Country Billboard Chart News March 6, 2017
In Brief: Billboard Country Charts (Chart issue week of March 18, 2017)
Country Album Chart ** No.1 (1 week) THE BREAKER Little Big Town
Hot Country Songs ** No.1 (4 weeks) ** “Body Like A Back Road” Sam Hunt
Country Airplay ** No.1 (1 week) ** “Sober Saturday Night” Chris Young
Country Digital Songs ** No.1 (5 weeks) ** “Body Like A Back Road” Sam Hunt
Billboard Top 200 / Country Album Chart News (Chart issue week of March 18, 2017)
The Billboard 200 chart measures multi-metric album consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
Future debuted at No.1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart (BB200; dated March 18) with HNDRXX, his fifth chart topper. It replaced his own self-titled album, which bowed at No.1 a week earlier.
Future is the first act in the nearly 61-year history of the chart to achieve back-to-back No.1 debuts in successive weeks. The rapper is also the first artist to succeed himself at No.1 on the Billboard 200 at all (counting not only debuts) since 1968. He's additionally the first soloist ever to claim the honour.
HNDRXX bowed with 121,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending March 2, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 47,571 were in traditional album sales, 63,000 were in SEA and 11,000 were in TEA. (All units are rounded to the nearest thousand.) HNDRXX was released on Feb. 24 through A-1/Freebandz/Epic Records.
Little Big Town landed their fourth top 10 album, as THE BREAKER made a bow at No.4 with 51,000 units (43,561 from traditional album sales). The group previously visited the top 10 with PAIN KILLER (No. 7 in 2014), TORNADO (No. 2, 2012) and THE REASON WHY (No. 5, 2010).
Little Big Town has the second-most top 10s among country duo/groups this decade, trailing only Lady Antebellum, which has five top 10s since 2010. (Lady Antebellum has a total of six top 10s, stretching back to its 2008 self-titled release.)
The Breaker was led by the Taylor Swift-written single “Better Man,” which spent two weeks at No.1 on the Hot Country Songs chart (the group’s third leader on the tally). Over on the Country Airplay chart, it has spent the last two weeks atop the list, the act’s second #1 following up on 2012’s “Pontoon.”
Aaron Watson closing out the BB200 top 10 who notched his first top 10 set with the arrival of VAQUERO (39,000 units; 36,767 in traditional album sales). Watson made his national Billboard chart debut more than 10 years ago, when his SAN ANGELO album debuted on the Top Country Albums chart dated April 22, 2006. He arrived on the Billboard 200 two years later, with ANGELS & OUTLAWS (April 19, 2008).
Vaquero marked Watson’s fifth charting set on the Billboard 200, and bucking the current trend each successive release has reached a higher peak. Angels & Outlaws reached #175 in 2008, The Road & The Rodeo hit #150 in 2010, Real Good Time topped out at #81 in 2012 and THE UNDERDOG hit #14 in 2015.
Billboard Top Country Albums (Chart issue week of March 18, 2017)
Top Country Albums now ranks the most popular country albums of the week, as compiled by Nielsen Music, based on multi-metric consumption (blending traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA), and streaming equivalent albums (SEA)).
10 digital track sales from an album = 1 track equivalent album (TEA) “sale”
1,500 on demand song streams from an album to one streaming equivalent album (SEA) “sale”.
Nielsen Music compiles the sales and streaming data. Billboard continues to publish pure album sales charts (subscription to billboard biz ), exclusively comprising Nielsen’s sales data.
Little Big Town’s eighth studio album, THE BREAKER (Capitol Nashville/Universal Music Group Nashville), marked the group’s third No.1 on Billboard Top Country Albums and the third to arrive atop the survey, as it started with 51,000 equivalent album units of that sum 43,561 were from pure sales.
The new set, produced by Jay Joyce, followed 2016’s pop release WANDERLUST (not classed "country"), the quartet’s collaboration with star pop/R&B writer-producer Pharrell Williams which debuted on the Billboard 200 at #105 selling 5,720 copies;
Before The Breaker, LBT last charted on Top Country Albums with PAIN KILLER. In the week ending Oct. 26, 2014 it sold 41,979 copies and made a bow at No.7 on the BB200 (#3 Country). The following week its sales were 12,195 a 71% slump (2-week total 54,214). LBT’s fifth studio set TORNADO (released Sept 11, 2012), powered by its hit lead single, "Pontoon," opened with a No.2 start on the Billboard 200 giving the quartet its highest charting album ever with best sales week (112,758 copies sold, then 50,321 copies sold in week 2 down 55%). It also netted the group their second No.1 on the Country Albums chart and more than doubled the first week sales of previous release THE REASON WHY (started at the summit on Sept. 11, 2010; 42,000 sold). By Dec 20, 2012 “Tornado” had sold 502,858 copies scanning GOLD at retail.
