Experts say country music is seeing a huge boom in streaming during the pandemic, including success for many Oklahoma artists.
Billboard says country music has seen a huge boom in streaming in the midst of COVID-19, while most other genres are seeing a decline.
Experts, like Director of Oklahoma State University’s Music Industry Program Dr. Mark Perry, said there are several different reasons country is resonating.
“We see the disappearance of sports, live sports, and the disappearance of concerts, live concerts and something has to fill that void,” Perry said.
Oklahoma-born star Garth Brooks has been bringing fans performances through Facebook live.
Red dirt genre artists Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen released an album together during the pandemic.
“A lot of young people, even if they don’t listen to as much country music as they used to. They remember it from their childhood, and I think there is something very calming about remembering one’s childhood,” Perry said.
Local artists are also providing new content.
Musician Ben McKenzie, based out of Oklahoma City, has replaced in-person gigs with virtual concerts during quarantine.
“They get to see the artists kind of in their own natural element. In their homes or with their friends. It also can be awkward at first. When you can’t see them, you don’t know what to say into the microphone or just to your phone, but I think you do give a little bit of yourself to them,” McKenzie said.
Stillwater artist Isaac McClung released a new album to streaming platforms during the pandemic.
“Being able to connect with people during quarantine is really good for me, good for my heart. I got to play for people that don’t live in Oklahoma and family friends that are all over the world,” McClung said.
According to the experts, this nationwide country streaming streak is likely far from over.
“Country music listeners were actually lagging in streaming music. I think that maybe this COVID-19 epidemic has actually pushed those people to start streaming music,” Perry said.