Alan Jackson Tops Most Listened-To Classic Country Artists in the World

via Liberty Games

Normally these viral-style maps make their way across the internet, and you can’t help roll your eyes at the usually ludicrous conclusions, and the questionable methodology behind them. Are we really supposed to believe that In-n-Out Burger is the best fast food joint in Texas, and Raising Cane’s is the best in California? Get out of here with that mess.

But this study was sent to Saving Country Music, and not only is it plausible and the methodology solid, it’s super interesting and in-depth with its findings, and they line up with anecdotal notions we’ve heard about different geographic regions for years.

Liberty Games out of the UK calculated the most listened-to artists and songs across the world over the past 12 months by using play counts from the YouTube Video Music Charts. They started by identifying the top players in each genre, and then retrieved the view counts per country for each artist. Since YouTube is the most widely-distributed service across the world, this is probably the most democratic and accurate way to do this type of study.

Even more interesting is that as opposed to highlighting the current popular country artists, they decided to focus on classic country artists, or what they called “old-school” country artists, which is super cool. Coming out on top was Alan Jackson, with Shania Twain, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash, and George Strait right behind him in regards to total streams. Kenny Rogers was the most popular artist in the most countries with 39.

The most interesting thing is what artists are most popular in which countries. For example, we’d always heard that for whatever reason, Don Williams is super popular in Africa, which has a surprising amount of classic country fans. In certain parts of Africa, Don Williams is like Hank Williams. Sure enough, in the Liberty Games study, Don Williams was the most listened-to artist in Nigeria, Gabon, Burundi, Malawi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and other African countries.

For some reason, Kenny Rogers is super huge in the Asian Pacific region. How did we know this before? Because strangely, the restaurant chain Kenny Rogers Roasters that long ago went defunct in the United States actually has scores of locations still open and serving chicken to this day in the region. Lo and behold, the study finds that Kenny is huge in the Philippines, Tonga, and Fiji, and is also big in South America.

These kinds of affirming findings occur throughout the map, including that Johnny Cash is big in Europe. You can see how certain artists resonate regionally and culturally in different parts of the world. Then there are some strange wild cards, like Hank Williams Jr. being huge in Laos, and Conway Twitty being the most popular in Pakistan.

What this study best illustrates is that true country music is appreciated worldwide, and that its appeal crosses cultural and geographic boundaries. Though country music is a distinctly American art form, everyone can and should enjoy good country music.

CLICK HERE for a full-sized map.
CLICK HERE to see the full study.

© 2023 Saving Country Music