By Brian Dugger, May 30, 2009This survey is about American fans, but it translates into Europe, where stereotypes about country music fans and followers are even more widespread -- and harsher.
A lot of stereotypes are floating around about country music fans. A lot of them aren't flattering and usually involve pickups and guns.
Well, a recent study by the Country Music Association indicates that yes, some fans like to hunt and fish and drive pickups, but the typical fan is pretty much like every other American.
"The key finding of our study is that 40 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 54 are fans of country music, and there is no significant age or income gap from noncountry music fans. They are more likely to be from a small town and female," said Dan Bowen, the vice president of strategic marketing and communications for the CMA.
Even more specifically, the core country music fan is between the ages of 25 and 39, according to the study, which involved close to 8,000 people who agreed to telephone interviews or online surveys.
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As my friend Walter Fuchs wrote in his book Das Neue Grosse Buch der Country Music (Koenigswinter: Heel, 2005):
"[T]hat the German language country song, [. . .] with its interpreters dressed up like cowboys and its partly banal to infantile text has brought the altogether serious German Country Music scene into discredit is undisputed. Numerous friends of country music often do not dare to 'out' themselves in front of their friends for fear of being identified as a fan of German language country songs. [. . .] The German language country song and the original country song from the U.S.A. are worlds apart."I keep returning to this theme -- and I've already posted here about European country singers who tackle these stereotypes in their songs -- the Polish Lonstar, for example, with his song "What's that Country Thing." And even Don Jensen with the iconic "Sauerkraut Cowboys."