Dixie Chicks Move Up the Charts

It’s revealing that the Dixie Chicks have
not only rebounded after what some said would be a career-ending
controversy.

Even before their comeback tour, the Dixie Chicks have come back. Their album Taking the Long Way, is number one on Billboard’s charts. Three years ago Natalie Maine’s remarks about President Bush sparked controversy that led many to conclude the Chicks had permanently damaged their careers.

Not so. Even without radio play on country music stations they’ve made up for lost time and lost ground before embarking on a world-wide tour beginning this weekend. And they are sticking to their principles.

There are a whole lot of interesting learnings going on here. The Chicks have adroitly managed the controversy and with equal adroitness moved toward a new audience while not totally abandoning existing fans (at least those who didn’t abandon the Chicks). There’s a public relations lesson and a marketing lesson in this.

There is also a lesson for country radio. The Chicks have climbed back to the top without it. While the medium may still influence the audience to accept new performers, it cannot impede established acts like the Chicks. They have achieved a level of acceptance that supersedes this traditional medium. There’s a big lesson in this. Traditional media, while important, need not be the determining influence they once were. It’s a new day.

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