Capitol’s Dungan Ready for Something New

The recently reported dip in country album sales doesn’t particularly alarm Mike Dungan, president of Capitol Records’ Nashville division. “I don’t really know that you can read a lot into it,” he says. “We didn’t have a Shania or a Garth record this year [to boost the numbers].” He adds that if Tim McGraw’s Greatest Hits hadn’t come out so late in 2000, it would probably have improved country’s overall performance. According to SoundScan, the company that tracks retail record activity, country album sales dropped from 69.3 million in 1999 to 67.1 million last year. “Philosophically, I’m not too surprised,” Dungan continues. “I think we’re making really boring, bland music.” Part of the difficulty, he concludes, is that “radio talks out of both sides of its mouth,” saying it wants better music but then declining to program it. “I’m going to take a different approach [at Capitol],” he promises. “I’m looking for really different stuff.”