Morgan Wallen Is Now the Best-Selling Artist of 2021 — Most Spotify Streams, Biggest Album Sales

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Despite being removed from nearly every radio station and prominent streaming playlist in America, Morgan Wallen is now the best-selling artist of 2021.

We’ve been covering the ugly fallout surrounding Morgan Wallen, the fast-rising country superstar who was filmed using the n-word outside of his home after a night of partying. That looked like the end of his career, though Wallen’s fans quickly rallied around the artist. Now, newly-surfaced data shows that Wallen is enjoying a sustained surge in on-demand streams, album sales, and song downloads following the incident. In fact, he’s now the best-selling artist in America this year.

The ranking comes from MRC Data, which notes that Morgan Wallen now tops both on-demand streaming and ‘overall album consumption units.’ Most of the on-demand streaming is coming from Spotify and Apple Music, which collectively dominate the market, though other platforms like Amazon Music and YouTube Music are also contributing to the tally.

Wallen was already a top-ranked artist heading into the controversy, which first emerged on February 2nd, though MRC notes that 25% of Wallen’s 2021 sales came during a 9-day period following the leaked video.

Wallen’s racial slur prompted a blanket ban by nearly every radio station in America, and a scrub from coveted Spotify and Apple Music playlists. SiriusXM and Pandora soon followed with similar bans, while William Morris Endeavor quickly dropped the artist and the Country Music Awards banned Wallen from future prize eligibility. (Incidentally, Wallen wasn’t dropped by his label, Big Loud/Republic, part of Universal Music Group; the label instead ‘indefinitely suspended’ the artist, and it appears that they’ve been working the artist’s recently-released Dangerous: The Double Album).

And speaking of Wallen’s latest album, Dangerous has been topping multiple album charts for six straight weeks.

In most cases, that type of success is impossible without the support of platforms like Spotify, though it should be noted that the streaming giant quietly released both ‘enhanced’ and ‘bonus’ versions of Dangerous: The Double Album for fans. The loaded-up album versions include extra tracks and some narration by Wallen.

But Spotify’s willingness to embrace Wallen ends there. The platform has not reinstated the artist to their marquee country playlist, Hot Country, which boasts over 6 million followers. That hasn’t slowed demand for Wallen’s music on Spotify, however: both ‘Wasted on You’ and ‘Sand In My Boots’ are currently among the top-50 most-played songs on the platform in the US.

Meanwhile, we’ve reported that country radio stations have been battling angry fans who’ve vowed to stop listening if Wallen wasn’t reinstated. So far, however, stations seem to be sticking to the ban. But that stance is having little impact on Wallen’s sales and popularity. That’s a far cry from the pre-digital days of traditional radio, when broadcast radio could easily make-or-break an emerging artist.

71 Responses

  1. Lob Befsetz

    “Incidentally, Wallen wasn’t dropped by his label, Big Loud/Republic, part of Universal Music Group;”


    UMG is making millions off this

    • Greg Faulkner

      What all writers of anything that’s been allowed to get published regarding this Wallen situation fail to realize is that the American public has been trying to state our collective belief but have no voice. It is the opposite of what you and others have been writing. We are not bigots who support or excuse his behavoir, but reject the idea that it is someone besides “us” who should examine and decide whether or not to support an artist. Those buying and streaming Wallen’s music at an accelerated rate fall into one of these three camps or a combination of the three: (1) We support Wallen, because we don’t feel his behavoir was egregious enough to warrant corporate cancellation of one of our favorite music makers; or we are doing our best or the only thing we know to do to fight this new world order of cancel culture; or we simply want to own his music for fear it’ll be lost forever. In any case, it’s all we have. We have no voice. It’s our only voice. We don’t want to support the label that has at least publically suspended his contract, but it’s all we’ve got. All you writers want to keep digging in to expose the fact that Wallen isn’t paying for his mistake, but no one is giving us our voice, which is to say that this video should have stood on its own, and then “WE” the consumer should have been the ones to decide the level to drop support. The cancel culture and the censoring amd subversion of our opinions on this matter is the reason his numbers have improved; and we don’t care if his label makes more or less money; we are just trying the only way we know how to have a voice.

      • Ellie McPhersen

        Thank you sir, for your very eloquent post. I feel exactly as your words convey. I cannot express my gratitude enough to someone with as much insight as you with regard to the *big picture* being done. I will enjoy Mr. Wallen’s music minus being referred to as a racist or hater by others who do not know me nor walk in my shoes.

      • Denna Steward

        I fully agree I am part if we the people and can decide for myself what I want to hear or see report it and let me make up my own mind if it is something I dont like I turn the channel or turn it off ! I CHOOSE FOR MYSELF not the media .

