Country musicians are America’s new rock stars—commercially, at the very least. Of the ten best-selling albums in the U.S. last year, three were country, and only one (Imagine Dragons’ Night Visions) could possibly be classified as rock.
These days, top country acts are even outpacing the biggest names in mainstream pop music. Luke Bryan was the No. 2 best-selling artist of 2013 behind only Justin Timberlake, while Florida Georgia Line’s crossover smash “Cruise” was the No. 4 most downloaded song, topping hits like Lorde’s “Royals” and Katy Perry’s “Roar.”
“I think country is just getting bigger in general,” says Brian Kelley, Florida Georgia Line’s co-frontman. “Pop music isn’t really a sound, it’s just what’s popular.”