Morgan Wallen Backlash Not Just Ineffective, It’s Counter-Productive
As the criticism of the country music industry at large continues to pour in following the aftermath of Morgan Wallen’s N-word video, his Dangerous: The Double Album spends its now fifth week firmly atop the Billboard 200 for being far and away the best selling and streaming album in all of music at the moment.
This week the album earned an additional 149,842 units in sales and streaming equivalents, including 38,500 in pure album sales, and a whopping 134.8 million song streams. This far surpassed the closest competition, which was The Weeknd and his album The Highlights, which had 88,874 in sales and streaming equivalents, and 88.3 million song streams.
It’s also important to note that the Morgan Wallen rally isn’t losing steam whatsoever. These consumption numbers are roughly equal to what they were last week, and are actually up from the 1st week of February when the controversy first ensued. The Morgan Wallen post-backlash rally has legs.
But wait, what about Morgan Wallen being booted off of country radio and CMT, being shunned by the CMA and the ACMs, being dropped by his booking agent, and having his recording contract suspended, and being removed from curated playlists and recommendations on Spotify and other services? This should all hinder his sales and streams specifically, right?
And what about the incessant onslaught of think pieces, often authored by intellectual elites that look down their nose at a country music community they have no real world experience or connection with? That’s right, these actions aren’t only doing little to hinder Morgan Wallen’s continued success, they’re arguably continuing to fuel his now extended winning streak. Morgan Wallen is being made a folk hero from this moment, and it’s partly the fault of the reaction of the music community, and media specifically.
As Saving Country Music tried to explain two weeks ago, a lack of focus and understanding of the underlying problem is the reason the solution is being rendered not just ineffective, but counter-productive. By pushing away Morgan Wallen and continuing to harp on the subject, his music is being made into forbidden fruit, and his rally is continuing to be fed oxygen. But if you dare cross the musical intellectual literati with this logic, or attempt to offer nuance and context to an issue like this, you’re likely to be accused of racism yourself, or be called a Morgan Wallen apologist.
Well now noted music critic, lawyer, and guru Bob Leftsetz has weighed in, and he offers some very important insights into not just the Morgan Wallen situation, but specifically its interfacing with radio.
“Maybe radio just isn’t that important. That has been the mantra of the major labels forever, especially in the country sphere, radio is everything and you move tonnage without it. But Morgan Wallen’s been off the airwaves for weeks and not only has his business held steady, it’s increased! … Top down has been dying for twenty years, ever since Napster, now it’s all bottom up. The purveyors don’t dictate, the public does! But Bob you say, Morgan’s fans are all racist rednecks! That could be true, well, not completely, but they’re also people sick of the politically correct police.
“So if the goal of the left is to punish Morgan Wallen to the point where he has no career, is wiped from the map, it is not working. If anything, his fan base is growing. Another strategy must be employed to eviscerate hate speech.”
But Mr. Lefsetz doesn’t allude to the half of it. The P1 Media Group conducted a survey in the aftermath of the Morgan Wallen radio ban to to gauge the effectiveness of the move. What they found was absolutely astounding. The group sampled 200 country radio listeners aged 18-54 in PPM markets. Participants were required to be primarily country radio listeners, and 100% of them were familiar with the artist Morgan Wallen. Despite that familiarity, only 18% of country radio listeners knew about the industry’s Morgan Wallen ban from country radio stations and streaming playlists/recommendations.
That’s right, 18%. That means for all the incessant think pieces, all the apoplectic media coverage, and still the permeation level for knowledge of the Morgan Wallen ban among radio listeners who say country music is their primary genre is only 18%. What is the underlying reason for this? It’s likely because mainstream country radio is an incredibly passive medium.
The people that pay attention to radio aren’t really paying attention at all. It’s simply background noise to their commute, or what’s on at their backyard party that barely anyone pays a mind to. They removed Morgan Wallen? Meh, didn’t notice. Or maybe they will turn to streaming, finding radio insufficient for their Morgan Wallen fix. And these listeners certainly aren’t going to have their noses stuck in deep dive think pieces telling them how racist they are for liking Morgan Wallen and country music. Meanwhile, as Bob Lefsetz says, streaming has become king. Listeners listen to what they want to, and whether they’re aware of the controversy or not, they want to listen to Morgan Wallen.
Along with the woeful ineffectiveness of the Morgan Wallen backlash, the other lesson this underscores is just how little relevancy mainstream country radio actually has with mainstream country listeners. If you remove arguably the largest artist on the format at the moment and only 18% even notice—while streams and sales don’t decrease, they dramatically increase—then what value does the mainstream country medium have in the first place?
“The times they are a-changin’,” Bob Lefsetz says. “Morgan Wallen never should have said what he did. He should pay a price for his words. But the point is to get the message to not only him, but those who listen to him. And I’m not sure that is happening in this case.”
February 19, 2021 @ 11:58 am
Some of this is a product of our polarized sociocultural-political environment where consumption is imbued with symbolism around “friend/enemy” dynamics and any given behavior is meant to signal punishment for your opponents in the culture war. Like mask wearing, etc., Morgan Wallen has become a “compressed symbol” whereby conservatives must adopt the opposite position, no matter how irrational, destructive, etc. of their liberal opponents, precisely because it signals a fighting posture in the conflict. This is the heartbeat that animates fascist politics.
It’s worth noting that the rewarding of Morgan Wallen’s behavior is most basically a problem of those doing the rewarding. But beyond that you can get into issue about what tactics are best to help move a large portion of our people captured by this politics away from this kind of forming and reacting to compressed symbols. And this is all of our problem, like you suggest. This kind of dialogue and critique is important. And I think you’re right: public shaming is almost always ineffective.
