Dixie Chicks: Album Sales vs. Radio Airplay

Trio's New Album Does Big Business Without Strong Support From Radio

Even though insufficient radio airplay of “Not Ready to Make Nice” caused it to vanish from the Billboard’s country singles chart in early June, the Dixie Chicks’ album continues to hold the top spot on country albums chart.

It’s unclear whether country radio stations will play any of their future releases, especially if the Chicks continue to concentrate on winning over a brand new audience. However, “Not Ready to Make Nice” — the first single from their Taking the Long Way album — isn’t exactly blowing off the roofs at non-country stations, either.

In its ninth week on Billboard’s Hot 100 — a chart that includes artists ranging from Yung Joc to Toby Keith — “Not Ready to Make Nice” has dropped from No. 58 to No. 64 after peaking at No. 23. By comparison, Phil Vassar’s “Last Day of My Life” has also been on the Hot 100 for nine weeks and now stands at No. 53. Fueled by the animated film, Cars, Rascal Flatt’s remake of “Life Is a Highway” rests at No. 10 on the chart after just four weeks.

Things are brighter for the Chicks at AC radio, where “Not Ready to Make Nice” is at No. 36 in its 12th week on Billboard’s Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart. By comparison, however, Rascal Flatts’ “What Hurts the Most” is at No. 18 after nine weeks on the Hot AC list. Other country artists with singles above the Chicks on the Hot AC chart include Keith Urban, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes and Carrie Underwood.

But despite a decline in retail traffic, the Chicks’ Taking the Long Way is spending a sixth consecutive week at No. 1 on Billboard’s country albums chart. The album has already sold more than 1 million copies in the U.S. and moved an impressive 87,000 units during the past week of reports from Nielsen SoundScan. The album remains at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, the chart reflecting sales of all genres of music. Total worldwide sales of the album have already surpassed the 2-million mark.

Elsewhere on the country albums chart, Rascal Flatts’ Me and My Gang and Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts are in second and third place, respectively, for another week. Titles on the rise include Tim McGraw’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (No. 4), Toby Keith’s White Trash With Money (No. 5), The Legend of Johnny Cash (No. 6) and the Wreckers’ Stand Still, Look Pretty (No. 7). Alan Jackson’s Precious Memories backslides from No. 4 to No. 8. Rascal Flatts’ 2004 album, Feels Like Today, moves up two notches to No. 9 after spending some time out of the Top 10. Kenny Chesney drops one rung to land at No. 10 with The Road and the Radio.

No new country albums hit the chart this week.

On the country singles chart, Kenny Chesney rules the top for a fourth week with “Summertime.” Brad Paisley’s “The World” moves up one level to No. 2 and trades places with Phil Vassar, who lands at No. 3 with “Last Day of My Life.” In fourth through ninth position, respectively, are Carrie Underwood’s “Don’t Forget to Remember Me,” Tim McGraw’s “When the Stars Go Blue,” Toby Keith’s “A Little Too Late,” Rodney Atkins’ “If You’re Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows),” Keith Anderson’s “Every Time I Hear Your Name” and Joe Nichols’ “Size Matters (Someday).” Gary Allan makes his entry to the Top 10 with “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful.”

George Strait’s “Give It Away” arrives at No. 34 to become the highest-charting single of the week. Heartland, an Alabama-based band that formed 12 years ago, makes its first appearance on the chart with “I Loved Her First,” their debut single for the independent Lofton Creek label.

Calvin Gilbert has served as CMT.com’s managing editor since 2002. His background includes stints at the Nashville Banner, Radio & Records and Westwood One.