      • Anonymous

        The Freedom to Hate is one of the most cherished of all Confederate rights guarantees. (Free speech, not so much. It was punishable by death in the Confederacy during its own short life).

        • Anonymous

          Many of the new generation doesn’t understand the culture of the 80s and 90s rap this culture spread throughout the whole United States do Suburban neighborhoods ghettos you name it this word was used to a friend tell buddy to an uncle to somebody that you knew without having any racism in it it was the same thing as a white person saying man or dude and this was exactly the way that it was used in the video people need to get off of their hypocrisy high horse.

      • Dean

        This is exactly the reason I boycott businesses, sports leagues, etc. that pepper their “products” with BLM political messaging. Take Starbucks. I’ll never buy a coffee from the place again in my life. I wanna cup of coffee not a serving of racism accusations. Does that make a difference to Starbucks? No. Does it make a difference to me. Yes, it does. Big time.

        • Truth

          Whats funny is he literally said something racist and here you are talking about Starbucks and BLM. Seems to me you’re deflecting like majority of you do when this happens ??‍♂️

          • Anonymous

            The funny thing is he didn’t have to use the word too make his success top selling artists of 2021 Morgan Wallen.

          • Dean

            I don’t think he was being racist. That’s your interpretation. So there’s no “deflecting” needed.

      • TheRedwoodTree

        I think you’re missing the Racists/Racist apologists/Racism deniers.
        If you think someone using the N-word is no big deal you clearly are one of the above.

        • Anonymous

          “DAMN SKIPPY” if we go back to the school days when they tell you how to direct a sentence and how it was pronounced there is a difference between ER and ia. I’m with the other guy this is a cultural thing and Morgan Wallen fits inside of that culture it was not a racist rant and it was actually private conversation between two friends people need to get a life and quit hatin Morgan Wallen best selling artist of 2021 his music will live on

        • Anonymous

          Many of the new generation doesn’t understand the culture of the 80s and 90s rap this culture spread throughout the whole United States do Suburban neighborhoods ghettos you name it this word was used to a friend tell buddy to an uncle to somebody that you knew without having any racism in it it was the same thing as a white person saying man or dude and this was exactly the way that it was used in the video people need to get off of their hypocrisy high horse.

        • Lillie

          I agree. Kids listen to that music all the time and as they’re growing up it’s in their head and are not expected to say it without thinking that it is wrong.

        • Kaye

          I agree. If they don’t want the word used then they shouldn’t use it.

      • George Walton Sr.

        Cancel culture is a bullshit term. When people don’t like something, they don’t patronize it., and they tell others their thoughts. This has been going on for decades. It’s that simple. Wallen screwed up…multiple times…then got caught and apologized only because he got caught. The only reason his numbers are up is because those people who either support racist remarks, or don’t care about racism, decided to boost him up as a symbol for their stance.

        • Anonymous

          Wrong, it’s because we love his music. He has a right to his own thoughts and beliefs. If We judged every artist by their beliefs, political affiliation or sexual orientation the whole thing would be a mess.

          • Anonymous

            Has nothing to do with his thoughts or beliefs, it was definitely not used in a racist manor. We are talking about an American that has the right of free speech and we are also talking about a cultural word that is used for a friend people will spin it how they want. I bet none of these people with negative comments have ever listened to a song one of his there’s no reason to cancel him out of the scene his music is top-shelf and his sales record shows it

    • Thomas H Czajczyk

      The more liberals trying to cancel Us,the more my keep pushing back.

      • Larry R

        Zzzz. you’re a sad excuse for a debater. Blaming “liberals” is a weak argument.

    • Anonymous

      Glad he will be back. Just got his “Dangerous” album. With trying to cancel each other, we are all flawed.

    • Michelle Carter

      I’m one of Morgan Wallen’s biggest # 1 fans!! We’ll all humans and we all make mistakes in our life’s, we’re not perfect so before you judge it’s a sin to God to judge anyone and I mean anyone because you don’t know what that person is going through in their lives. We all regret the things we say and do but we ask for forgiveness and when we do people should forgive us of our wrong doings.

  2. Jersey Boy

    Not trying to stir the pot but just curious why isn’t Howard Stern cancelled then? He did black face + said the n-word multiple times while making fun of black folks, all in front of the camera (not getting filmed in front of his house but it was for his show).

    • VA Girl

      It didn’t fit the “agenda” at the time. Welcome to 2021 . . .

