Business Notes: Country Music a Sad Song of Sorry Sales

Country Music a Sad Song of Sorry Sales

When the Academy of Country Music staged its annual awards hoedown last week, the winning crooners were wearing their best show-biz smiles. But the more common expression on Nashville's Music Row these days is a long face. Only five years ago, country's popularity was growing dramatically, thanks in part to the 1980 movie Urban Cowboy. But when the fickle mainstream audience abruptly lost its fascination with the Texas two-step, sales turned sour. While total record-company sales have grown 13% since 1980, to $4.3 billion last year, country-music revenues have dropped 6%, to $430 million.

Economic woes in two of country's strongholds,...

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