LBT first hit Top Country Albums with its debut self-titled set (No. 40, 2002), followed by The Road to Here (No. 12, 2006) and A Place to Land (No. 10, 2007), the first of the band’s five Top Country Albums top 10s.
Critical reception for Little Big Town’s The Breaker:
Sounds Like Nashville Annie Reuter (Rating: Positive) The standout “Happy People” kicks off the album and immediately pulls the listener in with its slick beats and memorable lyrics. Written by Lori McKenna and Hailey Whitters, the song is as refreshing as they come as it paints the picture of a world of happy people who don’t cheat, lie or steal. Instead, they learn to lift each other up and put smiles on their faces...The nostalgic “Free,” written by an A-list songwriting team of McKenna, Barry Dean, Natalie Hemby and Luke Laird, continues the feel-good vibe as the band vividly looks back on childhood memories....Additional highlights include the wistful “We Went to the Beach,” hauntingly beautiful “Beat Up Bible” with Kimberly Schlapman on lead, and the guitar-driven “Rollin’....On “When Someone Stops Loving You,” Jimi Westbrook’s soulful voice is at the forefront of the heartbreaking track of a man trying to move on after a relationship’s end....Throughout the 12 tracks on The Breaker, the listener is taken on a journey of emotions. While some bring a smile to one’s face with nostalgia, others are more emotional with tales of heartache and hurt. All the while, Little Big Town’s ability as vocalists is showcased and the songs selected leave a lasting mark on the listener.
Daily Mail (Rating: Mixed) The quartet gets back to their country roots on “The Breaker” after exploring an electronic side with Pharrell Williams on 2016’s exciting “Wanderlust.” They may have come home, but without much purpose...The band’s famous shimmering harmonies are as airy as ever under the guidance of longtime producer Jay Joyce, although
EW.com (Rating: A-)....Although the rest of The Breaker may not be blessed with the T-Swizzle magic, there are some more strong contenders for your next breakup playlist. “When Someone Stops Loving You” gets all the post-dump details right, while the title track crushes you softly from the heartbreaker’s perspective. But the album isn’t all wistful mistiness: LBT’s glistening harmonies beam a little California sunshine on “Night on Our Side,” which anticipates that “we might live forever for a little while tonight.”
Newsday.com (Rating: B+) BOTTOM LINE Expanding the definition of country music from the inside
But this is a return on their own terms. The compressed vocal harmonies of “Drivin’ Around” makes them sound like Roxette. The opener, “Happy People,” sounds more like “Rumours”-era Fleetwood Mac than the bro country that currently fills country radio.
Paste Magazine (Rating: 7.7) ….For as much fun as Wanderlust often was, the sound of The Breaker is really the band’s wheelhouse. That’s why even those brassy moments that pop like pyrotechnics—the jump from the pleasant opening song “Happy People” to the in your face of “Night” was particularly jarring—aren’t hard to digest. The group quickly settles into the tried and true, and they sound great doing it.
Music News.com (Rating: 5 STARS) ...While producer Jay Joyce and the quartet have crafted a sound that is relevant to the here and now, it is conversely the old school timelessness that makes this pop country effort such a runaway success. Centering flawlessly on the striking vocals and spine tingling harmonies that define the group's sound, it is strange to think the campaign was started by the album's weakest cut.....The Breaker is the perfect offering from a band who have annoyed their fanbase with an experimental release.
Texas country artist Aaron Watson began at No.2 on Top Country Albums (#10 Billboard 200) with VAQUERO (BIG Label/Thirty Tigers), his seventh charted title (and third top 10) with 39,000 equivalent album units (36,767 in pure sales), his biggest sales week to date.
Watson’s most recent release, THE UNDERDOG, debuted atop the chart dated March 7, 2015 (26,340 sold). The album has sold 75,800 copies in the US as of August 2016.
His first top 10, Real Good Time, debuted and peaked at No. 9 on the Oct. 27, 2012-dated list (6,000).
