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The Country Music Controversy

So it’s not like its a totally new concept, however, I am seeing it happen more and more. And now I was just introduced to it arriving large scale. What is it? Categorizing country. Do you think that this should be happening? Or is country music just country music.  

It seems like in this digital age it is becoming more prevalent. When people describe their kind of country, they tend to break it down into categories. I believe that a lot of this is coming with the new digital way to get music beyond just the local radio stations. When you enjoy a particular type of country, you want to hear more of its kind. All the big digital dogs; Spotify, amazon music, apple music, Sirius XM, and Pandora even promote making specific playlists encompassing this.  

These digital ways not only break it down into category genres but even further to have a named artist radio, such as “Jason Aldean Radio.”  So if you aren’t sure what group you fit into all you have to know is what artist you like and they will create a playlist for you!   When you ask your virtual assistant “Alexa” to play Red Dirt country, she has an entire list for you. 

The question that is then posed is; will country music radio stations follow this trend? We have already started to see the large IHeart companies breaking off some of their stations into classic country stations and seeing results. Are they heading up this trend and actually listening to their listeners wanting classic country more than top 40 country? 

Country music has always been a fluid work in progress. Country listeners, in my opinion, are more accepting of all kinds of country music than a lot of other genres. When Willie Nelson came to the scene and Johnny Cash, they weren’t at first widely accepted, but then they were. Garth Brooks suffered the same being classified as more pop than country. However now we embrace Garth as one of the staples of country music. 

(photo credit: Garth Brooks Facebook)

Billy Ray Cyrus,  Alan Jackson, and Brooks & Dunn forever changed the sound in the ’90s. So much so that Sirius XM even has these broken down into their own station called Y2K Country. The outlaws of country music like Waylon Jennings and more recent artists like Eric Church and Cody Jinks are gaining traction and station status too. 

(photo credit Cody Jinks Facebook)

Leading us to the future should we continue to break down country music into their respective categories and give country music enthusiasts more of what they love? The Nebraska State Fair seems to think so! I was shocked when I saw their concert lineup included bundles of similar artists!

(click to go to Nebraska State Fair website)

Bundles include; Hot Country, Red Dirt Country, and Rock. Plus they had specialty concerts too.  This bundle consists of 3 bands, 3 separate nights for just ONE PRICE!  How impressive is it that the Nebraska State Fair has seen how country music listeners are absorbing their music. Then they have incorporated it into allowing the fans to get more of what they love in a live setting.  Plus it is in a way that they are already comfortable getting it. 

I have a funny feeling you will be seeing more of this in the future, and am excited to see how this trend will shape future generations of country music.

Please weigh in on this topic,
Should country radio start breaking off into categorized country?
What is your category of country music you listen to? 

Leave a comment!

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Britt is a sassy midwest based blonde with a contagious smile and laugh. Follow along as she covers rodeos, fashion, and all branches of country music across the states! She is a trend spotter, traveler, personal stylist, country radio show host, adventurer, and fluffy coffee drinker. Find out more on

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