Monday, June 12, 2006

Dixie Chicks Concert Problems

From the Wall Street Journal, an account of how their outspokenness not only against the Bush Administration but against country music fans has caused problems on the concert circuit from the female trio.
Some in the industry lay the problems at the group’s own feet. “The Bush thing may have died down, but then she went and said that stuff about ‘Country listeners are a bunch of rednecks, we don’t need ‘em,’” says Lynn West, program director at WXBM, a country station in Pensacola, Fla. “Every time things seem to die down, she opens her mouth again.”
This is pretty close to what the Program Directors of Milwaukee’s country stations, WMIL-FM and WBWI-FM are saying.
Ms. West never even bothered airing the first single from the album, “Not Ready to Make Nice,” since 80% of listeners’ calls and emails on the subject urged the station not to.

Such responses were widespread, and as a result, the band’s record label, Columbia Records, recently sent the second single, “Voice Inside My Head,” to stations that play other formats such as “adult contemporary” and “adult album alternative.”

To be sure, not every U.S. date is a dud. The band is likely to sell out a night each at New York City’s Madison Square Garden and Boston’s TD Banknorth Garden arena. But Dixie Chicks are no longer planning to make use of additional nights they had held at both venues.

Rather than play the U.S. during the second half of the summer, the band is now planning to return to North America by October 27 — to play a string of dates in Canada, where sales are so strong that extra dates are being added. The new plan reflects a startling reality: Even as the group has been shunned in the U.S., it has picked up momentum overseas, where their political martyrdom has transformed them from a modestly successful act into stars. “Not Ready to Make Nice” may have bombed in the U.S., but it is a mainstream pop hit in Germany, Scandinavia, the U.K. and Australia.

In a statement on their Web site, the Dixie Chicks made a nod to their new status as an act with greater overseas appeal: “We will go where the fans are with great anticipation and no regrets.”
Between the Chicks and country music fans, the “no regrets” is mutual.

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