Friday, April 10, 2009

Chet Flippo Weighs in on the Country Music Debate

Veteran country music writer/commentator Chet Flippo weighs in with a thoughtful column about the status and direction of country music, and its market, marketing and fans.

He writes about the United States, but much of what he says can be translated to the country music community in Europe -- but here, we must add one more category: homegrown, local language artists. They either find a broader audience (like the veteran German group Truckstop, which turned to singing in German 30 years ago after trying to find a market singing in English) or get dissed by diehard fans who feel the only "real" country is sung in English (preferably by native speakers).....

Time for Hand-Wringing? Or Time to Cowboy Up?
Nashville Skyline
Nashville Skyline
(NASHVILLE SKYLINE is a column by CMT/ Editorial Director Chet Flippo.)

We're inexorably moving toward two separate and perhaps not equal country music societies. And I don't mean traditionalists vs. modernists or Americana vs. mainstream country radio. I mean a total, radical, separatist split.

In this scenario, one segment will be comprised of people who know at least something about country music and listen to it for the qualities that have always appealed to them about the music. That group includes the George Jones and Strait

Those Twitter-ish fans have long been endemic to pop audiences. But they're relatively new in their guise as country fans. It's not a majority, by any means. But it's growing.

Under their aegis, country music becomes totally a popularity contest. And not a lasting popularity contest, at that. One with a butterfly's lifespan.

Guess which audience segment will have the most commercial impact. And that, after all, is the impact that will determine the future of the music.
trad fans as well as NASCAR dudes and chicks and the it's-five-o'clock-somewhere beer-and-margarita crowd. That whole divide itself used to be a serious split between the trads and the others. Now they're all united together against the New Others. The other faction is the adolescent-mentally-if-not-also-physically Twitter-ADHD-short-attention-span fan who flits from one short-lived attractive new act to the next. Whether it's labeled "country" or not labeled at all.

Read Full Article

No comments: