Don’t look now, but Bailey Zimmerman is one of the fastest rising artists in all of country music.
The Louisville, Illinois native has yet to turn twenty-three but has already signed a record deal with Warner Music Nashville, sent a song into the top ten (and climbing) at country radio, sold out most dates on his first headlining tour, and racked up over 400 million streams.
This is just the beginning for Zimmerman as he is currently preparing his debut full length album, which will only accelerate his meteoritic rise.
Those that are familiar with his music likely discovered him through his huge social media following, as like many of the young up-and-coming artists today, he got his start and big break through TikTok.
And look, I get it… the barrage of lip-syncing TikTok videos certainly isn’t for everyone (myself included), and there’s a common connotation about “TikTok” artists not deserving the record deals and notoriety they’re receiving. But I’m here to tell you right now, Bailey Zimmerman is not one of those artists and his arrival in the genre is not a fluke.
His name kept popping up when I analyzed Zach Bryan’s outlandish numbers, specifically Zimmerman’s social media engagement among the most popular country artists on Spotify. So, I dug further into the numbers.
Specifically, I compared Zimmerman’s social media and streaming metrics to seven of the other most successful country artists who got their start on TikTok. This list included Nah Schnacky, Cooper Alan, Warren Zeiders, Priscilla Block, etc.
The first thing to note is that Zimmerman is far from the most followed artist on TikTok itself.
While his following on the platform has grown over time (see the red line), both Cooper Alan and Noah Schnacky have almost five times as many followers. Using the metric selection dropdown at the top of the visual, you can see a similar trend for other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
However, Zimmerman far outpaces everyone else when it comes to music consumption data.
The most important of which, Spotify Popularity, can be seen below. This measure (0 – 100) reflects how often an artist’s songs have been played with an emphasis on recency.
As you can see, Zimmerman’s popularity has grown over 40% from 52 in mid 2021 to 73 as of November 2022. This is absolutely massive growth and puts him at a number nine points ahead of the second most popular artist in the list, Warren Zeiders. On a 0-100 scale, this is a huge difference.
Obtaining a popularity of 73 is colossal and ranks him higher than some of the most recognizable artists in the genre including Alan Jackson, Dan + Shay, Jon Pardi, George Strait, Jordan Davis, Zac Brown Band, Eric Church, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt, Dolly Parton, Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, and Kacey Musgraves.
These numbers are dynamic and always changing, but for any young artist to be associated with that list is an unbelievable achievement.
This popularity is fueled by the huge number of fans, whether they come from TikTok or elsewhere, that are listening to his music. Spotify Monthly Listeners directly measures this figure.
As visualized above, Zimmerman’s monthly listener count on Spotify towers above his contemporaries at over 6 million. This represents over 2,700% growth since mid 2021 and is over 2.5 times more than the next highest artists on the list (Priscilla Block and Warren Zeiders).
These numbers prove that Zimmerman is by far the most musically successful of the crop of new artists to come from TikTok (as well as new country artists period). They also prove that he is not just successful because of his TikTok fan base. As seen, there are other artists with far more TikTok followers that see far less demand for their actual music.
To further illustrate this, I charted all the metrics previously discussed, but in a ratio that compares each metric to how many TikTok followers that artist had at the time (displayed as a percentage).
The results are extremely telling.
Looking at Spotify Monthly Listeners you will once again see Zimmerman dominates the list. While many of these artists struggle to see monthly listeners equal to their number of TikTok followers (this would be 100%), Zimmerman currently sits at over 350%.
This means that there are 3.5 times as many people that listen to his music on Spotify than there are people who follow his TikTok. The results for other metrics, which can be viewed using the metric selection dropdown at the top of the chart, are similar.
Ever since TikTok took off and musicians rose to fame on the platform, labels have been signing them in hopes this will translate to an interest in their music. However, up until now no such artist has really been able to convert their social media fanbase to genuine passion for their music.
Bailey Zimmerman has done just that. With a raspy voice delivering both powerful ballads and huge arena-rock anthems, his music is connecting with fans at unparalleled rates and shown he is far from just a “TikTok” artist.
He truly is a force to be reckoned with and has the potential to make an impact on country music if he can continue to produce great songs and maintain authenticity.