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Investigating Kacey Musgraves’ Absence on Country Music Radio


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2019 was a huge year in the life of Kacey Musgraves. These past 12 months saw her win four Grammy awards, complete a worldwide tour and beat out four other men for Album of the Year at the ACM Awards, not to mention snag a coveted invite to the Met Gala.

On the surface, it would seem like she has it all going for her. After all, she’s an award-winning country musician playing at sold-out stadiums across the globe.

However, all that success hasn’t exactly translated on the radio. Since releasing Golden Hour and Same Trailer, Different Park, Kacey’s found herself with little to no air-time on country music radio stations.

Some speculate that her retro, electric tunes are too foreign for country radio, while others think her music is too downtempo for the average listener. But to Kacey, it’s pretty obvious why she isn’t getting the same treatment as her male counterparts: she isn’t willing to play into the radio stations’ games.

“Grammys, critical acclaim, even the quality of the music—nothing matters except how much radio play you’re getting,” Musgraves previously told Vanity Fair. “No one’s specifically said, ‘You’ve got to sit on this guy’s lap’—I probably would slap them in their face if they told me that. It’s more like implied expectations. A program director got really mad at me because I wasn’t paying enough attention to him, so he canceled a radio dinner I was supposed to have. I mean… can we just talk about the music?”

If that didn’t make the double-standards abundantly clear, she added in another interview, “One thing I’ve experienced as a woman on this path… is I can be meeting the same radio station people or people in the industry as a male artist but there’s an extra pressure on me to be accommodating or nice.”

It doesn’t help that as it is, country music already seems to be a male-dominated field—one that has made little progress in balancing the playing field. Yes, there are the country darlings like Carrie Underwood and Maren Morris, but these women continue to be outnumbered by the Luke Bryans and Keith Urbans of the world.



  1. Until the radio industry gets rid of consultants and allows PD’s and MD’s to do what they do best, to program radio stations with their hearts and guts, extremely talented artists like KM will not get air play. Did you read the whole article… that consultant is a real jackass… “female artists are the tomatoes in their salads!” What an idiot, and he gets paid to say crap like that! Consultant radio sucks!


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