Last week it was neck and neck heading into the final tally. Would it be country legend Alan Jackson coming in with the #1 album in country music, or upstart Americana songwriting maestro Jason Isbell claiming the top spot? Either way, the winner was country music by being granted a much-needed reprieve from the dominance of Bro-Country on the album charts, at least for a week or two.
In the end Isbell ended up inching out Jackson by just a few hundred albums. A late rally saw Isbell surge to just over 46,000 albums sold, speaking to the independent artist’s fervent fan base and a strong pre-order campaign.
The downside to the horse race was that someone worthy of the recognition had to lose the #1 spot. With a narrow lead heading into the final days, Alan Jackson’s PR people actually declared the victory for themselves, making for some awkward moments after Billboard finally confirmed Isbell sold a few hundred more albums than Jackson.
But no need to fret Alan Jackson fans. Alan’s new album Angels & Alcohol still attained a #1. Here on the second week after its release, Alan Jackson bested all others in country music to claim the #1 spot. It’s his 14th #1 album overall. According to HITS Daily Double’s unofficial numbers, Alan Jackson sold an additional 19,212 albums to stay ahead of all the competition. Ashley Monroe’s debut of The Blade was good for second with 10,985 albums sold, and Jason Isbell’s Something More Than Free came in third with 10,862 additional units. Sam Hunt came in fourth.
Amidst the changing climate of music consumption, older artists and independent artists are performing better on album charts per capita than their mainstream counterparts because many mainstream fans don’t bother to buy albums, but stream their music through services like Spotify. By pre-ordering and purchasing albums, fans of older and independent artists create more revenue for the artists and their labels comparatively.
The party at the top of the Billboard Country Alums chart won’t last long though. Luke Bryan’s new album to be released August 7th will surely put a damper on things.