Taylor Swift. Toby Keith. Rascal Flatts. Rodney Atkins. Tracy Lawrence. Tim McGraw. Garth Brooks. Trisha Yearwood. Emerson Drive. Jason Aldean. Little Big Town. Jack Ingram.
These are just a few of the artists who dominated Country radio in 2007. Nielsen's year-end BDS chart for Country music airplay are out, and, by my count, independent labels (which does not mean these some of labels don't have distribution via major labels) account for 38% of the Top 100 Songs of the year. That's got to be some kind of high-water mark in this era of major label consolidation. Here's the label breakdown. Here's the top artist breakdown.
I don't know if this is a tipping point for the rise to prominence of the indie label scene in Nashville, because a label's individual financial health and future is based on much more than radio airplay. But it ought to be a signal that the major labels are not the only place to find talented, charismatic artists creating commercial art.
I don't have the countdown breakdown by music publisher, but so many indie publishers involved with country music are having incredible successes as well.
So are we in an era of de-consolidation? Do artists, songwriters, and publishers feel encouraged? Challenged? Emboldened? Insecure? Please let me know your thoughts.