The pop influences on the country music coming out of Nashville and heard on your local terrestrial country radio station are so great that it can no longer be called an influence. Calling it that implies that the music is actually country with pop leanings here and there. This is most obviously not the case. This is pure pop music coming out of your speakers….at least most of it is. Country radio has become Top 40. A recent check of the top 20 songs on the country chart by Inside Nashville has only 25% of them being actual country songs.
When hit with this painful reality, many industry professionals (both radio and records) like to calm the complainants with talk of the Ten Year Music Pendulum. This states that every ten years the music pendulum swings between pop and real country influences. So don’t worry…it will swing back soon and the pop loving fans will be complaining about too much twang in their country music. Really? When do we hit that 10 year mark? Who is keeping track? Is this simply weakness and laziness on the part of Nashville dependent radio? Possibly this was real back in the day, but such a theory is clearly invalid in today’s on-demand world with so many options available to a country music loving listener / consumer.
There was a time that we had to eat whatever country radio was serving. There was nowhere else to go for our country music other than the record store (remember them?). And even then we were at radio’s mercy for new music discovery. If you didn’t like a song you were hearing on the radio you either suffered through it or punched out and came back because you figured that you would eventually hear a country song that you liked. If the pendulum happens to be fixed in the pop influence position, you’re out of luck for 10 years. We’ve been a captive audience….until now.
Now we can go to one of the various streaming services and create our own playlists and listen on multiple devices….and love every song. Satellite radio (SiriusXM) has grown into a quality and reliable source for country music…and NEW country music. You will hear many good country songs there that your local radio station isn’t playing and probably never will. There is no reason to stay and wait or leave and come back in the hope that you will eventually hear a good country song.
No offense to very talented pop artists like Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood and others in heavy rotation at country radio…but we now know where to go to find our Ashley Monroe and Jamey Johnson music. The 10 Year Pendulum Theory is dead (if it was ever a real thing). Country music loving consumers are now option rich! Enjoy your newfound freedom.