Tenille Arts, Breland, Parker McCollum Help Spotify Pay Tribute To ’90s Country Classics

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Over the past few years, familiar elements of ’90s country music have made their way back to country radio through a new generation of artists, such as Luke Combs, Scotty McCreery, Jon Pardi and Carly Pearce. In a track from his latest album, Same Truck, McCreery name-checks some of George Strait’s biggest songs, while both “Fancy Like” hitmaker Walker Hayes and Lauren Alaina have issued songs that reminisce about the music of the 1990s.

In 2019, Brooks & Dunn welcomed a new generation of artists — including Pardi, Combs and Kacey Musgraves — to join them in remaking several of their biggest hits on their Reboot album. And in recent months, artists who saw their careers skyrocket in the 1990s —including Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt and Clay Walker — have all released new albums.

Recognizing the resonance of ’90s country music with today’s crop of artists, Spotify has just released three new Spotify Singles tracks, featuring Tenille Arts, Breland and Parker McCollum, with each reimagining a classic ’90s country hit.

“A key component in choosing these artists was selecting artists who could bridge the gap between yesterday and today – essentially to serve as ‘guides’ to this iconic decade for a new generation of country listeners, some of whom weren’t even alive in the ’90s,” says Brittany Schaffer, Spotify’s Head of Artist & Label Partnerships, Nashville. “Parker, Tenille and Breland are some of the brightest rising stars of today. Together they represent the breadth of country sounds today, yet all three have personal connections to the music of the ’90s and how it inspired them and their own artistry.”

Arts covers The Chicks’ “Wide Open Spaces,” with Breland offering a rendition of Deana Carter’s “Strawberry Wine” and McCollum covering Strait’s “Carrying Your Love With Me.”

“One of my favorite things about country music is how beautifully the stories are told,” Breland says. “I can still remember my first love, and even though ‘Strawberry Wine’ is from a young woman’s perspective, the heart of the story is so universal. I wanted to be able to help give new life to such a timeless song.”

Arts adds, “I was inspired by ’90s country classics growing up, and ‘Wide Open Spaces’ is particularly relatable— I can see myself in those lyrics. I am so grateful to Spotify for including me, and for empowering me to carry this special music forward for the next generation of music fans.”

“George Strait has been my favorite country singer my whole life,” McCollum says. “I wasn’t going to pass on the chance from Spotify to cover one of his songs. This song is such a classic staple in country music so I was really hoping we could get it right and do the song justice. I think we did. I sure hope he and [producer] Tony Brown would think so too if they heard it.”

Of course, country songs first made popular in the 1990s aren’t only resonating with a younger generation of country artists. Data released by Spotify also reinforces the notion that Gen Z country music fans are increasingly drawn to ’90s country music.

According to Spotify, just as many fans between the ages of 19-24 listen to Spotify’s ‘90s Country playlist as fans over age 45. Since 2019, the average global monthly plays of Spotify’s ‘90s Country playlist by Gen Z users increased by 89 percent. In the United States, overall streams of the ‘90s Country playlist grew 150 percent since 2018, and increased by 70 percent among Gen Z users since 2018.

Rachel Whitney, Spotify’s Head of Editorial, Nashville, notes that their data shows there are 89 million playlists from Gen Z users that contain ’90s country songs.

“Gen Z is one of Spotify’s fastest-growing audiences, and country is one of the fastest-growing genres,” Whitney says. “Although the ’90s were coming to a close when this generation was born, they are reliving this golden age of music through their parents, social media, streaming, word-of-mouth and more. They’re coming to Spotify as their go-to source to learn more and discover the magic behind the genre, seeking out contemporary releases as well as ones in the catalog.

“Country has always supported timeless songwriting and lyricism, and that was never truer than in the ’90s. Great songs stand the test of time, and it’s exciting to surface these classics to the new generation,” Whitney adds.

Today, Spotify has launched its first country music-themed microsite, aimed at helping fans dig deeper into the riches of ’90s country music. Users can take a quiz on their favorite ’90s country music, hair and fashions, which then results in a custom ’90s country playlist based on their selections. Spotify previously launched microsites including Day 1 Club for its RapCaviar playlist, as well as the microsite Duo Love Songs.

Spotify also shared additional listener stats that reveal some of the most popular ’90s country albums and songs among Spotify listeners — and particularly among Spotify’s Gen Z listeners. According to the data, albums from The Chicks, Shania Twain, Strait, Tim McGraw and Jackson dominate among the Gen Z audience, while songs from Twain, The Chicks, Jackson and Lonestar are the most-shared among Spotify’s Gen Z listeners.

Of course, new music discovery is also a large benefit of streaming, and according to Spotify’s data, the most-discovered artists so far this year from Spotify’s ’90s Country playlist include Alison Krauss & Union Station, Billy Dean, Ricochet, John Anderson and Tracy Byrd.

See more Spotify data below:

Top 10 ’90s Country Albums with Gen Z Listeners in the U.S.:
Wide Open Spaces – The Chicks
Strait Out Of The Box – George Strait
Fly – The Chicks
Come On Over – Shania Twain
Pure Country – George Strait
A Lot About Livin’ (And A Little ‘Bout Love) – Alan Jackson
Everywhere – Tim McGraw
The Woman In Me – Shania Twain
Who I Am – Alan Jackson
Blue Clear Sky – George Strait

Top 10 ’90s Country Albums With Listeners in the U.S. (overall):
Come On Over – Shania Twain
Down The Road I Go – Travis Tritt
Everywhere – Tim McGraw
The Woman In Me – Shania Twain
Fly – The Chicks
Out With A Bang – David Lee Murphy
Strait Out Of The Box – George Strait
A Lot About Livin’ (And A Little ‘Bout Love) – Alan Jackson
Wide Open Spaces – The Chicks
A Place In The Sun – Tim McGraw

Top Five Most-Shared ’90s Country Songs by Gen Z listeners:
“You’re Still The One” – Shania Twain
“Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” – Shania Twain
“Amazed” – Lonestar
“Chattahoochee” – Alan Jackson
“Cowboy Take Me Away” – The Chicks

Most-Discovered Artists in 2021 From Spotify’s ’90s Country playlist:
Billy Dean
Alison Krauss & Union Station
Ricochet
John Anderson
Tracy Byrd

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