By: Laura Hostelley
This past Saturday (July 19), LA Times reporter Randy Lewis delved into the topic of Country music’s global expansion. Artists such as Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift were featured as having a major impact on audiences abroad, and bringing the American spirit with them.
In 2000, Paisley tells the LA Times, the reception he and his band received overseas was far less welcoming than when they played stateside. But Country’s appeal grew substantially since then. In 2010 he played two sold-out shows in London, and the next year sold 10,000 tickets at London’s O2 Arena. Aligning with the trend, 15 of the 100 highest grossing tours worldwide were Country acts in 2013 (Pollstar).
“The Internet has been a huge help,” noted Scott Borchetta, to the Times. “Whether it was the first time we took The Band Perry over or the first time we took Taylor [Swift], there was already an awareness by a small group of super fans. That never would have happened pre-Internet.”
Although today’s Country artists often use traditional instruments, such as steel guitars and banjos, they have maintained a pop-like sound, noted Lewis. Cross-over artists such as Swift have contributed to the success of Country outside North America.
Mainstay artists such as Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks are experiencing global success too. Parton played to an estimated 150,000 people on June 29 at the Glastonbury Festival in Britain, and Brooks’ comeback was initially planned for Dublin, Ireland, but was cancelled due to permit issues.
To read the full article by Lewis, click here.