Morgan Wallen’s catalog has garnered $8.005 million in revenue from U.S. sales and streams in 2021 as estimated by Billboard based on blended average wholesale pricing and piece and streaming counts reported by MRC Data.
The numbers are staggering. Morgan leads all artists in 2021 in on-demand streaming and overall album consumption units so far this year. Even more remarkable is that more than a quarter of that tally, $2,028 million, was generated during the nine full days after the Feb. 2 emergence of a video of Wallen using the n-word.
By the end of Feb. 3, terrestrial radio had dropped Wallen from playlists and his plays that day declined significantly from Feb. 2; most digital service providers had pulled him from curated playlists and his label suspended promotion of his new album, Dangerous: The Double Album. (Complete MRC data was available through Feb. 11.)
Fans, however, have flocked to purchase Wallen’s material, either out of loyalty or fear they will not be able to hear his music otherwise, keeping Dangerous: The Double Album atop the Billboard 200 for the fifth straight week.
In the nine days before Feb. 3, Wallen’s music received nearly 25,000 spins on U.S. radio stations, or 2,000-3,000 plays a day. In the nine days afterwards, plays decreased by almost 94% to well under 2,000 total spins for the period.
Streamed programmed plays through platforms such as Pandora and Slacker didn’t fare much better, with the daily average going from 1.9 million per day for the nine days preceding and including Feb. 2 to about 228,000 per day in the nine days after, for an 88% decline.
When consumers have had the choice, they have voted to support Wallen. In on-demand streams, his music almost held its own with steady play throughout the two nine-day periods. Overall, his stream count in the nine days before Feb. 3 totaled 224.17 million plays; in the nine days since Feb. 3, streams totaled 223.6 million — just a 0.3% decline.
While major on-demand streaming services like Spotify and Apple have removed Wallen from their editorially curated playlists, the slight decline likely means subscribers actively seeking out his music to play are offsetting his playlist banishment.
Within on-demand streams, audio streams fell 1.8%, but Wallen’s video on-demand streams shot up by nearly 21% to 19 million plays from 17 million in the earlier period. In the six-week period ending Feb. 11, Wallen’s catalog has garnered 1.035 billion on-demand streams, more than any other artist this year. The late Juice WRLD is No. 2 with 738 million on-demand streams. Wallen is also the U.S. industry leader in the U.S. in album consumption units with nearly 985,000 in activity generated by his catalog so far this year, while Taylor Swift is No. 2 with 684,000 units, as of Feb. 11.
Wallen’s music enjoyed the biggest response since Feb. 3 in sales. In the nine-days prior to Feb. 3, Dangerous and 2018’s If I Know Me, both issued through Big Loud, and his 2017 independently released Stand Alone EP, sold more than 15,000 copies. Wallen’s album downloads blew up by nearly 500% to over 45,000 copies from nearly 8,000 in the earlier period. Meanwhile, song downloads more than doubled to nearly 95,000 units from almost 41,000 downloads.
Looking at the discography on a title-by-title basis, Dangerous has enjoyed nearly a 22% increase in activity since Feb. 3 with the nine days since then generating 202,000 album consumption units, up from 166,000 consumption units in the nine-prior days. So far this year, that album’s total activity is the equivalent of 878,000 album consumption units. Translating that into economic activity, Billboard estimates that Dangerous garnered $1.7 million in revenue during the nine-day period after the video of Wallen using the racial slur surfaced online. That’s up 32.7% from the estimated $1.28 billion in revenue the title accrued in the earlier nine-day period.
In the nine days after Feb. 3, album consumption units of If I Know Me almost doubled to 39,000 units, from nearly 21,000 units in the nine-days prior. The biggest movement within the sales model came in the form of downloads, which jumped to nearly 9,000 copies from well under 1,000. Songs from the album, which included Country Airplay No. 1s “Up Down,” “Whiskey Glasses” and Chasin’ You,” increased four-fold to nearly 21,000 downloads from below 5,000 copies. In economic activity, If I Know Me tallied nearly $290,000 in the latter nine-day period, versus $164,000 in the prior nine-day period.
Finally, Stand Alone almost doubled its activity in the nine-day period following the video’s release, notching more than 5,000 album consumption units from under 3,000 units in the nine-day period prior. Value wise, Billboard estimates that the title generated nearly $37,000 worth of activity at wholesale prices, versus slightly over $20,000 in the nine-day prior period.
Overall year to date, Morgan Wallen’s catalog has scanned nearly 987,000 album consumption units, including video, of which sales of his albums (physical and downloads) have moved 195,000 copies; his songs downloads total nearly 253,000. That breaks out to $7.185 million for Dangerous; almost $903,000 for If I Know Me; and about $110,000 for Stand Alone. (That adds up to slightly more than the catalog’s total revenue due to a smidgen of apparent double counting on the format counts. All numbers are rounded and are only for the U.S.)