For over a decade Aaron Watson has been one of the Lone Star State's heaviest hitters. National trends have come and gone during those 15 years — country-pop, hick-hop, bro-country — but his spurs-and-Stetson traditionalism remains unchanged. He's the kind of country artist you'd take home to mama: a church-going family man whose songs are filled not with AutoTuned vocals and half-lit salutes to Jack Daniel's, but fiddle solos and PG-rated lyrics that sing the praises of truck stop coffee, Frank Sinatra and marital bliss..... "I've been doing this for 15 years, 12 albums and 2,000-plus shows," he shared in 2015.
Critical reception for Aaron Watson’s Vaquero:
American Songwriter (Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars): The disc’s name refers to the original Spanish horseman which led to the iconic North American cowboy from this country’s past. Similarly the sweet, slightly clichéd title track — a bit too reminiscent of fellow Texan Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles” — about meeting an old vaquero in a bar adds Mexican flourishes to its agreeable if predictable story. Elsewhere Watson brings enough honky-tonk, folksy C&W, singer/songwriter tunes and even some moderate doo-wop (on the chirpy two stepping “One Two Step at a Time”) for a few albums worth of material.....Watson’s knack for shaping sharp, hooky choruses makes this eleventh edition to his catalog not just a worthy complement to The Underdog, but a textbook example of his talents in a genre overflowing with shapeless, cookie cutter “bro country,” little of which is half as enjoyable or well-crafted as the majority of Vaquero.
Sounds Like Nashville (Rating: Positive)…Watson continues to do what he does very well on Vaquero. Whether this album breaks him through on the airwaves of the stations that control the charts remains to be seen, but somehow I don’t quite think Watson is going to fret that too much. His fans are going to pick up this disc, and will continue to buy tickets to his live shows. That’s how he’s built a successful brand – and continues to do so to this day.
Saving Country Music 1 1/2 Guns Up (6.5/10)…This isn’t a concept record though. Vaquero has quite a few fun moments in it, especially at the beginning. Watson and producer Marshall Altman have a good ear of taking traditional instrumentation like a fiddle, and feeding it into more contemporary arrangements to give you sort of the best of both worlds. No, it’s not pure country, but it’s not complete pap like the radio blurts out either. Though traditional country fans often get yoked with believing the contrary, country music must evolve, and artist like Aaron Watson and an album like Vaquero is one example of how it could without completely disconnecting from its roots. The song “These Boots Have Roots” is a pretty good example....Aaron Watson is an optimist, and a pragmatist. And though a swath of independent and traditional country fans tend to find themselves generally turned off by these things—only identifying with country music that breaks the heart—Aaron Watson is adhering to the very first rule of independent and traditional country: be authentic to yourself.
3,374,000 (Physical sales 2,285,000 (down -7.9%) + Digital sales 1,089,000 (down -19.3%)) which is 11.9% down at the same point in 2016 (3,831,000 sales)
Year-To-Date Digital Tracks
12,390,000 down 21.6% at the same point in 2016 (15,806,000)
Billboard Country Airplay (Chart issue week of March 18, 2017)
Chris Young with “Sober Saturday Night,” featuring Vince Gill (RCA Nashville), ascended 2-1 in its 39th chart frame on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart (dated March 18),
The song increased 5% to 41.4 million audience impressions in the tracking week ending March 5, according to Nielsen Music.
“Sober,” which Young penned with brothers Brad and Brett Warren, is Young’s eighth Country Airplay leader and the third straight from his fifth studio album, I’m Comin’ Over, following “Think of You,” with Cassadee Pope (May 14, 2016), and the title track (three weeks, beginning Nov. 26, 2015).
Gill’s return to No.1 makes for a historic achievement on Country Airplay, which launched Jan. 20, 1990.
“Sober” marked his first No.1 in 23 years and one week, since “Tryin’ to Get Over You” topped the March 12, 1994-dated list. (“Sober” is his sixth total leader on the list.) His gap between No.1s is the lengthiest in the chart’s archives, besting Alabama’s 17-year, six-month and oneweek break between “Reckless” (Nov. 27, 1993) and the band’s featured turn on Brad Paisley’s “Old Alabama” (June 4, 2011; notably, that song interpolates a piece of Alabama’s classic “Mountain Music”).
“It was an honour for Vince to agree to be part of this song,” Young told Billboard. “His harmonies and guitar solo escalate everything. It’s one of my favorites on the I’m Comin’ Over record.”
