Sam Hunt, 2017

Sam Hunt photographed on June 9, 2017 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. 

Eric Ryan Anderson

For the first half of 2017, country music was dominated by Chris Stapleton’s From A Room: Volume 1 album and Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” single, according to Nielsen Music.

Stapleton’s second full-length studio effort leads as the U.S.’ most popular country album, by equivalent album units, with 484,000 units earned in the tracking period of Dec. 30, 2016 through June 29, 2017. (Equivalent album units are comprised of traditional album sales, track equivalent albums [TEA] and streaming equivalent albums [SEA].) 

Traveller is also the year’s top selling country album, so far, with 419,000 copies sold. (See lists, below.)

Stapleton’s albums are so popular in 2017, he actually has the top two most popular albums: From A Room: Volume 1 and his first release, Traveller. The latter set is No. 2 on the Mid-Year Top 10 Country Albums chart (see lists, below) with 396,000 units earned. It’s also the second-biggest selling country album so far in 2017, with 225,000 copies sold.

Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road,” which has spent 22 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart (and counting), dominates Nielsen Music’s country song tallies. It’s the most streamed track overall (224.3 million on-demand audio and video streams), the top audio stream (150 million), the top video stream (74.3 million) and the biggest selling country song (1.25 million downloads sold).

Overall country album consumption, as measured by equivalent album units, was up less than 1 percent in the first half of 2017, as compared to the same time frame of 2016 (21.32 million units earned, as compared to 21.27 million). Country album sales fell 16.1 percent to 9.72 million (down from 11.59 million) and country digital song sales dropped 22.9 percent to 37.94 million (down from 49.25 million).

The story gets brighter when we turn to streaming, as overall on-demand streams of country music (audio and video combined) grew 51.5 percent to 15.8 billion (up from 10.5 billion). On-demand audio streams vaulted 64.2 percent to 11.7 billion (up from 7.1 billion) and on-demand video streams rose 24.4 percent to 4.1 billion (from 3.3 billion).

2017’s Mid-Year Top 10 Country Albums (Based on Overall Equivalent Album Units)
1. Chris Stapleton, From A Room: Volume 1 (484,000)
2. Chris Stapleton, Traveller (396,000)
3. Keith Urban, Ripcord (381,000)
4. Florida Georgia Line, Dig Your Roots (287,000)
5. Brantley Gilbert, The Devil Don’t Sleep (284,000)
6. Zac Brown Band, Welcome Home (274,000)
7. Brett Young, Brett Young (250,000)
8. Sam Hunt, Montevallo (243,000)
9. Thomas Rhett, Tangled Up (240,000)
10. Little Big Town, Breaker (210,000)

2017’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Country Albums
1. Chris Stapleton, From A Room: Volume 1 (419,000)
2. Chris Stapleton, Traveller (225,000)
3. Zac Brown Band, Welcome Home (218,000)
4. Keith Urban, Ripcord (202,000)
5. Reba McEntire, Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope (183,000*)
6. Brantley Gilbert, The Devil Don’t Sleep (179,000)
7. Garth Brooks, The Ultimate Collection (127,000)
8. Miranda Lambert, The Weight of These Wings (126,000)
9. Little Big Town, Breaker (123,000)
10. Alison Krauss, Windy City (110,000)

2017’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Digital Country Songs
1. Sam Hunt, “Body Like a Back Road” (1,246,000)
2. Brett Young, “In Case You Didn’t Know” (603,000)
3. Keith Urban featuring Carrie Underwood, “The Fighter” (525,000)
4. Jon Pardi, “Dirt On My Boots” (439,000)
5. Little Big Town, “Better Man” (400,000)
6. Luke Combs, “Hurricane” (380,000)
7. Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color” (375,000)
8. Florida Georgia Line featuring Backstreet Boys, “God, Your Mama, and Me” (318,000)
9. Lady Antebellum, “You Look Good” (306,000)
10. Thomas Rhett, “Craving You” (244,000)

2017’s Mid-Year Top 10 On-Demand Country Song Streams (Audio and Video Combined)
1. Sam Hunt, “Body Like a Back Road” (224,334,000)
2. Brett Young, “In Case You Didn’t Know” (115,962,000)
3. Luke Combs, “Hurricane” (99,867,000)
4. Florida Georgia Line, “H.O.L.Y.” (99,261,000)
5. Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color” (97,267,000)
6. Jon Pardi, “Dirt On My Boots” (88,983,000)
7. Chris Stapleton, “Tennessee Whiskey” (79,404,000)
8. Thomas Rhett, “Die a Happy Man” (78,573,000)
9. Florida Georgia Line featuring Tim McGraw, “May We All” (66,816,000)
10. Florida Georgia Line featuring Backstreet Boys, “God, Your Mama, And Me” (66,602,000)

2017’s Mid-Year Top 10 On-Demand Country Audio Streams
1. Sam Hunt, “Body Like a Back Road” (150,014,000)
2. Jon Pardi, “Dirt On My Boots” (57,332,000)
3. Luke Combs, “Hurricane” (57,197,000)
4. Thomas Rhett, “Die a Happy Man” (57,136,000)
5. Brett Young, “In Case You Didn’t Know” (52,395,000)
6. Florida Georgia Line, “H.O.L.Y.” (49,696,000)
7. Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color” (47,295,000)
8. Florida Georgia Line featuring Tim McGraw, “May We All” (46,533,000)
9. Florida Georgia Line featuring Backstreet Boys, “God, Your Mama, And Me” (46,150,000)
10. Dierks Bentley, “Black” (46,150,000)

2017’s Mid-Year Top 10 On-Demand Country Video Streams
1. Sam Hunt, “Body Like a Back Road” (74,321,000)
2. Brett Young, “In Case You Didn’t Know” (63,567,000)
3. Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color” (49,973,000)
4. Florida Georgia Line, “H.O.L.Y.” (49,567,000)
5. Luke Combs, “Hurricane” (42,670,000)
6. Chris Stapleton, “Tennessee Whiskey” (41,101,000)
7. Jon Pardi, “Dirt On My Boots” (31,651,000)
8. Luke Bryan, “Huntin’, Fishin’ & Lovin’ Every Day” (29,346,000)
9. Little Big Town, “Better Man” (23,833,000)
10. Keith Urban featuring Carrie Underwood, “The Fighter” (23,592,000)

Source: Nielsen Music, for the tracking period of Dec. 30, 2016 – June 29, 2017.
* Includes sales reported to Nielsen Christian SoundScan