Chris Stapleton, Sam Hunt Lead Country’s Mid-Year Report

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Sam Hunt photo by Kevin Winter and Getty Images
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Country music sales and streams in the US were dominated in the first half of 2017 by Chris Stapleton and Sam Hunt, according to Nielsen Music data.

Stapleton’s From A Room: Volume 1 is the most popular country album for the first six months of the year, up to 29 June. That’s both in combined units, which measure physical sales, downloads and streams (484,000) and sales alone (419,000).

Such is the domination of the Kentucky-born singer-songwriter that his previous, Grammy-winning set Traveller is in second place by both measurements, with combined units of 396,000 and sales of 225,000. Keith Urban’s Ripcord is third on the combined units chart, with the Zac Brown Band’s Welcome Home in that position for sales alone.

Hunt, meanwhile, rules the singles scene with his current smash ‘Body Like a Back Road.’ It’s the most popular song of the January-June period, with 224.3 million on-demand audio and video streams, and by downloads sold, which stand at 1.3 million. The song is in its 23rd week at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, on which it needs just one more week on top to match Florida Georgia Line’s 2012-13 smash ‘Cruise’ as the longest-running country bestseller in the chart’s 59-year history.

The Nielsen Music data showed that equivalent album units for all country albums stood at 21.32 million for the first half of the year, compared with 21.27 for the same period in 2016. But on-demand streams of country music soared 51.5% year-on-year from 10.5 billion to 15.8 billion.

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