But some of my worry is that what commentaries like this really object to is the objection registered by “liberals” in these kinds of cases, writ-large, in any form.
This is a very difficult problem to shake a society out of.
February 19, 2021 @ 12:23 pm
” Morgan Wallen has become a “compressed symbol” whereby conservatives must adopt the opposite position, no matter how irrational, destructive, etc. of their liberal opponents, precisely because it signals a fighting posture in the conflict.”
This is definitely part of what’s at play here.
I’ve said since the beginning, you use that word, and you’re responsible for whatever repercussions you have coming to you. Whatever happens to Morgan Wallen is his own fault, because we all know the consequences.
But I also wonder if the backlash has been so demonstrative, including the fact that here weeks later, it’s still the predominant narrative among country music media, that it’s not fueling some of this reactionary backlash to a preventable degree. Morgan Wallen went away after the incident, apologized twice, and has continued to keep a low profile. But the media has been keeping him alive and top of mind, including this week, continuing to goad his supporters to keep up their support. If we all had just moved on after he’d been served his medicine, I’m not sure he would continue to be #1 in all of music right now.
King Honky Of Crackershire
February 19, 2021 @ 1:58 pm
🤡 🤡🤡”conservatives must adopt the opposite position, no matter how irrational, destructive, etc. of their liberal opponents, precisely because it signals a fighting posture in the conflict. This is the heartbeat that animates fascist politics.”🤡🤡🤡
February 19, 2021 @ 2:49 pm
”conservatives must adopt the opposite position, no matter how irrational, destructive, etc. of their liberal opponents, …”
He has that bass-ackwards.
God love him.
But has his eloquent Soc. 101 essay all ready.
February 19, 2021 @ 2:58 pm
Both sides do this, conservatives and liberals, which means Ryan’s statement is correct. It just happens to be conservatives backlashing in this instance. And it’s really lame and gets in the way of progress.
February 19, 2021 @ 3:05 pm
The progress of politically correct country music? I’m not sure who wants this or why. Country music has always been known for being the outsider and not caring what everyone else thinks. It will lose its actual audience if it keeps trying to be politically correct.
February 19, 2021 @ 3:18 pm
It is an idiotic blanket statement/generalization.
Wilson Pick It
February 19, 2021 @ 2:49 pm
You’re kind of demonstrating his point, though. Just sayin’.
King Honky Of Crackershire
February 19, 2021 @ 2:58 pm
……….“You’re kind of demonstrating his point, though. Just sayin’.”……..
I was genuinely curious to see who would be the first person to say this. Congrats Wilson.
Reality is, Wilson, what I’m demonstrating, is that when you talk like a pseudo-intellectual clown, you’ll be treated like a pseudo-intellectual clown.
Wilson Pick It
February 19, 2021 @ 3:26 pm
I guess you’d prefer he drop the n-word.
I’m not trying to be a wise guy. It seems like that’s preferable to you.
King Honky Of Crackershire
February 19, 2021 @ 4:03 pm
…..”I guess you’d prefer he drop the n-word.
I’m not trying to be a wise guy. It seems like that’s preferable to you.”……
I haven’t made any argument in regards to Morgan Wallen’s use of the word ‘ni&&#r’ that involved my personal preferences, and by implying that I did, you just created a ‘Strawman’, which is essentially what Ryan did above, which is how he beclowned himself. The difference between you and Ryan, is that you only Strawmanned me, while Ryan Strawmanned tens of millions of people that he knows nothing about.
I’m a Gen-Xer. I’m from the South and was raised with traditional values of Christianity and basic decency. Where I come from, you only use the word ‘n!&&#r’ as a pejorative toward black folks, ….that’s the only reason to use it, toward a black person, to express disdain. Therefore, it’s not a word I use.
That’s not the world Morgan Wallen grew up in. In the world Morgan Wallen grew up in, where Rap is king, black folks and white folks call each other ‘n!&&#rs, the same way that pasty, Casper-WHITE Millennials call each other ‘Bro”.
Wilson Pick It
February 19, 2021 @ 5:07 pm
How is it a strawman when you literally refer to yourself as a “Morgan Walken apologist”?
You’re being contrarian, and that is exactly what the original comment was all about, and you continue to show that it was dead on.
February 20, 2021 @ 7:30 am
I’m just a year older than Wallen, from a small town in Alabama, went to Alabama. I have no idea where you get the idea that “the world we grew up in” was black and white people using the word…we knew it was racist then (I mean, I listened to soo much rap at that point and have still never used the word), and for Wallen to use it now is, at best, willful ignorance.
King Honky Of Crackershire
February 19, 2021 @ 6:35 pm
You attacked an argument that I didn’t make; that’s a Strawman. And now you’re in denial, despite the fact that I took the time to over-clarify my position for you.
Ryan attacked an argument that millions of people haven’t made.
I am a Morgan Wallen apologist, and I just explained why, and I’ve explained why multiple times. What do you not understand?
February 19, 2021 @ 3:14 pm
He’s dead right, just look at the initial response to covid, mask wearing, and global warming.
February 19, 2021 @ 4:04 pm
It happens on both sides and to not acknowledge that is pretentious and willfully ignorant. Let me guess I bet you just got off the treadmill in Jackson Hole before writing your thesis there Ryan. Politics these days are either you believe in the other sides ideology 100% or you’re the enemy. By your definition both liberals and conservatives would be considered fascist. Of course supporting Morgan Wallen is a horrible way to fight cancel culture and critical race theory, but that’s what I believe a lot of conservatives are viewing it as.. Lest I remind you of Kamala Harris saying she wouldn’t get the vaccine under Trump administration during the debates. How do you defend that? I know there’s a lot on both sides, but I’m just giving an example the contrary of your statement.
