concluded that country music fans show technological knowledge despite being an older demographic.
“Seventy-six percent of Music Fest attendees last year were engaged in some kind of social media, including Facebook and Twitter, with 55 percent engaging with Facebook daily.”
If country music fans can actively use social media platforms, they can effectively navigate streaming services and interact with these apps daily. Most streaming platforms allow users to connect directly with their music app through their already utilized Facebook and Twitter accounts, making the use of the app quick and easy. Targeting country fans and listeners through social media can leverage the gap between country music consumption and streaming.
The industry must efficiently market the simplicity of streaming popular country music, while also highlighting the discoverability of new artists. Understanding the consumption behaviors of country listeners and bringing awareness to streaming options will allow the country music business to mature in its already popular demand.