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The Year In Country 2013: Florida Georgia Line ‘Cruise’ to the Peak

Florida Georgia Line -- a duo that wasn't even signed to a major label two years ago -- dominates Billboard's year-end country charts.

Florida Georgia Line-the duo of Brian Kelley (from Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Tyler Hubbard (from Monroe, Ga.) not only top several year-end recaps but also bring their label home, Republic Nashville, to new heights.

Year-End Charts: Top Country Artists | Albums | Songs

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FGL scores the No. 1 tune on the Hot Country Songs recap with “Cruise” and places two more tracks in the top 20 of the tally: “Get Your Shine On” at No. 7 and “Round Here” at No. 16. Those hits drive the group’s rise to No. 1 on the year-end Hot Country Songs Artists recap. Luke Bryan, Hunter Hayes (who, like FGL, broke through in 2012), Blake Shelton and Taylor Swift round out the top five on that year-end chart.

FGL, which signed with Republic Nashville in mid-2012, also notches the top spot on the Country Airplay Artists and Country Streaming Songs Artists recaps. Coming in behind the duo on the latter tally are Swift, Bryan, Hayes and Shelton.

“Cruise” also lands at No. 1 on the Country Digital Songs recap while “Get Your Shine On” places at No. 9. Darius Rucker’s remake of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” finishes at No. 2, followed by Shelton’s “Boys ‘Round Here” (featuring Pistol Annies), Tim McGraw’s “Highway Don’t Care” (with Swift) and Bryan’s “Crash My Party.”

The year-end Country Streaming Songs recap finds “Cruise” in the top spot as well, followed by “Wagon Wheel,” “Boys ‘Round Here,” Hayes’ “I Want Crazy” and Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

In 2007, Billboard identified Bryan as an artist to watch. Now, six years later, Billboard is still watching him, and his success during the past year is impressive. Crash My Party (Capitol Nashville) was not only one of the biggest first-week debuts of the year at 528,000 (according to Nielsen SoundScan), it also was the biggest sales debut for a country male artist since 2004. Crash My Party, which topped the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums upon release, is No. 3 on the latter year-end recap, while his 2011 release Tailgates & Tanlines (Capitol Nashville) is No. 8 and “Spring Break… Here to Party” (Capitol Nashville) finishes at No. 10.

Those three releases earn Bryan the No. 1 spot on the year-end Top Country Albums Artists recap, ahead of Swift, Shelton, FGL and Lady Antebellum.

Meanwhile, Swift’s 2012 Big Machine release, Red, finishes in the top spot on the Top Country Albums recap, ahead of FGL’s Here’s to the Good Times (Republic Nashville), Crash My Party, Shelton’s “Based on a True Story.” (Warner Bros.) and Jason Aldean’s Night Train (Broken Bow).

As in past years, new artists continue to make an impact on the country charts. FGL wasn’t the only newcomer to have a breakout year, as Thomas Rhett places at No. 15 on the Hot Country Songs Artists recap.

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Elsewhere, Billy Currington’s “Hey Girl” leads the Country Airplay Songs recap while Rhett’s “It Goes Like This,” Easton Corbin’s “All Over the Road,” Brett Eldredge’s “Don’t Ya” and Lee Brice’s “Parking Lot Party” round out the top five. As previously noted, FGL leads the year-end Country Airplay Artists chart, followed by McGraw, the Band Perry, Bryan and Shelton.

Led by the success of Bryan, Rucker, Lady A and Little Big Town, among others, Capitol Nashville is No. 1 on the year-end Top Country Albums Imprints chart, ahead of Big Machine, Republic Nashville, Warner Bros. and MCA ­Nashville.

Meanwhile, Capitol parent Universal Music Group (UMG) Nashville (with a roster that includes George Strait, Eric Church, Scotty McCreery, Gary Allan and Alan Jackson, in addition to the aforementioned Capitol Nashville artists) sits atop the Top Country Albums Labels tally. Big Machine Label Group (BMLG), Warner Music Nashville, Sony Music Nashville and Broken Bow Music Group round out the top five, respectively.

Universal is No. 1 on the Top Country Albums Distributors tally with 47 charted titles, followed by WEA, Sony Music and independents.

Republic Nashville, a joint venture between Republic Records and BMLG, made impressive inroads during the past year, and while FGL was a big part of that success, the label also benefited from strong performances from the Band Perry and Eli Young Band. Republic Nashville finishes 2013 at No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs Imprints and Hot Country Songs Labels charts. Both are firsts for the label, which beat out perennial powerhouse Capitol Nashville in both categories.

Capitol Nashville, meanwhile, took home the trophy atop the Top Country Albums Imprints chart, which combines performances by songs and albums. Parent UMG Nashville finishes at No. 1 on the year-end Top Country Albums Labels tally. Republic Nashville takes second place on the Top Country Imprints tally while parent BMLG places at No. 2 on the Top Country Labels tally.

Big Machine, Warner Bros., Atlantic, MCA Nashville, RCA Nashville, Broken Bow, Valory and Mercury round out the top 10 on the Top Country Imprints tally, respectively. The respective remainder of the Top Country Labels recap, following UMG Nashville and BMLG, shakes out thusly: Sony Music Nashville, Warner Music Nashville, Broken Bow Music Group, Curb, Show Dog-Universal, Universal Music Enterprises, Atlantic Group and Southern Ground.