February 20, 2021 @ 1:00 am
I wish footage would emerge of everyone who quoted Blazing Saddles and Chappelle Show 10 years ago, and all y’all would be crucified in the Twittersphere.
February 19, 2021 @ 12:09 pm
At this point it’s country radio that needs Morgan Wallen, not the other way around. He’s one of the few newcomers who was having ORGANIC success, not just a series of #s bough for himt by his label. Well, I guess radio is happier with unknown generic males such as Travis Denning, Devin Dawson and others I can’t even remember. Good luck with that!
February 19, 2021 @ 12:25 pm
But then again, if only 18% of listeners noticed he was gone, perhaps you can just do a plug-and-play with another generic male, and nobody will notice. Still, that’s not going to drive new listeners to your medium. It’s just going to prolong the slow loss of listeners you’re already suffering from.
February 19, 2021 @ 8:44 pm
”But then again, if only 18% of listeners noticed he was gone, perhaps you can just do a plug-and-play with another generic male, and nobody will notice”.
this …..the ”passive listener “
February 19, 2021 @ 12:24 pm
A light shines brightly on the hypocrisy of it all. This lame “country” singer says a bad word and gets crucified. Streaming services refuse to play him, etc. ad nauseum. There are currently convicted murders serving time whose music we can stream (C-Murder, for example). Are bad words really trumping the snuffing of human life? All depends on the skin you’re living in.
February 19, 2021 @ 3:27 pm
Sad but true. For whatever reason pop and R&B/hip-hop fans are willing to let their artists literally commit murder and still support them. Rappers throw around the N-word willy-nilly like it’s nothing and no one cares. (Yes, I know the supposed difference between the word ending with “er” and the word ending with “a”; I don’t care. Either way it’s an ugly word and has no place in society.) Back when Chris Brown beat Rihanna to a bloody pulp, not only was he not canceled, but fans declared how much THEY’D want to be beaten up by Chris Brown.
On the other hand, Christian music is perhaps the most unforgiving genre of all. CCM fans expect their artists to be perfect angels and if they show even one hint that they aren’t, they cancel them for life. Have an extramarital affair, get a divorce, or step out of line with fundamentalist doctrine even once, and expect your career to crash, as Amy Grant and Jars of Clay’s Dan Haseltine learned the hard way. That seems to be why Christian artists typically don’t speak out politically or, if asked about their views, keep them vague at best.
February 23, 2021 @ 2:46 pm
I think your assessment on the n-word is a little off. I don’t think it’s always an “ugly” word in black communities. And I do think it may have a place in their communities.
But much of the other parts of your post I agree with. There are musicians that have done worse and still had their stuff played. And there are musicians that have done far less and been entirely canceled (ie The Chicks).
February 20, 2021 @ 1:05 am
Imagine if a feminist said “B**ch” every other sentence, put it in her music, but acted like the greatest offense of a man even uttered the word because of historical sexism. Or if an Asian person did the same with Ch**k, G**k… and became the biggest victim when a non-Asian person used the word? Both would be called hypocrites for constantly using the word, and getting angry that others use it.
February 19, 2021 @ 12:52 pm
All those blue checkmarks and blue checkmark crotch-sniffers ranting, raving, screaming into an abyss of nothing. A total waste of time.
The most prolific 10% of those that Tweet create 80% of Tweets from adult U.S. users:
Talk about an echo chamber and living in an alternative world!
February 19, 2021 @ 12:56 pm
I would ask more about their sampling methods, and get a breakdown of who the 18% were that were aware. For instance, I would go under the assumption that the 18% probably skewed heavily into the 18-30 range since those are more likely to have an online presence and be aware of any “ban” to begin with. Again, just an assumption, but there’s way more than the initial 18% you could get out of that survey if you had the raw data.
February 19, 2021 @ 1:03 pm
But what competition is he facing? Two months ago, Mariah Carey was #1 again with “All I Want for Christmas.” Wait until we get into the heavy of release schedule and there will be shinier objects and he’ll fade to the background without his PR machine.
Jumpin' Jack Flash
February 19, 2021 @ 1:12 pm
I think this whole situation is very telling of the fact that Morgan Wallen isn’t just a generic radio tool. He has an audience and a passion behind him that far surpasses radio. The more “stars” that rise and succeed apart from the radio format, the more realistic and inevitable said format’s downfall is becoming.
February 19, 2021 @ 1:38 pm
Morgan Wallen is one of the best in mainstream right now because he actually sounds country and has authenticity. Personally, I don’t think he should’ve been banned. Should he have said what he did? No. However, I don’t like people telling me what I can and can’t listen to. There is still one station in my area that’s still still playing him because it is independent and that is the only one I’ve listened to since all of this, just due to the fact they aren’t making a choice for me. If radio would’ve just let it be and let people make their own conscious decision, you might’ve seen a decrease in those that listened. They could’ve made the choice to change the station if they didn’t want to hear it. Just like I make a decision to change the station if I don’t want to hear pure pop on country radio or Maren Morris telling me how I should feel about something. Real country audiences don’t like being told what to do and don’t like everything politically being shoved down their throat by artists. I apologize for ranting, but we should be able to make our own choices and not told constantly that we are racist and wrong just because we don’t want to always take a politically correct stance about everything.
February 23, 2021 @ 2:53 pm
I understand your sentiment, but isn’t that exactly how the major radio companies feel too?
It’s their station, they can play what they want. And if they are offended by an artist and want to pull his songs, more power to them.
