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Top Country Music Stories of 2023

As the year draws to a close and the country music business looks toward 2024, it’s time to contemplate the headline-making moments of the genre over the past year. 2023 saw monumental crests for country music on the Billboard Hot 100, with songs and albums that cemented superstar status for some artists, such as Morgan Wallen, and brought unprecedented breakthroughs for others.

The continuing sea change of the way listeners consume music bolstered many indie artists to finding streaming success — with one in particular, Oliver Anthony Music’s “Rich Men North of Richmond,” becoming a two-week No. 1 all-genre Hot 100 hit.

Some songs’ successes — notably, “Rich Men” and Jason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town” — were in part spurred by controversy. Meanwhile, other artists, including Dolly Parton, saw genre-traversing success with songs and/or albums that not only impacted the country charts, but the rock charts as well.

In November, this year’s CMA Awards also brought monumental triumphs for Tracy Chapman and Lainey Wilson. Additionally, country music continued its history of big media moments at the Super Bowl, with Chris Stapleton performing the national anthem just before the kickoff of this year’s game.

Meanwhile, this year also saw the ascension of Cindy Mabe to the top role at Universal Music Group Nashville. And, all of these milestones have come as country music has seen a surge not only domestically, but globally.

Here, we look back at 10 of the top stories in the country music business over the past year.

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