Charlie Cook On Air: A Look Back at 2013

Charlie Cook

Charlie Cook

A few more days left in 2013. I hope that you have more than a used calendar to show for it. It was an interesting year for Music Row and the industry as a whole. There were a few surprises. There was some good news and then some not so good news.

Top ten things from 2013.

1. Blake Shelton took over as the format’s number one act. Two Male Vocalist of the Year nods. Best Album of the year, twice. A sold out tour. The Voice remained one of the top shows of the year. The finale was down from last year but I believe that was because Blake did not have a singer in the finals. Just another example of his influence on the program.

2. George Strait’s announcement that he will be unhooking his guitar strap in 2014. The final show, in the 100,000 seat AT&T Stadium, sold out before George could fly from Dallas to San Antonio on his jet.

3. Carrie Underwood as Maria in The Sound of Music. More than 18 million viewers tuned in to see one of music’s best voices sing her way through the Alps and away from the Nazis.

4. Toby Keith finishing at No. 4 on the “Man You Are Rich” list in Forbes Magazine. Toby has built quite the empire and he has done a great job of finding revenue streams in more than touring. Touring ends at some point. The money needn’t.

5. Garth Brooks coming back to a stage nearer to you. I cannot believe that it has been four years in Vegas at the Wynn. I have said that his live show there is the best I have seen. Like all of us who have been around Garth, I have always been a fan, but after leaving the theater that night I was a super fan. I watched the CBS TV special and it did not capture the vibe of being there. This just tells you how incredible it is to be in the room (or arena) and feel the show. I am looking forward to Fall of 2014 when he hits the road again.

6. Luke Bryan winning the Entertainer of the Year award at the ACM show in April. I think that we were all surprised. Obviously Luke was, by his response. Not that we should have been–the ACM EOY has a fan participation element. I have told the story of being in Nashville for the Music Fest and seeing young females climbing, precariously, up to a Luke poster to have their pictures made with it. If they are willing to put their safely at risk, he was going to get their vote.

7. Both the ACM and CMA show did record-breaking ratings for CBS and ABC, respectively. In 2012 the CMA show dealt with a hellacious weather situation on the east coast and a couple of the bigger cities had compromised TV service. In the Spring, the ACM show hit a new high mark and took over as the most watched Country Award show. This Fall the CMA bounced back and both shows showed why Country is so important to their network partners.

8. 2013 will go down as the Year of the Country Music Tour. According to Billboard Magazine, Taylor Swift grossed $115M against 66 sold out shows and 1.4 million fans. There is nothing gross about that. Kenny Chesney did $91M. Jason Aldean did $48M. Luke Bryan notched $46M.

9. Miranda Lambert locking up the Female Vocalist of the Year award. At what point do they change the name of the award to “The Miranda Lambert Award”?

10. Nielson Buying Arbitron. My prediction: Within five years the top 100 markets will be PPM and they will stop doing diary surveys in all other markets.

Happy New Year.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of MusicRow.)

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