Perhaps they’ll lose their market share by doing so. But let’s not act like the radio is telling you what to do. They’re making their choice on what to play, and listeners will make their own choice on whether to listen (which is what you did).
February 24, 2021 @ 12:35 pm
I understand what you’re saying with the radios also having the choice, but with your big markets like iHeart and Cumulus it seems to all be about protecting their image, not thinking about what their individual listeners want to hear. The stations that are still independent have more or less left it up to listeners on whether they continue playing him or not. In some areas, the only stations you can get are the major market ones and so that does take away a listeners ability to find a different station if they want to listen to country without supporting those stations. I know just in my area there are about 8 country stations and only one of those are independent.
February 19, 2021 @ 1:45 pm
22% of the U.S. population is on Twitter. Of that 22%, only 10% are responsible for 80% of the tweets, so it’s not surprising that so few people are aware of this “controversy.” Just because something takes social media by storm, it doesn’t mean the rest of the world is listening. Or cares.
February 19, 2021 @ 3:04 pm
This is always a very, very important point to underscore. It’s also important to underscore that 100% of the media is on Twitter, and out of that, the majority using it as their sole or primary window into reality, especially with the pandemic. That is why I am so thankful for these comments sections. It’s healthy to engage with opinions for a wide swath of people, and that are different than your own. On Twitter, you get to curate your experience, which lends to echo chambers.
The vast majority of the think pieces on Morgan Wallen all say the same thing. Not to say it’s not important to hold Morgan Wallen to account and there aren’t important things to be said about the issue, but it’s mostly fashion and signaling for peers on Twitter. It’s having no real world effects, aside from perhaps fueling the backlash to the blacklash.
King Honky Of Crackershire (Morgan Wallen Apologist)
February 19, 2021 @ 1:46 pm
Morgan Wallen is neither a hero, nor a villain. He’s just a dude who was raised in world significantly less racist than the world his grandparents grew up in, where black kids now call white kids n!&&#rs in a friendly way, and vice-versa.
Also, words aren’t hateful unless you’re using them to express hatred.
Here’s an example of actual hate speech: I hate you, you apoplectic, neurotic, delicate, Pasty-WHITE, soy-sucking monsters.
February 21, 2021 @ 9:38 am
Now that was a rare bit of common sense in a sea of clueless babble. Seems like even those saying he _shouldn’t_ be banned, cancelled & hung from a tree feel the need to affirm that “what he did was _of course_ awful & needs to be punished.”
No, what he did was not awful. At worst, it was stupid—b/c by now, everyone should be aware we’re living in an evil time where the wrong word will get you in trouble with insane fascist lefties, who’ve somehow turn control.
February 19, 2021 @ 1:56 pm
It’s all just crap. In no saying that words like that should go unpunished, but seems to me what has been done is just overkill for a liberal agenda. His label could have doled out some punishment and he would have had to face the pr stuff and that would have been sufficient. They are just trying to make country music in their image which isn’t the country music I want to listen to. Nothing wrong with having more women and more diversity but that alone shouldn’t dictate more airplay or streaming. It’s about what the fans want. Quit trying to force me to like stuff I don’t. In this day and age it’s not hard to get your music out there and if enough people like it, these companies will come calling. If they don’t, it’s probably because not enough people were really into it.
February 19, 2021 @ 3:10 pm
So much of the diversity in country music debate centers around radio, while Morgan Wallen—just like Sturgill Simpson, Tyler Childers, Cody Jinks, and Whiskey Myers before him—have proven you can have overwhelming success without any major radio play. Morgan Wallen was outright banned, and continues to dominate. I want women, minorities, or anyone to have the same fair shot as anyone else on country radio. But if it’s not letting you in, choose your own path. Sturgill, Tyler, Cody, and Whiskey Myers have now all earned gold and platinum records without radio.
February 20, 2021 @ 7:34 am
Is it any wonder why women and minorities don’t find success in the country music sphere and typically branch out into pop, rock, or Americana? Those audiences are much more inviting and inclusive, whereas country fans reward an artist for using the n-word. I mean…look at the comments on your own articles. Your own commenters seem to overwhelmingly hate women speaking out and don’t see anything wrong with a white man using the n-word.
February 20, 2021 @ 9:02 am
A few things to unpack here.
First off, making music is a privilege, not a right. It is hard for EVERYONE to make it in music. It is undoubtedly harder for women and minorities to make it in country, and this is something I have been battling against for going on 13 years. But the idea that country artists are choosing to go into pop to find more reception for their music due to race or sex is not exactly what is happening. Conversely, country music and Nashville is being flooded with pop and hip-hop stars claiming to make country because it’s actually easier to make it in than pop, and New York/L.A., and this is the story behind the success of many pop and hip-hop artists in the country space.
I disagree with the characterization that my commenters “overwhelmingly hate women speaking out and don’t see anything wrong with a white man using the n-word.” Perhaps they hate when women speak out and say incorrect or hypocritical things, but I don’t think the average Saving Country Music commenter has a problem with women speaking out. I also disagree they don’t see anything wrong with the N-word. I think the majority of commenters see a problem with it. Hell, even Honky is speaking out against it. Most of the people defending Wallen’s use here are Morgan Wallen fans that have come here via Facebook links or Google. They have a right to this forum as much as anyone. On numerous occasions I have done what I can to set them straight about the use of the N-word, and how there is not a double standard between white and black people.
February 21, 2021 @ 9:44 am
It’s like you simply do not register anything anyone says other than “n-word evil. Morgan Wallen racist. Delete all racists!”
Here there’s a long, somewhat nuanced conversation going on about the different aspects of this… and your takeaway is, “Y’all aren’t inclusive to women & minorities! Bwaaah!!”