      • Jersey Boy

        What a bunch of hypocrites at Sirius XM. They just re-up Howard Stern to a $500 mil deal but then go around an cancel Morgan? I mean..huh? if Morgan gets canceled for saying the n-word IN PRIVATE while drunk with friends how is Howard Stern using black face, using n-word + making fun of black people repeatedly (using country accent, fried chicken + watermelon stereotypes etc) OK?

  3. Bill

    It’s a sad commentary on how fucked up America is right now. The racists feel more empowered than ever after four years of Trump and his emboldening of white supremacy. These are facts, folks. So, for all you who now want to reply so you can bash me, you’re just outing yourselves as assholes and racists. Have at it, jerks.

    • GRG

      How are you so sure he’s racist? He did not use the term against any black person or say any sentence that was racist.

      • TheRedwoodTree

        If you’re dropping N-bombs and you’re white, you’re a fucking racist.
        It’s not hard to not use the N-word.
        The historical significance of the word is no secrete.
        People need to be held accountable for their actions.

        Racism has no place in America.

        • GRG

          Just because you made up that rule doesn’t make it true. Morgan was just using it to refer to a friend, probably because it’s used 1000s of times in rap music everywhere. New York Times fired their journalist because he used the word in an academic lecture, so he’s a racist too then?

        • JAS

          If you are joking with your friend, and he doesn’t care, then it DOESN’T matter.

          Your entire career and life do not need to be terminated from a single word.

          Victimhood is no way to live a life.

          • Tom

            You’re a fucking idiot. I suppose you think if someone kills a homeless person who doesn’t have family and nobody will miss him, that’s ok, also.

        • Anonymous

          Sorry but that simply is not true you going to say that to Eminem,keep fishing..its bs

    • Denna Steward

      Oh give me a break when are we not allowed to make up our own minds get off your high horse apparently you have !

      • TheRedwoodTree

        You can make up your own mind, however, you will be held accountable for what you do/say. If you do/say racist stuff you will be held accountable. Ignorant Racist fucks have no place in modern American society.

    • Bill being held accountable for lies

      I believe you have an alternate set of facts that doesn’t actually comport with reality. Just because you say they are facts, does not make them so. Nice try Bill.

    • Bubba is dumb

      You’re clearly too ignorant/dumb to understand the concept of appropriation.

      • JAS

        Appropriation is a bogus made up thing by SJW types.

        I am not Italian, so I can’t open an Italian restaurant? If you want to go down that road, then I can assure I can find many things the people you are trying to defend will have to quit doing.

        Only people directly related to the first guy who used the ‘F’ word, can use it. That likely leaves out all the foul mouth rappers…..

    • Gail

      I’m with you. It’s been a sad sad world these last 4 years. You’re right the bigots have been waiting for a time they can come back out in the open. When will some people move past the past. We are all different but still humane beings.

    • Anonymous

      Agree with me or your a racist. Sounds like your the asshole to me.

  4. Dale Lunsford

    A man should have freedom of speech at his own house Dale

  5. Charlie Sanders

    How ironic that a guy named Faulkner is the one who reminds us about life and the definition of “liberty” in certain sectors of this great nation. “The past is not dead. It is not even past.”

  6. Mark

    Thats whats wrong in this country that all the racist are calling every body racist the “n” word has nothing to due with color of ur skin its what kind of person u R dont let scum of the earth ( blm _antfi) tell u what u can say all lives matter proud to be anything a liberal hates

  7. Andrea Turner

    How I’m gonna laugh when all the media outlets and radio want him and he says NO THANKS ! Racism comes in many forms and the media has showed their hand .

    • Sven

      He won’t say that, though. The media didn’t say the thing – he did. Stop trying to justify his words as being ok, while diverting blame, incorrectly.

    • Country Girl

      He is not!!! you don’t judge thats a sin in God’s eyes and you need to ask God to forgive you for saying things like that and instead of judging.

  8. Dave

    Give Morgan a break the one who made the video is jealous sob black people are just as racist if not more they say n word just about every other breath so what’s the big deal their no better than us White folks

  9. Sara williams

    Why can’t we all just love each other even those who make mistakes ! Thanks Sara

  10. Rick

    For some reason, Wallen doesn’t strike me as racist, just a young, stupid, drunk who probably needs AA. But his fans sure are, Americans are sick with it. Gotta stand up for the racists, make sure they succeed so they can keep the hate message alive. What a sick country. Anyone who supports this is a sick racist, they sure are on this site. They are everywhere, actually.

      • Greg

        Good will come from what he said.Now diversification will be stepped up.within 5 years ,25%of the acts at grand old opry will be black.WHere did the banjo come from?What race was Hank William’s and Johnny Cashs mentors?