Country music had a bigger international presence than ever before in 2013. The Country Music Association played a big part in spreading country music across the globe, going back across the pond with its CMA Songwriter Series and holding its first International Country Music Marketing Summit. Chris Young, Kristian Bush, Brett James and Bob DiPiero headlined the CMA Songwriter Series as it visited Dublin, Belfast and London in February. The International Country Music Marketing Summit was held in Paris in March.
“The CMA International Country Music Marketing Summit is the most recent example of CMA’s enhanced interest and outreach in the international marketplace,” said Sheri Warnke, CMA Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications, when the summit was announced. “CMA is making a focused commitment to increasing awareness of the music and developing international business opportunities for our constituents.”
Outside of the CMA, the international community did their part to welcome American country artists to their countries. Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Vince Gill, Little Big Town, Darius Rucker, LeAnn Rimes, Brantley Gilbert and Kristian Bush were among the artists to perform at the first annual C2C: Country to Country Festival in London at the O2 Arena.
In Australia, The Band Perry, Rascal Flatts, Chris Young, Big & Rich and Jack Ingram were among the artists to play the sixth annual CMC Rocks the Hunter festival which was hosted by Great American Country’s own Storme Warren. The festival will welcome Toby Keith, appearing for the first time ever in Australia, in March of 2014.
Country stars also did their part to spread their music far and wide. Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood were just a few of the stars who took their headlining tours abroad. Kacey Musgraves and The Band Perry also got in on the act, taking their first headlining tours to Europe.
“Finding a country artist who can connect with a British audience in a genuine and authentic way has always been a challenge,” BBC Radio 2’s Al Booth said of Kacey. “The fact that Kacey Musgraves has done this, not just with the loyal UK country fan base, but also with a mainstream audience is a testimony to her exceptional talents. The maturity and depth of her songwriting has huge cross-generational and international appeal, and her abilities as a performer and vocalist transcend any musical categorization.”
2014 shows no signs of the international appeal of country music slowing down. Taylor Swift will play five shows at London’s 02 Arena and one in Berlin in February while Chris Young, Dolly Parton and Toby Keith have already announced 2014 dates in Europe and Australia. The C2C: Country to Country Festival is set for a second year in London while the CMC Rocks the Hunter Festival will take place in March.