Morgan Wallen’s Album Sales Soared After Video of Him Shouting Racial Slurs Went Viral

Morgan Wallen has been in the news recently for not-so-good reasons. The country singer came under fire after a video surfaced of him yelling racial slurs in February 2021. Although the country music industry swiftly rebuked the 28-year-old, his fans responded differently. Wallen’s album sales have soared after the video went viral. Here’s what you need to know about the aftermath of his wrongdoing.

Morgan Wallen was caught on video shouting the N-word

Country singer Morgan Wallen gestures at fans while performing on stage during the 2019 CMA Music Festival
Morgan Wallen at the 2019 CMA Music Festival | Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Wallen’s neighbors claimed he had a habit of getting rowdy after he and his friends stayed out late at night. According to them, Wallen would return home and cause a lot of commotion outside of his Nashville home. Eventually, the neighbors got tired of it, as most people would. One of them decided to capture the Sneedville, Tennesee, native’s rowdy behavior on a Ring doorbell camera.

However, what the neighbor caught was more than they expected. In the viral video broke by TMZ, Wallen opts to use a colorful choice of words aimed at his friends, casually dropping the N-word mid-conversation.

A closer listen to the video proves that Wallen doesn’t hesitate to say the word. This led many people to believe it wasn’t the first time the singer said it. Additionally, none of his friends bothered to correct him for using the word. Some critics think this indicates the singer has said it before because it did not catch his group’s attention.

After the video went viral, there was uproar from the country music industry and entertainment at large. Many people called for his cancellation. Fellow country singers like Maren Morris also publicly called him out for his casual use of the word.

Wallen’s album sales skyrocketed after the incident

Wallen released a video apologizing for his behavior. He called his use of the N-word “unacceptable and inappropriate” and promised to do better. As Variety reports, Cumulus Media directed its lineup of 400 radio stations to drop Wallen’s music after the scandal. At the time, he was one of the fastest rising country music stars, having won several awards the year before.

Audio marketer Entercom — now called Audacy — did the same, pulling Wallen from its playlists, with iHeartMedia following suit. The streaming platform announced it would no longer play the singer’s music anymore. Additionally, his label Big Loud suspended him indefinity.

While Wallen may not receive airplay for an indefinite time, his streams didn’t dip. According to Rolling Stone, the singer witnessed a massive rise in his album sales following the scandal. The star’s sales increased by 1220%, while his songs increased 327%.

The publication further notes that Wallen’s programmed streams rose by 16%, while his on-demand audio streams were at a high of 6%. One explanation for the rise in sales: Wallen’s existing fans who don’t see a problem with his behavior may have purchased his music because they knew they wouldn’t hear it elsewhere anymore.

Morgan Wallen failed to follow through with his pledges

Wallen also confirmed the rise in sales to be true when he appeared on Good Morning America, his first sit-down interview since the scandal broke out. Talking to Michael Strahan, Wallen revealed that his album sales brought in $500,000 following a spike in sales after the incident.

He pledged to donate all of the money he made from his album sales to Black-led organizations and even mentioned the Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC) by name. However, Rolling Stone did some research and reported that none of Wallen’s promises have come to fruition several months later.

The publication got in touch with 56 Black-led organizations to inquire about Wallen’s pledge to donate money. However, all of the organizations said they never received any money from Wallen or his label.

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