02_Elements/Icons/ArrowLeft Back to Insight

Insights > Marketing performance

The “Cowboy Carter Effect” — Increasing young Black listeners’ engagement with country music

3 minute read | June 2024

While some are still debating how to define country music, others like Urban One’s 93Q in Houston embraced the cultural moment sparked by Beyoncé’s latest release—and across the audio landscape, so did listeners.

On the day of Cowboy Carter’s release, music video network Vevo reported a 38% increase in views of country music videos globally. 

From Rhiannon Giddenn’s banjo to Linda Martell’s pioneering EP, every country artist featured on the album has seen an increase in first-time or catalog listeners according to Spotify.

That digital audio engagement with country music has also translated to broadcast radio, with Nielsen measurement showing a +40% increase in audience share for the Country format among Black 18-34 year olds. 1 The spike occurred across key markets in March 2024 compared to March of last year and continued into April with a +12% increase compared to 2023. 

Looking at the first quarter of 2024, country radio made up 9% of all streaming listening to AM/FM stations among Black people in the 18-34 age group—2.6x greater than adults spent streaming country stations overall. Black 18-34 year olds’ streaming of country stations was second only to the R&B and Hip-hop formats.2 This engagement reiterates additional research from Nielsen about the connection between audio content and African American communities. 

Broadly, Black audiences average more than nine hours a week with radio, with an average monthly reach among Black 18-34 year olds specifically of 86%. Nielsen’s recent report, The global Black audience: Shaping the future of media, found that Black 18-34-year-olds in the U.S. are nearly 20% more likely than the general population to discover new music by listening to traditional radio. With the attention and engagement focused on today’s Black artists within Country Music, the uptick in this demographic’s engagement with these radio stations makes sense. 

As the spotlight continues to shine on country music’s African American roots and the talents of current voices, there are a few key takeaways to keep in mind.

  • Measurement is critical to inform our strategies with data instead of preconceived notions. 
  • There are still many African American trends and traditions that go untold, like the legacy of contributions to formats like country among others. Representation matters and when these stories get centered, audiences show up. 
  • Rethink how and where you plan to connect with the diverse Black American population. With an average of over 81 hours a week spent with media, there are a multitude of opportunities for brands to connect with Black consumers in innovative and authentic ways.


1Nielsen Audio PPM Black DST Markets Mo-Su 6A-12A

2Nielsen Audio PPM Cross-Market AQH Share. Mon-Sun 6a-Mid

Continue browsing similar insights

Our products can help you and your business

  • Consumer & Media View

    Access syndicated and custom consumer research that will help you shape successful brand, advertising and marketing…

  • NCSolutions

    Maximize CPG advertising effectiveness with data to better segment, optimize and enable sales-based outcomes.