The Country Music Association (CMA) looks at the growth of the country music audience, provides stats on the country music listener and examines current trends in music consumption among fans of the genre. Among other things, “Getting To Know The Country Listener” shows that more than half of U.S. adults (51%) listen to country music, a growth rate of 9% over five years.
Some 76 million Americans listen to country music weekly or more, while 35% (45 million) listen a few times a week, and 31 million (24%) listen to country at least once a day.
Much of the growth comes from Millennials, who make up 57% of the country music listening audience according to the CMA report. The format also does well with upper demos, with 50% of 55-69-year-olds and 45% of those 40-54 saying they listen to country music “monthly or more.” There’s no shortage of younger country music listeners as more than 10 million of those aged 12-17 connect with country music.
Country listeners are spread relatively evenly across the nation with growth in both major markets and small towns. From 2014-18 there was an increase of 12% in the top 25 largest cities. For cities with a population of under 40,000 the increase was 13%. The country audience is getting more diverse, with 55% growth over the past five years within the African American population and 15% growth among Hispanics.
When not listening to country, the majority of the audience (84%) turns to rock and classic rock as their music of choice. Pop is next (79%).
The majority of country listeners (72%) own their own home and more than half (51%) are employed full-time. Nearly half (47%) have children and 35% have graduated college. The average household income of country music listeners is $81,100, while 65% of Millennials earning a household income of more than $110,000 are country music listeners.
Country listeners are all about family, with 87% saying the enjoy spending time with their families. They are also a heal-conscious bunch, with 65% reporting that they try to eat healthy and 56% exercise or play a sport weekly. These listeners also like to give back to their communities as 78% say they are willing to help out others without a benefit to themselves and 71% are willing to volunteer their time for a good cause.
Technology is prevalent in the lives of country listeners with 82% using a smartphone, compared to 77% of the general population. Country listeners spend a good amount of time online, with 64% saying they spend five or more hours online each week and 53% visit social networks multiple times a day. A quarter of all country listeners have spoken to a digital assistant in the last month, the CMA report found. Country listeners prefer quality over price with 74% saying it is worth paying extra for quality goods. The audience is also very loyal to the brands they like with 87% saying “when I find a brand, I stick with it.”
CMA’s report found that the consumption of country music outpaces the industry with a 63% growth in music streaming for the genre compared to a 47% growth for the music industry as a whole. They also listen 58 minutes more per day than the industry average and spend more money annually ($392) on music than the average fan.
Country listeners don’t just listen to music in their cars and at home, 23 million have attended a country concert in the last year, while 21% of country concert-goers attended three of more concerts in the last year. Nearly half (48%) of country listeners between the ages of 18-54 attend concerts or festivals, while 53% of 18-20-year-olds do the same.
CMA will present the full findings from “Getting To Know The Country Listener” at the Country Radio Seminar 2019, Feb. 13-15, 2019 at the Omni Hotel in Nashville.