How Country Music Died

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How Country Music Died and the Politics that Killed It by Joe Bonsall

The Death of Country Music

Once a proud and dominant genre, country music has been on a steady decline for the past few years. While some may argue that country music is merely evolving, others would assert that it has lost its way and is dying a slow and painful death. So, how did country music die?

The loss of the original sound

In the 1990s, a new sound began to take over country music. This sound was more polished and produced than the traditional country sound, and it soon became the dominant style on country radio. This new sound was often referred to as “pop country” or “hat act” country, and it was led by artists such as Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, and Faith Hill.

Many traditional country fans felt that this new sound was too slick and artificial, and that it lacked the heart and soul of true country music. As a result, traditional country artists began to be pushed out of the mainstream, and into what became known as the “country music underground.” These artists continued to make music that was true to the original country sound, but they were largely ignored by radio and the general public.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in traditional country music. Artists such as Chris Stapleton and Margo Price have been bringing the sound of real country back to the mainstream. However, it remains to be seen whether this will be enough to save country music from its current crisis.

The influence of technology

The death of country music can be traced back to the rise of technology and the internet. In the past, country music was created and enjoyed by people who lived in rural areas. They would listen to the radio or go to live concerts to hear their favorite artists.

However, with the rise of technology, country music has become more accessible to people who live in urban areas. This has led to a decline in sales of country music albums and concert tickets. Additionally, the internet has allowed people to download or stream music for free, which has further decreased sales.

The decline in sales has led to a decline in popularity, and as a result, country music has lost its footing as a mainstream genre. While there are still some popular country artists, they are not as prevalent as they once were. Country music has become more of a niche genre, and it is no longer as widely enjoyed as it once was.

The changing demographics

It’s no secret that the country music landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. Once a genre dominated by white, male artists, country music has become increasingly diverse, with women and people of color making up a growing portion of both the audience and the artist pool.

However, as the genre has become more inclusive, some fans have bemoaned the death of “traditional” country music. These fans often point to the changing demographics of both the artists and the audience as a primary reason for their dissatisfaction with contemporary country music.

There is no denying that the makeup of both the country music industry and its fanbase has changed in recent years. However, to say that these changes are responsible for the “death” of country music is to ignore both the rich history of diversity within the genre and the fact that many of today’s most popular country artists are still making music that speaks to traditional themes and values.

The End of an Era

It is hard to pinpoint when exactly country music died, but many agree that it was sometime in the late 20th century. Country music used to be a thriving genre with a wide range of sub-genres and a large fan-base. However, it slowly lost its popularity and is now considered to be a niche genre. There are a number of reasons for this decline which we will explore in this article.

The final nail in the coffin

The final nail in the coffin for country music was the mainstreaming of rap and hip hop in the 1990s. Rap and hip hop artists began to collaborate with country artists, resulting in a hybrid genre that was no longer distinctly country. This new genre, often referred to as “country rap” or “hick-hop,” was lesspalatable to traditional country fans.

By the early 2000s, rap and hip hop had fully taken over the music industry, leaving little room for country music. The few country artists who did manage to find success during this time were those who embraces elements of pop and rock, further diluting the distinctiveness of country music. As a result, country music has become a shadow of its former self, a genre that is no longer widely listened to or enjoyed by the masses.

The last gasp

The last gasp of country music came in the form of an unlikely star: Keith Urban. On the surface, Keith seemed like the antithesis of everything that country music had once been. He was a handsome Australian import with movie-star good looks, a smooth voice, and a guitar style that owed more to Stevie Ray Vaughan than it did to Merle Haggard. He favored tight jeans and flashy shirts instead of boots and cowboy hats. And yet, for a brief moment in time, Keith Urban was the shining hope of country music.

In 2006, Keith released his fourth album, Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing. The album was a commercial and critical success, debuting at #1 on the Billboard Country charts and eventually going platinum. It also produced four hit singles, including the #1 hit “Once in a Lifetime.”

For a moment, it looked like Keith Urban might actually be able to save country music. But then something happened that no one could have predicted: Country music died.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when or how it happened, but sometime in the late 2000s, country music simply stopped being popular. Record sales plummeted, radio ratings tanked, and concert attendance went into freefall. The once-mighty genre was now in its death throes, and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.

There are many theories as to why country music died. Some say it was because country artists started making bad music; others say it was because country fans became too old and diehard fans stopped buying new records; still others say it was because Nashville began catering too much to pop sensibilities and lost touch with its roots.

Whatever the cause, there’s no denying that country music is no longer the dominant force it once was. It’s now just another genre fighting for attention in an increasingly crowded marketplace. And while Keith Urban may still be making good music, he can’t single-handedly revive a genre that is already dead and gone.

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