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Ronnie Dunn’s Country This: Are Twitter and Streaming Radio Taking Over?

Ronnie Dunn Photo
Ronnie Dunn

Ronnie Dunn is a country music legend with as many awards under his belt as road miles. Twice a month he’ll provide his thoughts on country music, the music industry, or life as he sees it in a feature called Ronnie Dunn’s Country This, exclusively on Taste of Country.

I get approached by people all the time that are frustrated that they can’t find or hear their particular kind of country music on radio. I just recorded 20 songs and I’m still recording. I was invited to put two of those songs (buy here and here) on radio for a thirty-day exclusive period with SiriusXM’s ‘The Highway.’ I purposely picked songs that have a mainstream slant and that “fit in” with the vibe of that particular station … if you don’t have mainstream radio support, you don’t get heard.

There are exceptions, but not many. SiriusXM gets feedback by having people tweet and from iTunes sales data. Surprisingly, the average Twitter user is 39 years old. I thought it was younger. I still do. I’m leery of statistics.

In May 2013, a social media survey group reported that people who used Twitter represented 16 percent of internet users. I’m already bored writing this, but it is the criteria used to determine, to a large degree, what songs work their way up the charts and through the radio maze.

Streaming is the future of radio? Are you hearing what’s happening with iRadio (iTunes streaming radio)? This is huge! The three major labels left standing (Sony, UMG and WME) are signing with iRadio to do streaming radio. I thought Spotify was the major label’s answer to streaming radio. Where does this put other streaming companies like Pandora? How will this affect mainstream radio?

Buncha B.S., huh? How about a little less business and a lot more music!

Let’s dumb it down: “I just wanna ice down some beer Friday night, hop in my jacked-up, tricked-out pickup truck with the kicka– sound system, meet up with some fun friends down by my pond, next to the river on my piece of dirt at the end of a country road, light the bonfire, crank up the music, let it echo down the canyon and blow off steam!!!”

I like country and western. I like rock, I don’t mind a little extra thump — in fact, I kinda I dig it, as long as it rocks and swings the house in my country kinda way. I like to make my own custom playlists. I’ll stick an AC/DC (‘Back in Black’), ZZ  Top (‘I Need You Tonight’) song next to Haggard (‘The Way I Am,’ ‘Today I Started Loving You Again’) in a heartbeat. I’ll throw an Aldean (‘She’s Country,’ ‘Hick Town’) next to Ray Charles (‘Cry’).

I don’t drink a lot, but when I do I like my beer cold. My tequila of choice is El Tesoro Anejo. My favorite boots are “rough outs” — the older and more beat up, the better. I wear Imogene + Willy custom jeans (made in Nashville, Tennessee) because they fit my long skinny legs and weird inseam, but I live in worn Wranglers and Carhartts. I like black Banana Republic t-shirts. I have an L.A. Ink tattoo that says “COWBOY.”

I like outlaws when it comes to music. I don’t like white bread. I take pictures when I’m not writing, singing or playing in a band, because if I’m not doing something creative, I’m usually self-destructing in some way.

Where does music fit into your world?

Peace, Love and Country Music,
Ronnie Dunn #CountryThis

Ronnie Dunn Bio Photo
Christopher Polk, Getty Images

Ronnie Dunn was part of Brooks and Dunn for more than 20 years before embarking into a solo career in 2011. As a duo, Brooks and Dunn won more CMA and ACM Awards than any other act in country music history, including four Entertainer of the Year awards. Dunn is currently working on a new album, the follow-up to the 2011 self-titled project that featured the Grammy-nominated single ‘Cost of Livin” (buy it here). All opinions expressed here are that of Ronnie Dunn himself.

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