Last night, at the urging of my 3 year old, I fired up Spotify to play a “Dadda Song” to help him fall asleep. Choosing the right song for you kid to fall asleep to is a tough one: You want it quiet enough to be soothing, but for a music lover like myself, I also want to be sure he remembers the classics. I fired up some George Jones, and imagine my surprise when I saw that we were ONLY listen number 15,000,714 of “He Stopped Loving Her Today”!
Now, I am not here to preach how bad new music is, I certainly understand people’s tastes vary, and the influence popular radio has on all this, but how does (Arguably) the best country song ever have only 15 million streams?
This inspired me to do some digging, and I will admit up front that my research was simply based on the top-ten songs listened to on each artists official Spotify page, but it was telling: Conway, Merle, Hank Williams, Loretta, and Roger Miller don’t have a single song listed in their top-ten with over 15 million streams. Jerry Reed only has one, and I think we all know why.
Neither Levon Helm, Billy Joe Shaver, or Jerry Jeff Walker have more than a single song with over 1 million streams in their top ten (Guy Clark has 5 songs with over 1 million). You could argue these are regional acts, but come on…
There is hope though, as many of the greats do have such strong followings that their numbers are sky high: Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings all have several million streams of all of their songs. Here is another pleasant surprise: John Prine is relatively unknown by my generation, but has seen a HUGE resurgence in the last few years and is releasing a new album in April. He has at least 10 songs with over a million streams, and “In Spite of Ourselves” is closing in on 10 million.
I do have two theories that may explain some of the lack of spins on digital outlets: The people who love this music own it physically and choose to play in that way in their home or car, and that many of these artists have several different greatest hits albums with version of that same song and only one currently listed in their “Top 10”. I suspect both play a role and that the latter is definitely true, since there have been approximately 19,000 streams of “He Stopped Loving Her Today” since my son and I listened to it last night.
What’s the take away from this? Doug doesn’t have any articles finished for this week yet, he had an annoying day yesterday and wanted to vent, or that maybe we all need to sit down once in a while and remember the songs that got us into music in the first place…. Pick one, they all apply.