Morgan Wallen's Sales Skyrocket After Racial Slur Controversy - Rolling Stone
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Morgan Wallen’s Sales Skyrocket After Racial Slur Controversy

Despite being removed from playlists, Wallen’s streams did not dip on Wednesday. His digital album sales also rose 1,220 percent

Morgan Wallen holds onto the Number One spot on the Artists 500 amid controversy.Morgan Wallen holds onto the Number One spot on the Artists 500 amid controversy.

Morgan Wallen

John Shearer*

Despite the country music industry’s swift withdrawal of support for Morgan Wallen after a video of him surfaced Tuesday night using a racial slur — a breakneck fall from grace that has included much of the radio industry pulling his songs from airwaves, his contract with Big Loud Records being suspended “indefinitely,” and the Academy of Country Music halting his “potential involvement and eligibility” for this year’s awards — the country singer lost no support from his fans on streaming.

Wallen’s sales increased 1,220 percent on Wednesday compared to Tuesday, while his song sales were up 327 percent, according to Alpha Data, the data analytics provider that powers the Rolling Stone Charts. And despite being removed from playlists like Today’s Country on Apple Music and Spotify’s Hot Country Songs, his streams did not dip on Wednesday at all. (Wallen’s music remains on the services since his label, Big Loud, has not removed any material.) Wallen’s on-demand audio streams were up 6 percent, while his programmed streams increased 16 percent compared to Tuesday.

Wallen did, however, see a 79 percent drop in radio spins on Wednesday and Thursday compared to the previous two days, according to Alpha Data, after radio chains including iHeartMedia, SiriusXM, Entercom and Cumulus Media announced they were pulling his songs from airwaves.

According to Variety, Cumulus Media sent program directors a note saying, “Effective immediately, we request that all of Morgan Wallen’s music be removed from our playlists without exception.” An iHeart spokesperson told Rolling Stone, “In light of Morgan Wallen’s recent actions involving the use of a racial slur, we have made the decision to remove his music and content from our stations effective immediately.” Entercom and SiriusXM also confirmed they had removed Wallen’s content from their platforms.

But there were a handful of stations still playing Wallen through Thursday, one of them being the Florida station WHEL-FM, serving Fort Myers and Naples, which, according to The News-Press, was previously called Trump Country before changing its name to Hell Yeah 93.7. Other stations that showed no signs of pulling his music include Bama Country 98.9 in Montgomery, Alabama, and 106.7 The Buz2 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

After a video surfaced on TMZ of Wallen using the n-word, he issued a statement calling his behavior “unacceptable.” “I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever,” he said. “I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.”

Wallen has emerged in the past year as one of country music’s biggest streamers and an indestructible force on the RS Charts. His sophomore album Dangerous: The Double Album broke the record for the biggest debut for a country album in RS 200 history, and shattered Luke Combs’ record for the highest single-week streams for a country album. Dangerous is currently in its third week at Number One on the RS 200, while Wallen also is in his third week atop the Artists 500, the first country act to top the chart three weeks in a row.


In This Article: Morgan Wallen


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