I often catch myself humming a song that’s stuck in my head. Maybe it’s something I heard mixed into the Pandora Top Hits station, or it could be from a video that auto-played on Vevo. Eventually, I’ll learn the name of the artist, and come to find out they’re from a genre I didn’t think I liked. Does my liking and singing a song by an artist known as a country singer mean (*gasp*) I’m a fan of country music? If so, how does that affect my interest in listening to their music or watching them perform? Is my shower-singing of Carrie Underwood’s Before He Cheats the start of my journey down a road of country music?
Apparently I am not that unique! It turns out that being a fan of a song does not necessarily mean that you are a fan of the artist that sings it; and being a fan of an artist does not necessarily mean that you’re a fan of the genre that they belong to. Who knew?
Carrie Underwood is unique however – as one of country music’s biggest stars, she has over 73 million fans, according to The NPD Group’s BrandLink service. Her popularity extends far beyond country music; and only one-half of her fans also describe themselves as a fan of country music! That’s a lot more than normal (typically about 70 percent of an artist’s fans do also consider themselves to be fans of the artist’s genre.) Of these non-country-music-fans who are Carrie Underwood fans, a whopping one-third are African-American/Hispanic, which is double the incidence of African-American/Hispanics among self-identifying country music fans.
The upcoming Country Music Awards broadcast on Nov. 2 will likely attract droves of Carrie Underwood fans who want to see her named CMA’s Entertainer of the Year. Adding in the other nominees -- Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban – it brings the collective fan base of all nominees to over 100 million. Will the broadcast attract more viewers this year, perhaps pulling in those who otherwise don’t consider themselves to be fans of country music? If so, that could mean not only a higher viewing audience overall, but one that was more diverse than advertisers might have expected.