Zach Bryan’s album “American Heartbreak” is already setting records

Zach Bryan and his new album American heartbreak have a moment, and when all is said and done and the dust settles, the singer/songwriter is likely to settle among the very best performers in country music.

While we don’t have the official numbers and map placements for American heartbreak until next week all signs point to the album. On his release, American heartbreak set the record in 2022 for the most streams of a country album on both Spotify and Apple Music. It is currently still #1 on the iTunes country charts, and #4 across all genres. American heartbreak is currently on track to rack up an estimated 70 million streams in its first week, not to mention physical sales of the double CD set.

HITS Daily Double currently projects the album will move 67K units in physical albums and streaming equivalents in its first week, easily making it #1 in the country above Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album, and probably set it to #4 or #5 in all music. Without Harry Styles’ monster release this week, and Kendrick Lamar’s last week, Zach Bryan would be competing for #2 or #3 across all genres.

Of course, the fact that American heartbreak is a 34-track double album that kills Zach Bryan’s songs. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Regardless of the number of songs, the commitment to the album is huge. Coincidentally, with so many songs, it helps to connect the songs together.

Zach Bryan is also getting a boost from Spotify, and it’s the first of its kind for a country artist. In 2020, Spotify launched a program called RADAR US. It was created to spotlight emerging musical talent by giving them the opportunity to broaden their fan base through a comprehensive marketing, content and editorial campaign. Think of it as similar to iHeartMedia’s ‘On The Verge’ campaign that gives extra spins to an up and coming artist at country radio.

Spotify has chosen Zach Bryan as the first-ever country artist to be the beneficiary of the global program. The decision was announced last week ahead of the release of American heartbreak† Zach’s song “Something in the Orange” hits the #1 spot on the campaign’s official playlist, though the campaign’s reach goes much deeper. Interestingly, 49 Winchester’s song “Russell County Line” also appears on that RADAR US playlist.

“We saw our listeners respond to Zach early on with his stripped-down, salt-of-the-earth sound and honest lyrics,” says Rachel Whitney, Nashville editor-in-chief for Spotify. “It has been incredible to see his growth over the past two years… His talent is undeniable and his new music is already starting to reach a top status. This is just the beginning and we are so excited to introduce him to a wider fan base through our RADAR US program.”

If saving country music reported in April 2021, Rachel Whitney replaced previous Spotify director John Marks. John Marks has held that position at Spotify since 2015 and was previously Head of Country Music Programming at SiriusXM since 2010.

While John Marks had been instrumental in breaking big Bro-Country acts like Florida Georgia Line and Chase Rice into his position at Sirius XM, Rachel Whitney was instrumental in identifying the growing grassroots behind independent artists such as Cody Jinks, and helped properly program these artists into playlists in her previous positions at Pandora and YouTube Music before joining Spotify.

When Rachel Whitney took the Spotify position, we wondered if she would help put more independent artists on an equal footing with their radio-supported peers, when artists turned out to have resonance among listeners. An example of this is helping artists like Zach Bryan through Spotify’s RADAR US initiative. Zach’s songs have now reportedly racked up some 1 billion streams worldwide.

The implications of Zach Bryan becoming #1 in the country extend beyond Zach Bryan himself. With the increased emphasis on streaming, it is becoming increasingly difficult for independent artists to achieve #1 album status, as Aaron Watson, Blackberry Smoke, Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson previously did, when a big debut in physical sales could take you over the top. bring. But with Zach Bryan’s younger crowd, he can compete with the Morgan Wallen’s of the world, and he could very well beat them.

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