*** No.1 (1 week) *** "Sober Saturday Night” Chris Young feat. Vince Gill 41.421 million audience (+1.980 million) / 7,853 radio plays (+397)
** Most Increased Audience ** No.2 “Dirt On My Boots” Jon Pardi
** Most Added ** No.27 “The Fighter” Keith Urban feat. Carrie Underwood (# ADDS)
** Hot Shot Debut ** No.58 “Greatest Love Story” LANCO
Billboard Country Digital Singles Chart
(Chart issue week of March 18, 2017)
Sam Hunt with “Body Like a Back Road” (MCA Nashville) held at No.1 on the Billboard Country Song Sales Chart for a fifth successive week selling 62,000 downloads (5-week total 309,000). On the overall Digital Song Sales chart, it held at #4 four places behind the No.1 “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran.
Little Big Town with “Better Man” rose 4-2 (#34-24 Digital Songs; 29,000 sales; 20-week total 514,000).
Jon Pardi with “Dirt On My Boots” rose 5-3 (#39-34 Digital Songs; 22,000 sales; 23-week total 372,000 ).
Keith Urban with “The Fighter,” featuring Carrie Underwood (Hit Red/Capitol Nashville), slipped 3-4 (#30-37 Digital Songs; 21,000 sales; 9-week total 250,000).
Florida Georgia Line feat. Backstreet Boys climbed 6-5 (#41 Digital Songs; 20,000 sales; 4-week total 123,000).
Brett Young with “In Case You Didn’t Know” rose 7-6 (#49 RE Digital Songs; 16,000 sales; 22-week total 263,000) as his new track “Something I'm Good At” made a debut at #7 (#50 RE Digital Songs; 16,000 sales).
Zac Brown Band with “My Old Man” climbed 15-8 (15,000 sales; 4-week total 73,000)
Michael Ray with “Think A Little Less” moved 10-9 (14,000 sales; 11-week total 212,000)
Luke Combs with “Hurricane” rose 12-10 (14,000 sales; 14-week total 212,000)
Outside the Top 10
Keith Urban with “Blue Ain’t Your Color” fell 9-11 (12,000 sales; 33-week total 851,000).
In his second frame Dustin Lynch with “Small Town Boy” fell 2-13 (12,000 sales; 2-week total 43,000)
Country Aircheck MEDIABASE Chart
6 March 2017
Chris Young Hits #1 With 'Sober Saturday Night'
Congratulations to RCA NASHVILLE artist CHRIS YOUNG for scoring the #1 spot on the MEDIABASE Country singles chart this WEEK with "Sober Saturday Night," featuring VINCE GILL,
Congrats to Chris Young, Steve Hodges and the RCA promotion team on scoring this week’s No. 1 with “Sober Saturday Night,” featuring Vince Gill. The song is the third chart-topper from Young’s current album I’M COMIN’ OVER. It marked Young's ninth career #1.
The song logged 8,568 radio spins (+422) and 58.88 million audience impressions (+2.427 million) with 26014 Total Points from 158 tracking stations for the tracking week February 26 to March 4, 2017 and published chart March 6th 2017.
Kudos to New Revolution’s Rob Dalton, Jeff Solima and staff on notching 41 adds for Big & Rich’s “California”. The song topped the "Most Added" board this chart week.
For a detailed report check out Country Aircheck Weekly Issue 540 - March 6, 2017 [PDF File]
For the very latest up to the minute Mediabase Chart (Past 7 Days) go here - www.mediabase.com
Billboard Boxscores (Selective Country concerts)
Rank Artist: #19
Event Venue City/State: Eric Church Palace of Auburn Hills Auburn Hills, Mich.
Dates: Feb. 25, 2017 Gross Sales: $1,233,087 Attend: 18,940/ 18,940
Shows/ Sellouts: 1/1 ** SOLD OUT ** Prices: $89, $25
Promoters: Messina Touring Group/AEG Live
Rank Artist: #29
Event Venue City/State: Blake Shelton, RaeLynn Tacoma Dome Tacoma, Wash.
Dates: Feb. 25, 2017 Gross Sales: $769,381 Attend: 14,155/ 15,218
Shows/ Sellouts: 1/0 1,063 unsold tickets Prices: $68, $32.50
Promoters: Messina Touring Group/AEG Live
Latest Billboard Boxscore Chart