Chart Beat

Morgan Wallen's Airplay Collapses After Racial Slur, But His Sales Are Way Up

Morgan Wallen
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Morgan Wallen performs onstage during CASH FEST In Celebration Of YouTube Originals Documentary THE GIFT: THE JOURNEY OF JOHNNY CASH at War Memorial Auditorium on Nov. 10, 2019 in Nashville.

On Feb. 3, Wallen's radio play fell by over 70%, while sales of his music increased by 339%.

Morgan Wallen's music decreased sharply in radio airplay while surging in sales on Wednesday (Feb. 3) following his use of a racial slur on video.

As previously reported, TMZ posted a video Tuesday night of Wallen, who was seen as country music's potential global superstar,  yelling expletives, including the N-word. He subsequently issued an apology, while his record label, Big Loud Records, suspended his recording contract indefinitely and radio stations rushed to remove his songs from rotation.

According to MRC Data, Wallen's radio airplay across all genres in the U.S. on Feb. 3 fell by approximately 71%, to 617 plays, from Feb. 2 when his songs drew a combined 2,100 plays. (In the previous five days of the latest tracking week, his songs received between 2,000 and 2,300 plays daily.)

The decrease reflects the decisions by iHeartMedia, the largest radio station group in the U.S., Entercom, Cumulus and other station owners to pull Wallen's music.

As the bulk of Wallen's airplay is on reporters to Billboard's Country Airplay chart, he faced a similar drop among those panelists, 74%, from Feb. 2 (1,500 plays) to Feb. 3 (389). (In the prior five days, he logged between 1,500 and 1,600 plays among Country Airplay reporters daily.)

Wallen's current country radio single, "7 Summers," dropped 70% on Country Airplay reporting stations, from 490 plays Feb. 2 to 149 Feb. 3. On the most recently published Country Airplay chart, dated Feb. 6, the song rose from No. 16 to No. 15 for a new peak (up 8% in audience reach in the tracking week ending Jan. 31).

While Wallen's radio play eroded on Feb. 3, sales of his music swelled, according to preliminary reports to MRC Data. His catalog of albums and songs sold a combined 22,500 copies in the U.S. on Feb. 3 -- an increase of 339% compared to sales on Feb. 2 (5,000).

Breaking down album vs. song sales, Wallen's albums sold a little over 8,000 copies Feb. 3, up 593% from 1,000 on Feb. 2, while his songs sold 14,000 downloads Feb. 3, up 261% from 4,000 on Feb. 2.

Wallen's current album, Dangerous: The Double Album (released Jan. 8), sold just under 7,000 copies on Feb. 3, up 511% compared to 1,000 sold Feb. 2. His previous LP, If I Know Me (released in April 2018), sold 1,500 copies Feb. 3, up 1,519% compared to a negligible sales figure Feb. 2.

Dangerous logged its third total and consecutive week at No. 1 on the latest all-genre Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums charts, dated Feb. 6 (reflecting sales and streaming activity in the week ending Jan. 28). It's the first set to have led the Billboard 200 for at least three weeks and also appeared on Top Country Albums since 2013, and the first of new material by a male artist since 2002.

As for Wallen's individual song sales, five of his tracks sold at least 1,000 downloads on Feb. 3, after none reached that level Feb. 2.

Wallen's top five-selling tracks on Feb. 3 were: "More Than My Hometown" (nearly 2,000, up 453% from Feb. 2); "Wasted on You" (nearly 2,000, up 80%); "Sand in My Boots" (a little over 1,000, up 162%); "7 Summers" (a little over 1,000, up 257%); and "Whiskey Glasses" (a little over 1,000, up 656%).

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