Morgan Wallen’s Record-Breaking Streaming Numbers Top Off Surge in Country Music Popularity

by Quentin Blount
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We had a feeling that the new album from rising country star Morgan Wallen, Dangerous: The Double Album, was going to be big. Still, it was hard to predict the Tennessee native’s second album would be this big.

In just three days, Dangerous: The Double Album is responsible for pulling more than 100 million on-demand audio streams. That figure is the most single-week on-demand audio streams for a country album in history, according to Alpha Data. In addition, it broke the record on Apple Music for the biggest single week for a country album in just two days. Meanwhile, on Spotify, it broke the all-time first-day stream record, both of which were previously held by Luke Combs’ What You See Is What You Get. It also broke the global first-day streaming record for a country album debut on Amazon Music.

Talk about a mouthful. The record-breaking numbers from Wallen’s new album show that country music popularity is more alive than ever. The genre is continuing to gain more traction online and is becoming a bigger part of overall listening on streaming services.

Wallen’s rising popularity has been huge for country music, which historically has fallen behind hip-hop, rock, and pop on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. However, Wallen joins an increasing number of country stars that are succeeding thanks in part to streaming. Some names include Sam Hunt, Luke Combs, Gabby Barrett, and Florida Georgia Line.

Dangerous: The Double Album officially debuted at No. 1 on the latest Billboard 200 album chart with more than 265,000 total sales, according to MRC Data, formerly Nielsen Music.

Morgan Wallen is Becoming a Superstar

Dangerous was officially released on Jan. 8 on Big Loud Records and Republic Records. It has no doubt helped push Morgan Wallen toward superstar status, as his rapid rise has captured the attention of music-industry watchers.

The 27-year-old was also on the cover of Billboard magazine this month. Furthermore, The New Yorker magazine called him “the most wanted man in the country.”

Wallen also made headlines when Saturday Night Live dis-invited him as a musical guest after he broke COVID-19 protocols. However, the show sent another invite to him again in December.

“The guy seems capable of becoming Garth Brooks for a new generation,” Chris DeVille, senior news editor at music website Stereogum, wrote this month.

Wallen first entered the spotlight via the TV singing contest The Voice back in 2014. However, he didn’t initially consider himself a country artist. He said he embraced the genre because of his “drawl and small-town background.”

But whatever he did worked: Wallen’s debut album, 2018’s If I Know Me, had multiple country hits.

On Dangerous, Wallen hits on a familiar country trend with song after song about drinking beer and whisky and small-town life. But he also adopts a hip-hop strategy: giving his fans a barrage of fresh content. Instead of the normal 10 to 14 songs a normal album would have, Dangerous has 30 tracks.

Out of the 30 songs, Morgan Wallen personally wrote more than a dozen of the tracks. The new album also contains songs written by popular country artists including Eric Church, Jason Isbell, Hardy, Shane McAnally and more.

Outsider.com