February 19, 2021 @ 2:00 pm
I for one am tickled pink Wallen contiues to sell. Not that I agree with what he did and said, but I disagree with the continued hypocrisy of the lib-tard woke crowd. Refer to Oyster Boy post above.
Also, Vince Gil chimed in recently. His statements do not surprise me, especially since he is hob-knobbing around with the leftist Eagles “tribute” band. But he did have one astounding comment that I think was spot-on. And not just because it is what I have been saying. See below:
“”Most people perceive that country music is extremely conservative and I’m not sure if that’s true,” Gill explained. “Maybe the audience might be predominantly conservative, but I don’t know that the artistry is; that the community is so there’s a rub in there.”
He makes a difference between the audience and many artitst. I think this is a fairly accurate statement. Like it or not, I beleive the audience is predominantly conservative. I, for one, am happy about that. Not happy about the Wallen incident mind you.
There is nothing wrong with an audience being a particular make-up. Just look at rap and the predominant audience there. Where the rub comes in, and I do think it will affect the country genre, is when there is a growing disconnect between the artists and the audience. It is not an artist’s duty to try and mold their audience into their particular beleifs. AKA Marren Morris. She thinks it is her responsibility to use country music as her launching pad then turn around and degrade the audience and genre becasue they do not hold to her liberal ideas.
It is sad that many so-called journalists, of which there are very few who are real journalists, use these types of situations to forward their narrative. Trigger has written good peices on this as of late.
February 19, 2021 @ 2:58 pm
February 19, 2021 @ 2:04 pm
Some positive stuff going on now:
Billy Strings Six-show livestream run at The Capitol Theatre. Night one was ELECTRIC and the new songs are killer. Especially “Hide and Seek”
February 19, 2021 @ 3:32 pm
Billy Strings is exceptional
February 19, 2021 @ 4:58 pm
I watched the free one last night and he is so (consistently) good I almost emailed Trigger to get this on his radar. I called everybody else i know to rave about how good he is!
That Dark Star > Love & Regret > Dark Star tho!!1!
February 19, 2021 @ 5:28 pm
Folks, just for the record I am not ignoring Billy Strings. Obviously I’ve been a big supporter of his. But I’ve just chosen to not promote streaming events unless they come up in discussion. There’s just so many of them, and I’m trying to focus on album reviews and getting live music restarted. I’ll make an exception here or there. Didn’t know last night’s stream was free or perhaps I would have jumped on board, just I just finally got my internet back in full today after running off a cell phone for almost a week down here in Texas.
February 19, 2021 @ 5:48 pm
No one’s blaming you.
We’re just giving Billy props.
You can’t be everywhere at once.
Have been wondering since yesterday just how responsible you might be for Charley Crockett and Sierra Ferrell, having recording contracts.
You have given both of them a lot of well deserved exposure.
Thinking you’re a teensy bit responsible.
And thinking a lot, if not all of us, are very relieved that power is back on in Texas.
Jerry Clower's Ghost
February 20, 2021 @ 8:43 am
It’s not back on in a lot of places, including my area in east Texas.
February 20, 2021 @ 10:52 am
Sorry to hear that.
Hoping everyone is back up & running today.
February 20, 2021 @ 10:26 am
First and final night streams are free – so next free one will be Feb. 24 at 8pm CST on The Relix Channel on Twitch. These shows have been the best live stream concert experiences to date.
Not sure how he does it, but him and his team sure can make a live stream feel as close to the real thing as possible.
February 19, 2021 @ 2:10 pm
Compared to the days of evangelicals panicking about satanic backmasking this is nothing. It’s not as if the “liberal elites” are having bonfires with his records. And of course there should be some repercussions for someone doing something so ass-stupid in the days of camera phones and doorbells. If I did that and it got on social media it could be detrimental to my career and it damn well should. I’m not saying that Trigger is suggesting there be no consequences but the idea that a negative reaction to bad behavior is somehow responsible for bad behavior seems like a bad-faith argument to me. I could be misinterpreting some of this article btw, not trying to stir the pot here. In other news I just discovered Whitey Shafer and his wonderful songs through a tribute to Hank Cochrane, for those who definitely weren’t going to listen to Morgan Wallow anyway. And not to beat a dead horse but stay off Twitter and stay coooool!
February 19, 2021 @ 2:54 pm
My grandfather was born in 1880, and I’m sure he would be appalled at both how sensitive this current world is. I never once heard him utter the n-word or any other racial slur, but I think he would find it ridiculous that someone could be punished this much for saying that word.
February 19, 2021 @ 3:12 pm
Is Luke Combs cancelled too?
February 19, 2021 @ 7:48 pm
He apologized, and also he had the luck for his scandal to drop at around the same time as Wallen’s, thus being overshadowed by it. He will be absolutely fine.
February 19, 2021 @ 8:01 pm
It wasn’t even a scandal. It was Margo Price trying to run someone down to prop herself up. Luke handled it very well and did the right thing.
strait country 81
February 19, 2021 @ 8:17 pm
Combs lost any respect i had for him this week.
King Honky Of Crackershire
February 20, 2021 @ 8:45 am
Yeah, it’s sad to see folks neuter themselves. I’m not a Confederate flag guy myself, but if you are a Confederate flag guy, then be what you are.
Did you see Ryan Upchurch’s apology? It’s grand.
February 22, 2021 @ 3:11 pm
Don’t like his music but upchurch has got a future as a comedian.
February 23, 2021 @ 3:03 pm
I think there’s a difference between holding someone accountable for something recent, and something many years ago.
