Conventions & Awards

Data: Could It Have Saved Beyoncé From Her Recent CMA Flop?

(1)Beyoncé's recent performance at the Country Music Awards alongside the Dixie Chicks was received with a less than warm response. While the flop is unlikely to be problematic long-term, some are wondering if a closer look at the data might have saved her.


Guest Post by Sarah Beaney on Affinio

Beyoncé the next country star?

Wednesday night marked the 50th anniversary of the Country Music Awards, held in Nashville, Tennessee. The event is one of the biggest amongst country music fans and, according to PEOPLE Magazine, the longest-running annual music awards program on network television. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 67,676 people talking about the event on Twitter, and a lot of this conversation revolved around rumours that Beyoncé would be performing. For those of you who tuned into the CMA’s or heard about the show, the rumours turned out to be true! Beyoncé performed “Daddy Lessons”, a country-inspired song (and totally new style for Queen Bey), alongside the Dixie Chicks.

How did the country music fans react to Beyoncé's performance?

News sources said that fans had mixed reviews about the performance. A Rolling Stone article stated that the CMA website had removed all mentions of Beyoncé including the video of her performance. Another article from The New York Times stated that people criticized everything from her outfit to her political views and that her performance “isn’t even what country represents.”

This begs the question: are other artists welcome into the country music world?

To answer this, I used Affinio to analyze the CMA audience and understand who the fans are, and what they care about most.

While there are other music genre communities within the audience such as the #Beyhive, Lady Gaga Fans and K-pop fans, they only take up 10% of the total audience composition. The majority are full on country music fans.

I’m going to dive into some of the interests of the overall audience to find out how dedicated these country music fans are.

Overall Audience Interests

The top interests are CMAs, Carrie Underwood, CMT, and all other things country.

If you take a closer look into the audience you see former country star and now pop princess, Taylor Swift. Even though Taylor is no longer country, she is still welcomed in this community as it is the genre that she had originally started her career with. So basically, country can go pop and still be relevant but if pop tries to go country it’s evidently a big no no. Sorry, Beyoncé!

Top Celebrity Interests

The majority of celebrities featured are all country singers.

Top Events

The Grand Ole Opry and the Academy of Country Music Awards take the top spot – no surprise here!

What does this data tell us?

After analyzing the audience we can determine that most country music fans are not very receptive to other genres. They enjoy all things country and not much beyond – from their top celebrities and entertainment choices, to the events they’re interested in. They have a strong-knit culture and bringing Beyoncé to the event was an intrusion on that culture.

When determining who should perform at an event it is important to know your audience. The CMA’s choice to bring Beyoncé to perform was a bold move that had little relevance to their audience of country music fans. Perhaps this was an attempt by the CMA’s to broaden and diversify their audience? Will the few country fans that enjoyed the performance start dabbling into Beyoncé's audience? Only time will tell.

But the main takeaway for the CMAs? Know thy audience.

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