The Texas Music Chart Is No More, and That’s Really Stupid

Texas has always had a unique music scene that is fundamentally different from those in most other states. Sure, every state has local bands and its own unique styles of music, but Texas is different. It’s a place where artists who are virtually unknown outside of the state can make a living playing music for their entire lives.

To show off our state’s homegrown music talent, the Texas Music Chart emerged as an alternative to Nashville, which has long ignored Texas artists. Yesterday, though, the Texas Music Chart issued its final rankings, and will no longer continue to track the success of local artists on regional radio. An announcement on the chart’s Facebook page reads as such:

Considering the gravitas that the Texas Music Chart has given the state’s artists in recent years, this announcement doesn’t make a damn bit of sense. Sure, Texas artists are more successful than ever, they’re selling more records than ever and they’re beginning to attract crowds across the country without ever appearing on the Billboard charts. It is completely ridiculous to shut down one of the key metrics of Texas Country’s success just when it’s starting to really take off.

For the past 16 years, the Texas Music Chart has been home to statewide mainstays like Randy Rogers, Wade Bowen and Pat Green. Guys who have had the occasional mainstream success but always find their way back to Texas. These artists may never have gotten their due in Nashville, but they could always come home and release an album and almost be guaranteed that it would shoot up to No. 1, like the Randy Rogers Band’s recently released Nothing Shines Like Neon.

Undoubtedly, Texas music will continue without this chart or any other that comes after it. Bars and dance halls and venues will still be packed with people who appreciate this decidedly unique genre, but the disappearance of the Texas Music Chart will likely make it harder for artists to get their music out to an audience that is beyond eager to hear it. The Texas Music Chart, via social media and its website, has been a sort of hub for people who are searching for artists like Aaron Watson, Micky & the Motorcars and Green River Ordinance. It’s been a place where you can go and discover artists who are playing in New Braunfels or Houston or Dallas that you may have otherwise missed.

Perhaps more than that, though, it’s also been a way for Texas artists to earn recognition for their work. Guys like Randy Rogers and Josh Abbott will probably never be slicked-up and mainstream enough to score a No. 1 hit on country radio, but they can at the very least earn a No. 1 in a place where their music is actually heard on the radio and people actually buy concert tickets.

The disappearance of the Texas Music Chart leaves just one measure of Texas music, the Dallas-based Texas Regional Radio Report. The same artists are frequent flyers on both charts, but they did provide at least some diversity of the reported data. No shade to the TRRR, but that site looks as if it was built in 1996, and there isn’t exactly a user-friendly way to find new music or even look at the chart every week.

It makes no sense to say good-bye to something that has propped up artists for the better part of two decades just because those artists are doing well. If anything, shouldn’t that create more opportunity for the Texas Music Chart to showcase artists who maybe aren’t quite ready for widespread radio airplay?

Or what about the artists who have toiled away for decades and are just now getting the recognition they deserve in Texas, like Bri Bagwell and Sunny Sweeney and pretty much every other woman in Texas music? The scene also lacks diversity in sound and in terms of race and gender. All the artists tend to flock to the same three cities, leaving countless other Texas towns out of a statewide musical conversation. If the genre is as successful as the Texas Music Chart says it is, why wouldn’t it find a new future, perhaps starting with working on eliminating these geographic, gender and racial disparities?

The implications of the loss of the Texas Music Chart notwithstanding, the justification behind its departure is completely asinine. At this pivotal juncture, a time when Texas music is doing better than ever, shouldn’t the Texas Music Chart take an opportunity to prop up the artists whom even the Chart may have been guilty of snubbing a time or two? Even an idiot like Donald Trump knows that it makes absolutely no sense to stop when you're winning.

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