The goal is to weed out the remnants of racism, and hopefully get people to see other perspectives. That’s why the Luke Combs thing doesn’t bother me. He seems to say the right things, and no longer associates with that flag.
Hopefully, Morgan too will improve himself and broaden his horizons. If he were to never be held accountable though, he may be using the same language 10 years down the road.
February 19, 2021 @ 3:16 pm
even if it is a dog pooping out turds. the second they say something racist or bigoted. Trump supporters will jump on it like bees on honey. you should buy great music, not bad music covered with controversy . sad indeed.
February 19, 2021 @ 6:14 pm
Check your TDS at the door, glaze face; this has nothing to do with Trump or his supporters. You leftist ninnies are still letting Donald live in your head rent free. It’s a beautiful thing.
March 9, 2021 @ 11:06 am
Liberalism is a mental disorder
Wallen needs better heroes
February 19, 2021 @ 3:35 pm
I’m done with Morgan Wallen, not because he said the N word. I’m done with him for for being a white country kid from small town Tennessee emulating thug/hip hop culture. He needs to have more respect for himself and the people who listen to him.
February 19, 2021 @ 6:14 pm
I’m with you, but not every rapper is a thug. I just think there are better musicians and singers out there who are less confused about what country music is.
King Honky Of Crackershire
February 20, 2021 @ 8:36 am
….”I’m done with him for for being a white country kid from small town Tennessee emulating thug/hip hop culture.”….
You have hit the nail on the head. In a sane world, C(c)ountry fans would be turning on Wallen for how country he isn’t.
February 19, 2021 @ 4:19 pm
I don’t care what this young man says or what words he uses.
Nor do I applaud what he did.
But it’s refreshing to see what happens when the lynch mob crew is shown to be without any influence whatsoever.
The really problem is this young man’s apparent alcoholism and his failure to obtain treatment.
I hope he does, very soon.
February 19, 2021 @ 4:41 pm
Agreed. He needs help. There is no reason why a 27-year old man with a child should be shitfaced for 3+ days.
February 19, 2021 @ 4:28 pm
I was born in 1940 and I’ve seen some damned things in my life, but low and behold, “cancel culture” is easily one of the most pointless things I’ve seen in years. And trust me, I’ve seen some insane things in my life, stories so crazy you would hardly believe them today.
February 19, 2021 @ 5:01 pm
I for one am shocked…that after feeding country fans R&B, Hip Hop and Pop in a country wrapper a guy comes along that sounds country and country fans gravitate. SHOCKED!
February 19, 2021 @ 5:06 pm
This dillhole’s current inexcusable SNAFU aside, that necrotic marmot he’s got gorilla glued to his scalp should’ve been enough to relegate his music career to busking on the sidewalk outside the local dollar tree a long time ago. No disrespect to Trigger but this is a bit heavy for me on a Friday. Time to crack a cold one and wash the week away for a bit.
February 19, 2021 @ 7:14 pm
I was one the few African Americans on social media not pissed off at dude and a bunch of virtue signalers were at my neck. What he did was wrong no doubt. The N word is an ugly word that I wish personally that I didnt use. My mother and grandparents don’t use it because they grew up in the South during Jim Crow.
I also showed sympathy for him because he obviously has a drinking problem. (Which he addressed in his apology video) my heart really tore for him because I am close to two years sober and I fortunately didn’t have TMZ recording me during my blackouts and benders.
Also celebrities rarely get cancelled. Only us working people get our lives ripped from us when we do something wrong on camera. He will be fine. He’s probably going to do a song with Kane Brown and the music video will be a mock protest and a redneck and gangster shaking hands or some other insulting garbage.
His Dangerous album was treacherous to get through (give or take a few songs..) and the people sticking it to the libs by listening to it are fine by me.
fyi: this is not me agreeing with what he did. This is not “thr black person on the internet saying its okay that a white dude said the N word” bc its literally not okay. But I grew up around addicts. This is what they do. I hope he gets better for the sake of his child. Us in the working class needs to stop that generational trauma now.
February 19, 2021 @ 8:27 pm
”It’s likely because mainstream country radio is an incredibly passive medium.”
well duh ….if people don’t care about the inferior music they are being fed why should they care about the ‘artists’ feeding it to them ? passionate COUNTRY fans know where to find the real stuff ….and its not mainstream ‘country’ radio .
February 19, 2021 @ 8:49 pm
Willie’s Roadhouse, Sirius XM.
Willie’s I Won’t Dance, ft. Diana Krall from ticker tape above is great!
Video is Adorable
North Woods Country
February 19, 2021 @ 8:39 pm
If other people weren’t canceled every single day over inoffensive things, this truly offensive thing done by Morgan Wallen would have been disastrous for him. That’s the honest-to-God truth, but the faux-journalists at other outlets are going to run with “Country music/America is even more racist than we thought!”
February 20, 2021 @ 12:42 am
I listen to Garths channel on Sirius XM sometimes. I think it’s funny his station will play Michael Jackson, but I bet you will never hear Morgan Wallen on it again.
February 20, 2021 @ 1:48 am
What a nightmare this all must be for Wallen. Watched his youtube video plea to fans to stop helping and I feel for him. Just at the start of his career, and if he can’t change this narrative he’s going to be the guy whose concerts are filled with white people who support other white people who say the N word, and that will be it. He won’t be canceled, he’ll be pigeon-holed. And what an awful pigeon hole to get stuck in. Meanwhile, what the hell was he doing covering Isbell’s song about a hard won sobriety when he’s clearly still trying to decide where rock bottom is. I guess Isbell wrote it looking back, and Wallen sang it as a sort of fantasy imagined future, looking forward. I hope he gets there and sheds his newfound culture war affiliations that everyone keeps hanging around his neck along the way.
