This story has been updated.
There’s a awards show bump, and then there’s Chris Stapleton’s awards show bump. After shocking the country music world by walking away with wins for New Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Male Vocalist of the Year at the 49th Annual CMA Awards, sales for his debut release Traveller have positively exploded to unprecedented levels, especially considering the general malaise album sales are in across music.
HITS Daily Double estimated that after Stapleton’s wins and a high-profile performance with Justin Timberlake at the 2015 CMA’s, the songwriter turned performer sold an estimated 150,000 new copies of Traveller. That’s good enough to take the #1 all genre spot on the Billboard 200. It bested his nearest competition, Eric Church and his surprise album Mr. Misunderstood, by roughly 74,000 albums. Stapleton will also get credit for an additional 26,000 albums in streaming equivalent plays from folks who listened in on Spotify and other places, for a grand total of 176,000 estimated albums.
***UPDATE: According to Billboard‘s official numbers, Stapleton took #1 with 177,000 equivalent album units earned, and sold 153,000 pure album units. That would put him up a ridiculous 6,412% from 2,000 units the previous week.
All of these numbers are virtually unheard of, and fueled by the fact that Stapleton was a virtual unknown heading into the CMA presentation. Traveller sold 27,000 copies upon its debut on May 5th, 2015, and had only sold a total of 93,900 copies as of late October heading into the CMA Awards. That means Traveller sold nearly 56,000 more copies in the two days following his CMA wins than the record sold total since May.
Along with the dramatic album sales, the song “Tennessee Whiskey,” written by Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove, and originally recorded by David Allan Coe, along with the title track “Traveller,” stayed steady in the Top 5 on the iTunes chart well after the wins, and “Tennessee Whiskey” continues to be one of the top tracks in all of music, beaten only by Adele’s smash “Hello.” (NOTE: Adele has recorded a Stapleton-penned song previously). Stapleton moved some 250,000 individual digital tracks after the CMA’s. Justin Timberlake’s “Drink You Away”—the other song the Stapleton/Timberlake pairing performed—has also held onto the #5 spot since Wednesday night.
UPDATE: Chris Stapleton’s version of “Tennessee Whiskey” sold 131,000 copies according to final numbers, good for #2 on the all-genre Digital Songs chart.
The final tabulated numbers will be released Monday morning (11-9), however one thing is for sure: The 2015 CMA Awards did not just announce to the world who Chris Stapleton is, they launched the next major country music franchise. Despite radio completely neglecting Stapleton ahead of his wins, music fans liked what they heard, and have voted with their dollars in a dramatic way.