The 9513 Last.fm Chart Update (12-13-09)
Last.fm has put together a list of the Top 1000 artists for 2009. Artists tagged as country take up… eight spots. By way of comparison, “pop” has 121 artists, “folk” has 80 and “melodic death metal” has 26.
Last.fm’s Top 8 Country artists of the year are, by order of where they ranked in the Top 1000:
- #13 Taylor Swift with the album Fearless (5,512,011 plays)
- #77 Neko Case with the album Middle Cyclone (1,553,592 plays)
- #211 Ryan Adams & The Cardinals with the album Cardinology (679,153 plays)
- #583 Rascal Flatts with the album Unstoppable (230,822 plays)
- #591 Keith Urban with the album Defying Gravity (227,605 plays)
- #596 Jessie James with the album Jessie James (224,785 plays)
- #711 Ilse DeLange with the album Incredible (174,602 plays)
- #975 Justin Townes Earle with the album Midnight At The Movies (98,907 plays)
Three of the eight are mainstream favorites, three are Americana favorites, one is a pop singer who puts some country elements into her songs (that would be James I’m describing, not Swift), and one is the most popular Dutch country singer around. DeLange, the most unknown of the group in the U.S., once released an EP of John Hiatt songs, so she’d probably rank closer to Americana than mainstream country. If you throw related tags like “alt-country” and “Americana” into the mix, you get 10 more artists, led by Wilco at #102 and M. Ward at #141.
Clearly, country fans are in the Last.fm minority, but this data isn’t scientific by any measure. For one thing, it’s based on worldwide Last.fm users, and country music is still a predominantly American genre (with apologies to Canada and Australia). There were more than a few artists in the Top 40 that are British artists I’ve never heard of before now. Secondly, the list measured plays from new/recent albums, which explains why popular artists like Carrie Underwood and Johnny Cash got left off the list, as they didn’t have new albums in the time frame. It doesn’t look like you can break down the data to take only U.S. Last.fm users, but that might bring a few more country artists into the mix as well.
The 9513 group, incidentally, has now grown to 138 people, with members in more than a dozen countries. So from its humble beginnings, our group has gone international. One the recent articles posted to the group, by the way, was a review of Taylor Swift at Wembley Stadium. If you want a take on how one of country’s biggest stars was received overseas, check it out.
Last.fm Top Artists
It’s a bit of a down week for listenership, as no artist topped the 30-listener mark. Maybe everyone was out Christmas shopping and left their iPods at home. George Strait took the top spot with 28 listeners, followed by Cash at 27 and Underwood at 25, marking her best performance in some time. Dolly Parton jumps into the Top 10, with 23 listeners putting her at #7. The group of artists at #10, all with 21 listeners, include Gary Allan, Swift, Trisha Yearwood, Lady Antebellum and Toby Keith. The only real new release for the week was Jimmy Buffett‘s new Buffet Hotel, but he just had 7 listeners. We are not a Parrothead-heavy group, apparently.
Last.fm Top Albums
There are 14 albums in the Top 10, and just two of them (Paisley’s American Saturday Night and Jamey Johnson‘s That Lonesome Song) were from male vocalists. They both had 10 listeners to come in at #10. Miranda Lambert was #1 with Revolution, which had 16 listeners. Carnival Ride and Play On from Underwood had 14 and 13 listeners respectively, and Fearless from Swift also had 13 listeners. Kellie Pickler had a #5 album with Small Town Girl, which may be the first time she’s ever charted in the Top 10 in pretty much any of our Last.fm charts. I’m not sure what brought that on… she seems like a nice person and says all the right things about country music in interviews, but I’ve never gotten the appeal of her singing. If her next album is as traditionally country as she says it will be, she might find herself in the Top 10 much more frequently.
Last.fm Top Tracks
Now that people are weaning themselves off Lambert’s new songs, this chart is getting interesting again. This week, Lady Antebellum moved up from #2 to #1, with 11 people listening to “Need You Now.” Thinking back, I can’t recall a band ever being the #1 artist for The 9513’s charts, but that may change when this new album comes out. Lee Ann Womack had two of the three songs tied for #2, with “I May Hate Myself In The Morning” and “Last Call” having 9 listeners, along with Lambert’s “White Liar.” Strait had 8 listeners for “Twang,” as did Allan’s “Songs About Rain.” There are nine songs tied for #9 with 7 listeners, including Zac Brown Band‘s “Toes,” Steel Magnolia‘s “Keep On Lovin’ You,” Pickler’s “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You” and The Avett Brothers‘ “I And Love And You.” Last year, there weren’t a lot of holiday songs that did well on the charts, but Elvis Presley made it up to #39 this week with “Blue Christmas,” which had 5 listeners.
Billboard Country Songs
Not only is “Need You Now” still #1, but it’s also at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Lady Antebellum some very significant crossover success. Craig Morgan‘s “Bonfire” moves up unfathomably to #4, and Dierks Bentley‘s “I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes” enters the Top 5 at #5. “White Liar” moves up to #10, but Swift’s “Fifteen” wasn’t so lucky. After peaking at #7 last week, it moves down a couple places to #9. I’m sure the call went out to the legion of Swiftheads (or whatever they call themselves), and they all got their parents’ permission to bombard their local radio stations with requests. Also falling backwards are Rascal Flatts’ “Why” (from #19 to #22) and Pickler’s “Didn’t You Know…” (#25 to #28). Womack is also having a problem with “There Is A God,” which peaked at #44 last week and fell back to #48 this week.
Billboard Country Albums
Yes, Fearless is still #1, so we’ll just move on. Sugarland continues to gain momentum with Green And Gold, which moved from #5 to #3. There it will sit unless it can get past the Swift-Underwood blockade. There were some big gains made by Urban’s Defying Gravity, which moves from #19 to #17, and Rosanne Cash‘s The List, which went from #21 to #16. Every week it sells well makes The List II more likely. Too bad her albums with original material haven’t done nearly as well.
Americana Music Association Chart
The Top 5 haven’t changed, with The List still at the #1 spot. Chip Taylor‘s Yonkers NY moves up from #8 to #6 with 261 spins, and David Rawlings Machine moves into the Top 10 with A Friend Of A Friend getting 232 spins. James Hand moves up five spaces, with Shadows On The Ground getting 148 spins, good for #23.
The AMA also listed its Top 100 albums for the year, and the Top 10 were:
- Buddy & Julie Miller – Written In Chalk (8,188 spins)
- Steve Earle – Townes (7,501)
- Slaid Cleaves – Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away (7,384)
- Flatlanders – Hills And Valleys (7,015)
- Willie Nelson and Asleep At The Wheel – Willie And The Wheel (6,591)
- Gourds – Haymaker! (6,580)
- Tejas Brothers – Tejas Brothers (6,519)
- Levon Helm – Electric Dirt (6,516)
- Justin Townes Earle – Midnight At The Movies (6,236)
- J.J. Cale – Roll On (5,998)
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