King Honky Of Crackershire
February 20, 2021 @ 8:32 am
You seem pretty tore up over this.
Let me ask you something. Do you honestly think this is the first time in Morgan’s life that he’s called one of his friends a n!&&#r? Or is it more likely, that this is merely the first time he was videotaped while doing it?
February 20, 2021 @ 8:42 am
Good point. There are avenues to defend Morgan Wallen, and characterize the response for something he said to be disproportionate compared to things other artists have actually done. But this defense of “Hey, black people say that word all the time” is hurting their cause and Morgan’s, not helping. He did the right thing by telling his fans to not defend him in that manner, but they’re not listening.
February 20, 2021 @ 2:08 am
Obviously educated beyond your intelligence. College freshman?
February 20, 2021 @ 5:06 am
Perhaps many of those buying have little or no knowledge of his comment? Perhaps they just like his music? He always seemed to me to be artist heading for the top but likely to self-destruct, alcohol being the issue. The use of the ‘n’ word was a disgrace but might not have happened but for the alcohol? He is not the first country singer to have an alcohol issue and will not be the last. One does wonder how the likes of Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, George Jones and others would have survived in the present climate. There were country artists much more racist than in the past. I do not for one moment condone the use of the ‘n’ word by Wallens or indeed anyone but surely how and where he used it and to who has some relevance? I hope he has learnt his lesson and I hope he get get his drinking under control.
February 20, 2021 @ 7:08 am
For those of y’all that care about mountain music, Lee Boy Sexton passed away this week at the age of 93. He was a musical giant, a wonderfully kind man, and the definition of the genuine article. Dean Osborne was able to sneak a banjo into the care facility where Lee spent his last days, and he was picking on the day he died.
February 20, 2021 @ 7:45 pm
That guy was a hero, and he was probably too modest to admit it even to himself.
February 20, 2021 @ 8:58 am
I doubt that this wallen instance is a general reflection of the impact having your tune do well on radio rotation has on your economic success.
Just a flukey one time thing.
dumping the guy for a drunken mouthing off incident is nonsense, but easy come easy go in the music bus.
vince gill written about this now.
February 20, 2021 @ 10:06 am
If anything, I’m disappointed in MW for outing himself as a wigger, not for saying a word. Talk about liberal fragility when words end up melting their brains.
Anyways, let me get this straight. The Boomers on here constantly talk about how we need “real” country artists, and every dope who drops a country album these days has at least two songs about how we need to go back to “outlaw country” and have those “real rebels” back in the music business. But then we get MW…
[x] He drinks
[x] He fights
[x] He f**ks
[x] He is actually from small town TN and wasn’t made in a factory
[x] He has never claimed to be a saint, if anything, the opposite
But nope, he was out one night drinking, fighting and f**king, said a word with an “a” at the end, and all of a sudden he is a pariah, a racist, and has a drinking problem. This just goes to show how the whole industry is kayfabe; it’s all made up nonsense for 45yo wine moms and 18yo boys trying to be masculine.
I generally expect better thought leadership from this site, but I’ve been quite disappointed by the reaction here because Trigger is also afraid of the “cool anti-racists” who would go after him next if he said anything outside of the current orthodoxy. Let’s do better and have a bit more critical thought.
February 20, 2021 @ 5:40 pm
“I generally expect better thought leadership from this site, but I’ve been quite disappointed by the reaction here because Trigger is also afraid of the “cool anti-racists” who would go after him next if he said anything outside of the current orthodoxy.”
Wait, you think that people aren’t coming after me for my opinions on Morgan Wallen? I was called a racist numerous times for writing this very article. I’ve been called a racist for every single article I have written on the Morgan Wallen issue. If I’m trying to be cool with the anti-racists, I’m horrifically failing.
February 20, 2021 @ 7:51 pm
“it’s all made up nonsense for 45yo wine moms and 18yo boys trying to be masculine”
Nut, meet shell.
February 20, 2021 @ 11:22 am
a word is not racist, the intention of the person saying it is or isn’t – as is the case here, there was absolutely ZERO judgement, no sense of superiority/inferiority nor hate in the way Morgan used the word , sadly some people have no life, no common sense or no conscience and try to gain a sense of satisfaction by baselessly labeling others as ‘racist’ without any genuine basis or grasp of context , the best way i can sum up these sort of people is – https://youtu.be/2l6JUNFAJ9o
Lori Was Right
February 20, 2021 @ 4:24 pm
This place is turning more right-winged political every day. Lori was right.
February 20, 2021 @ 5:32 pm
I’m not sure who “Lori” is. But I can assure you there’s nothing “right wing” about this article. This article is about taking an honest and cool-minded assessment of how the Morgan Wallen situation is being handled, and how it’s very likely an over-reaction is fueling his continued success, while the lesson of the moment is not being conveyed to the public. If anything, this would probably be a left-wing perspective, though I really don’t think any political affiliation is being asserted here at all.
Also, Bob Lefsetz who was quoted in this article is about as left wing as you can get. When he’s not going on tirades about music, he’s going on tirades about politics. Often, the two are combined. I think his wisdom and perspective here is very sage, and it’s back up with a study and statistics. Billboard actually released an article after mine delving deeper into the numbers of Morgan’s continued success.
If you’re into signaling, perhaps this article doesn’t sit well with you. If you’re into substantively addressing problems and concerns, I feel the information and perspective conveyed in this article (primarily by Bob Lefsetz) would be smart to consider.
