ACM Exposure Fails to Bolster Superstars’ CD Sales

Gretchen Wilson's One of the Boys Debuts at No. 1 on Country Chart

People in the country music industry contend that awards shows are important for the dependable sales boost they provide. That’s not true this year, however, as nearly all the superstars on the Academy of Country Music awards, held in Las Vegas on May 15, saw their sales yawn this week.

At least Gretchen Wilson can be proud of her No. 1 album debut on Billboard‘s country albums chart with One of the Boys. Wilson sold almost 74,000 copies to also debut at No. 5 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart — right behind Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky.

Looking at the ACM winners, though, Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts won the album of the year award, yet her sales were down 17 percent from last week. (Granted, she has sold almost 5.5 million copies since it was released in November 2005, so most hardcore country fans already own it.) Kenny Chesney, who won entertainer of the year, saw his latest album, The Road and the Radio, hold steady at No. 31 on the country chart. Meanwhile, Rascal Flatts (the ACM’s vocal group of the year) and Brooks & Dunn (who won three awards) logged sales increases of less than 600 copies each for their most recent CDs.

With Wilson and Underwood in the top two positions, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw’s Let It Go and Rascal Flatts’ Me and My Gang are in third through fifth place, respectively. Martina Bride performed “Anyway” on the ACM show, yet sales of her new album, Waking Up Laughing, dropped 41 percent to land the title at No. 6. Miranda Lambert was named top new female artist, but Crazy Ex-Girlfriend saw a 7-percent sales decline — although it still climbed from No. 8 to 7 on the chart. New albums by Alison Krauss, Blake Shelton and Sugarland round out the Top 10.

Did anybody benefit from the ACMs? Sure. George Strait’s “Give It Away” captured single and song honors. As a result, It Just Comes Natural jumps from No. 25 to No. 13 with a 32-percent sales boost. Top new male vocalist winner Rodney Atkins’ If You’re Going Through Hell went up 10 percent, landing him at No. 17. Little Big Town earned top new group honors, and sales of The Road to Here increased 16 percent, planting them at No. 21.

Further down the chart, John Anderson’s Easy Money enters the list at No. 36.

Tim McGraw currently has radio buzzing with “If You’re Reading This,” which he performed on the ACM show. His manager says McGraw has no intention of recording a studio version, but country radio stations are playing his performance taken from last week’s telecast. As a result, “If You’re Reading This” enters the chart at No. 35 as this week’s highest debut on the country singles chart. He co-wrote the song with Brad and Brett Warren.

In addition, the Reba McEntire-Kelly Clarkson duet, “Because of You,” enters at No. 42. The pair performed the song at the ACMs, and it will be included on McEntire’s upcoming duets album due in September. Other new singles debuting this week include Sugarland’s “Everyday America” (No. 45), Faith Hill’s “Lost” (No. 48) and Mark Wills’ “Days of Thunder” (No. 59).

Billy Currington’s “Good Directions” retains the No. 1 position on the country singles chart for a second week with Emerson Drive’s “Moments” hot on its heels at No. 2. Toby Keith’s “High Maintenance Woman” nails the No. 3 position, trailed by Brad Paisley’s “Ticks” at No. 4, Alan Jackson’s “A Woman’s Love” at No. 5 and Tracy Lawrence’s “Who You’re Friends Are” at No. 6 — with all titles showing increased airplay. Sugarland’s “Settlin’” (No. 7) and Rascal Flatts’ “Stand” (No. 8) are on the way out, Strait’s “Wrapped” goes up to No. 9, and Montgomery Gentry’s “Lucky Man” sticks around at No. 10.