Since its launch in October 2016, Amazon Music’s Country Heat franchise has become a vital platform for established and new artists as country fans increasingly turn to streaming for their listening needs.
The Country Heat brand, which includes the Country Heat playlist, Country Heat radio station and the recently launched Country Heat Radio in DJ mode, has hit a milestone, surpassing 13 billion US streams since launch, according to new data from the digital service provider. Additionally, from 2017 to 2020, streams on Amazon Music’s Country Heat radio station quadrupled. The numbers make sense because more than 59% of country fans – who have been slower than hip-hop and rap fans to embrace streaming – are now actively playing music, according to a presentation at the Country Radio Seminar of this. year. Overall, streaming increased 15% during the first half of the pandemic, according to MRC vice president / research chief Matthew Yazge.
To celebrate, Amazon Music has dubbed October Country Music Month. Initiatives include the launch today of the new Whiskey & Tequila playlist, which mixes regional Mexican songs and country music. Emily Cohen, who serves as Senior Country Music Curator for Amazon Music, worked with members of Amazon Music’s Latin team, including Senior Music Curator Amaya Mendizabal and Senior Music Programmer Ernesto Sánchez, to develop the hybrid list.
While established artists such as Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Garth Brooks (who has an exclusive streaming deal with Amazon Music) and Miranda Lambert continue to reign among the top-streamed country artists on Amazon Music, much of the growth flows for the country The Heat brand was fed by new artists.
Niko Moon and Gabby Barrett are among the newcomers who have seen their streams skyrocket over the past year, with Moon’s “Good Time” and Barrett’s “The Good Ones” being the two most-listened songs by all. country artists on Amazon Music’s country charts (and through Amazon Music in the US) in 2021. Both artists have received support from Amazon Music since their debut.
“With Gabby, we first saw ‘I Hope’ really come up. [our] charts before she even signed with Warner [Music Nashville]”Cohen says.” We’ve released a short film that helps tell his story and we’re part of that rise. “
In October 2019, Moon’s “Good Time” was selected as part of Amazon Music’s Launchpad program, which supports an emerging artist through an eight-week programming campaign.
“’Good Time’ really reacted and kept reacting, so if my job is to play the hits, this song would raise its hand like a hit,” Cohen says.
“With programs like Launchpad, [Amazon Music is able to] take the song and stream it to all the big country fans across the country, all in an instant, ”said Moon Billboard. “I remember exactly when it happened. I was playing shows, [there was a] difference between before and after with people coming to me and telling me that they had heard my music on Amazon in the reception lines or when I was hanging out after the show.
Along with Moon and Barrett, Carly Pearce and Tenille Arts are among the 20 most listened to artists on Country Heat in the United States this year.
Country artists have also found enthusiastic listeners through Amazon Music’s Originals program, which features artists recording a song exclusively for the digital service provider.
Among the 10 most streamed country originals on Amazon Music are Mickey Guyton’s cover of Beyoncé’s 2008 hit “If I Were a Boy”, Pearce’s version of Chicks ‘”Cowboy Take Me Away”, Maddie &’ s version. Tae from “Meet in the Middle” by Diamond Rio. And Brett Young’s interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
The Whiskey & Tequila Playlist kicks off with a new Amazon Original featuring Walker Hayes and Mexican regional artist Carin Leon with “Fancy Like (Carin Leon Remix-Amazon Original)”. Hayes’ original version of “Fancy Like” has been one of the top three most requested songs of any genre via Amazon’s cloud-based voice service Alexa for the past three months.
While listening to country music has skyrocketed, Latin music has also increased for the service. Listening to Latin music on Amazon Music has grown 94% year-over-year, globally, according to Amazon Music. In Latin America, Latin music consumption increased 280% on Amazon Music.
The recently launched Whiskey & Tequila playlist also arrives as new artists such as Kat & Alex and Frank Ray make serious forays into the traditional country market with deals with major labels.
“There have been artists of Latin origin who have made country music, like Freddy Fender, The Mavericks and Kat & Alex. We know there is a cross between country music and regional Mexican fans, ”Cohen said. “We feel that there is a sound connection and that there is an audience that listens to both regional Mexican and country music. On Whiskey & Tequila, we will present artists like Carin Leon and Christian Nodal, then country hits that fit in perfectly with that.
Other initiatives rolled out this month include an October 12 performance and Q&A by Reba McEntire for Amazon.com/live, promoting the McEntire box set. Revisited Remixed Revisited, released on October 8. Breakthrough Country Live on October 5 will feature up-and-coming artists Reyna Roberts, Sophia Scott and Ryan Garrett. There will also be new Amazon Originals from Pearce and Ashley McBryde and Ryan Hurd.
For Cohen, the goal is to provide the broadening of the spectrum of country music sounds.
“It’s just a reflection of the genre and where the genre goes. Country music is not a monolith,” Cohen says. “It’s a lot of different artists creating a lot of different sounds… Here are those artists who have influences country, hip-hop, Latin, R&B, so it’s just the evolution of the genre. “
As further proof of commitment to country music, in August, Amazon Prime Video announced that it would host the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards in 2022, marking the first time that a major music awards ceremony had been held. broadcast exclusively.