February 20, 2021 @ 5:25 pm
It’s hilarious that the countless handwringing “think pieces” seem to be backfiring. In a weird way, that’s good for the authors because they get more fodder from Wallen’s popularity and they really only write to one another anyway. So it’s just a weird cycle of outrage. They’ll find some other target eventually.
February 20, 2021 @ 5:36 pm
Their target was never Morgan Wallen. It’s country music.
February 21, 2021 @ 10:05 am
I’m not a huge Morgan fan, but I do think some cancel-culture punishments don’t fit the crime. I feel, for example, that an (unintentionally?) offensive outburst from Morgan or tweet from Roseanne Barr shouldn’t necessarily be “career ending.” Sometimes an apology and maybe a short-term time-out are sufficient. If there’s no path to redemption, there might ultimately be legitimate concerns for the ostracized person’s mental health, the sort of concerns that Roseanne’s friends have had, for example. Do we really want someone to kill themselves over an unfortunate tweet or drunken outburst? The Left are big on anti-bullying campaigns, yet ironically, a lot of this cancel-culture stuff is really just a righteous form of bullying.
February 23, 2021 @ 3:09 pm
I think it’s possible to be both held accountable, and also be given a path to redemption. I’d like to see people change their perspectives and become better humans, not careers ruined.
As I said before though, if people aren’t held accountable, they won’t change and improve.
And I do agree with you that there may be a middle ground in accountability between a short tweet and being blackballed from the industry. Hopefully, they find it.
February 24, 2021 @ 10:16 am
Bill Burr has a solution. The Disgrace Channel.
February 24, 2021 @ 9:59 am
Hmmmm….I’m an avid Country fan,and until his “N-word” controversy,I wouldn’t have known Morgan Wallen from Adam. Kinda says something about 2021 Country,doesn’t it ?
February 24, 2021 @ 7:59 pm
Taylor Swift just hit the top of the country chart with a re-recording that charted on the same chart in 2008. Country hasn’t been country for quite awhile.
February 24, 2021 @ 4:32 pm
Look at TikTok and all the white people dancing and lip singing to songs with the N word in it, no one says a thing about that, they get tens of thousand likes. Why do the same people who support those people want to cancel all these other people is my question?
February 25, 2021 @ 9:25 am
“The times they are a-changin’,” Bob Lefsetz says. “Morgan Wallen never should have said what he did. He should pay a price for his words. “But the point is to get the message to not only him, but those who listen to him. And I’m not sure that is happening in this case.”
The writer may want to look at his own bias before he attempts to address someone else’s. “But the point is to get the message to not only him, but those who listen to him. And I’m not sure that is happening in this case.” has a guilty by association/judging tone based solely on the information that someone likes MW as an artist. There’s an inference there that fans must believe the way MW does because they listen to his music. The author makes the statement as a means to address a social issue, which in this instance, makes the judgement acceptable when it would not be in any other context. If you think I’m making too much of this, substitute the name R Kelly into the paragraph and see how you feel about it then. MW fans listen to him for his musical talent. Not his values. Stop judging us by his actions.
As for MW-it’s an interesting look at how narrowly focused people can be. We all agree that based on a video from the neighbor’s Ring he goes out, gets drunk, comes home and falls face down by the mailbox. He gets up, makes it to the sidewalk leading to the porch where he yells across the lawn to a friend “Take care of that Pu88y a88 motherfu88er” and “Pu88y a88 ni888r/a” in reference to either getting another friend home safely or getting him laid (I’m not sure which). He then stumbles on the stairs and goes inside. The neighbor releases it to TMZ and the fall out/punishment begins. All of that is fact.
The other fact that no one seems to be talking about is that as far as I can find, no one and I mean no one has stepped up to the press to say that Morgan Wallen has actually ever treated them in a manner that was different than he’s treated anyone else based on the color of their skin or ethnicity in a business or personal setting. Nor has anyone stepped up to say that he’s used the word in their presence or in reference to them and they were offended. Think about that. He’s been in music for at least 8 years. He’s had to have met and worked with thousands of people. Not one word from anyone. We’ve publicly labeled a guy a racist (big side debate by some if he can legitimately use the word due to musical associations) on his use of a word but other than that we don’t have any evidence to support the statement. Nor does it seem that anyone cares that no one has stepped up. It doesn’t appear that anyone is even questioning why no one has stepped up. In any other instance than this one that would be unacceptable but here it seems to be ok. MW has some work to do concerning his drinking but we have our own problems to deal with and they may not be the one we’re currently addressing.
February 25, 2021 @ 9:38 am
“There’s an inference there that fans must believe the way MW does because they listen to his music. The author makes the statement as a means to address a social issue, which in this instance, makes the judgement acceptable when it would not be in any other context.”
I appreciate your perspective on this matter, but I’m not sure this is entirely true. Bob Lefsetz says as part of the quote included here,
“But Bob you say, Morgan’s fans are all racist rednecks! That could be true, well, not completely, but they’re also people sick of the politically correct police.”
The context here is not making a judgement call on Morgan Wallen’s fans. In fact, Bob appears to be pushing back against that. The context is Morgan Wallen’s sales, and how the incessant think pieces calling country music and Morgan Wallen fans racist is not hurthing them, it’s arguably helping them.
As for your final paragraph, on numerous occasions when covering this topic (though not in this particular article), I have pointed these things out, and been called racist for it. I agree the context of how he used the word is important.
Country When Country Wasn't Cool
February 27, 2021 @ 3:27 pm
96.7 Merle FM in Knoxville TN is playing Wallen again after LISTENER feedback and allowing THEM to decide what and who should be played on the station. Pay attention, corporate America…THIS is how you run a business. You serve your customers, not your batsh*t crazy woke overlords.