Gary Allan On Major Labels Searching TikTok For Artists: “It’s Embarrassing, But I Think That’s Where We’re Headed”

Gary Allan country music
Eric Adkins

It’s no secret that the landscape of country music changed dramatically in the past 10 years.

From the era of “bro-country,” to the more recent trend of “boyfriend country,” a now the emergence of TikTok stars… the Nashville music machine has, for lack of a better word, been a dumpster fire.

And Gary Allan is over it.

From “Her Man” in 1996, all the way up to songs like “Right Where I Need To Be,” “Every Storm,” and “Watching Airplanes” in the 2000s, Gary has built himself a solid country music career. But by the time the “bro-country” era of 2013 rolled around, Gary was essentially put out to pasture by his label.

And as much as he’s tried to stay relevant, i.e. steer more toward pop country, his most recent single “Waste Of A Whiskey Drink” didn’t see much traction either.

And now, according to a recent interview with Rolling Stone, he’s ready to jump ship:

“I don’t think radio is coming back to me. Shit, I’m wondering if I even need a record label right now.

Let’s just go make the records that we want to do. And we’re having hard talks about that over the next couple of weeks with my management.

There’s so many other avenues, and I’ve never got to make a record without radio in the back of my head. To make a record without even considering them would be so much fun.”

Allan even claims that his latest album Ruthlesswhich dropped earlier this year, was initially rejected by the label (Universal Music Group Nashville) because they didn’t hear a radio single on it.

When he finished it, thinking there still were a few radio friendly tracks on it, they still didn’t play it. And now, he thinks labels might do away with radio all together:

“They’re not going to service (songs to) radio. They do not believe that it’s important. You’re going to start to see A&R departments culling TikTok (for talent). It’s embarrassing, but I think that’s where we’re headed.”

I mean, they’re definitely servicing songs to country radio, just not Gary Allan songs. But either way, the thought of major labels scouring TikTok for talent makes me shudder. And believe me, they’re already doing it…

But here’s the thing… you tried to make a country record that you thought radio would play and they still won’t, so just say “fuck it,” and make the kind of music you actually want to make. You’ll be happier, your old fans will be happier, and the pop country fans listening to country radio won’t know what they aren’t missing.

It’s a win win win.

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