First published on www.nielsen.com
Taylor Swift’s new album, 1989, is on track to sell 1 million copies by the end of its first week. The album is big news for the young artist, especially since it marks her official cross-over into pop after years of blurring the lines of the country music genre with her work. She’s also increasingly not alone. Sam Hunt, who’s written hits for Country stars including Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban, has seen the first hit “Leave the Night On” on his full-length debut album, Montevallo, climb the Billboard Top 100 singles chart. And music is crossing both ways. The Nov. 5, 2014, TV broadcast of the CMA Awards will include performances from pop stars Ariana Grande and Meghan Trainor.
Country’s cross-over appeal isn’t exactly new—country twang has found its way to the pop charts many times over the past 50 years. These days, however, hybrid country-pop music reflects a new generation of fans influenced by other genres topping today’s charts, including rap and hip-hop, among others.