Country music enjoys hotter summer than last year

Wednesday, July 14th 2004, 12:19 pm
By: News On 6

(Nashville-AP) -- They're not singing any sad songs on Nashville's Music Row these days. Country music sales are up more than eleven percent this year over last.

Nashville music executives are optimistic because the higher sales are spread out over a lot of artists and not just a couple of superstars.

Six new artists were in the top 25 of Billboard magazine's July tenth album chart: Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich, Josh Gracin, Julie Roberts, Dierks Bentley and Josh Turner.

Relative newcomers Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts were there too, as were Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith -- two artists who've reached superstar status.

Country sales reached 31 (m) million units through the first six months of this year, compared with 28 (m) million units for the same period in 2003.