Revolutionary: Whiskey Myers Goes Gold / Cody Jinks Goes Platinum

photos: (Brad Coolidge / Khris Poage

Ladies and gentlemen, the country music independent revolution is here. No longer is it a hypothetical, or a “what if ?” or something to look forward to in the future when artists that receive virtually no mainstream radio play or opportunities can compete or even best their mainstream competition. We’re now living in that era. And it’s only just begun.

Going Gold via RIAA certifications is such a difficult and unprecedented achievement for an independent country music artist with no mainstream radio play, it had never happened before in the modern era, that is until 2020. When the single “Feathered Indians” by Tyler Childers off his 2017 album Purgatory went Gold if February, it was an unprecedented, historic achievement for true country music.

Saving Country Music warned at the time, “Even without radio play or acknowledgement from the CMA, these artists who have creative control over their music are finding success like never before in the modern era, and expect as time goes on, that success to continue to be expanded and amplified as listeners continue to discover they have better options beyond mainstream radio.”

Then the Cody Jinks single “Loud and Heavy” from his 2015 album Adobe Sessions went Gold on March 31st. Then “Hippies and Cowboys” from Cody’s 2010 album Less Wise went Gold on August 5th. Now a 3rd act has gotten in on the action, as Cody Jinks has done something even more unprecedented, and shattered another ceiling over independent music.

On September 18th, not one, but two singles from Texas-based Southern rock band Whiskey Myers have been Certified Gold by the RIAA. Their song “Ballad of a Southern Man” off their 2011 album Firewater was certified Gold for reaching over 500,000 units in sales, downloads, and streaming equivalents, as was their song “Stone” from their 2016 album Mud.

But not to be outdone, and possibly the most astounding of all the achievements is that the Cody Jinks song “Loud and Heavy” has now been Certified PLATINUM by the RIAA for reaching over 1 million units in sales, downloads, and streaming equivalents. Officially certified on September 15th, this achievement is on a level that is hard to fathom for an independent country artist. “Historic” is the only correct way to couch it.

And don’t hold your breath, but the number of songs and albums that are heading to Gold and Platinum status—especially from Cody Jinks and Tyler Childers specifically—along with other artists like Whiskey Myers getting into the game, is going to begin to be a regular occurrence as time goes on.

What does all of this mean? It means that the monopoly on popularity and influence that Music Row, major labels, and mainstream country radio have enjoyed over country music is beginning to erode. Artists completely outside the system are now starting to find success at a level even some major label performers are unable to achieve.

It’s also important to note that all five of these songs that have been minted with precious metal by the RIAA were all released either completely independently, or via Thirty Tigers, which allows for artists to keep control of their music and manage their own independent record labels. They have achieved their heights off the sheer appeal for the music.

This is an achievement not just by the bands and artists, but a testament to the strength and growing numbers of independent music fans supporting artists in swelling numbers, and in a way that can no longer be denied by the major country music industry, and gives these artists the continued ability to make music their way, and share it with their audience directly.

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