The video was released Feb. 2 around 9 p.m. ET. In the following days, Wallen’s streams and album sales spiked despite major radio players, IHeartMedia and Entercom, announcing his music would be taken out of rotation, according to data by Billboard and Rolling Stone.
Billboard and Rolling Stone’s data compares radio airplay to sales and streams of Wallen’s music between Tuesday (when the video was released) and the days after.
His radio airplay across U.S. genres fell from 2,100 plays on Tuesday to 617 plays by Wednesday, an approximate 71% drop, according to Billboard.
But Wallen’s album sales and streams saw an increase despite the radio declines, Billboard reported.
His total catalogue of albums and songs sold 22,500 copies combined in the U.S. on Wednesday, while a day earlier, his total copies sold was a combined 5,000.
Rolling Stone reports numbers that point to the same spikes reported by Billboard.
There was a 79% drop in radio play between Wednesday and Thursday following the video’s release, according to Rolling Stone through their data analytics provided by Alpha Data.
The same data points to the artist’s sales increasing 1,220% between Tuesday and Wednesday.
His position on Spotify’s top streaming charts also saw an uptick since the incident. Wallen is absent from Spotify’s premier country playlist, yet his songs are elevating on the app’s top U.S. streaming charts. On Tuesday his popular song “Wasted On You” was ranked No. 14 on the Top 200 chart, but by Thursday, two days after the video was released, “Wasted On You” jumped to No. 9.
Other artists have experienced spikes in streams after facing scandal. In 2019, R. Kelly’s music saw a similar spike.
In the three days after the premiere of “Surviving R. Kelly,” a documentary that delved into sexual and physical abuse allegations against the artist, Kelly’s daily song and album sales more than doubled when compared with daily sales for the previous two weeks, according to data compiled by Nielsen, a data analytics company best known for TV ratings. On-demand audio streams for the same period showed a 76% increase and video streams increased by 85%.
In the video, Wallen told a friend to “take care of this … (slur),” apparently referring to another person in the group while being dropped off at a house. Wallen said he is “embarrassed and sorry.”
“I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back,” Wallen said in a statement. “There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.”
“The Academy does not condone or support intolerance or behavior that doesn’t align with our commitment and dedication to diversity and inclusion,” the ACM said in a Twitter statement Wednesday, just two months ahead of the 56th ACM Awards in April.
The artist’s sister, Ashlyne Wallen, responded to criticisms of her brother in a lengthy Instagram post on Friday, slamming “cancel culture” and dubbing her brother’s choice words “completely unacceptable” but added they “did not come from a place of hate or malicious intent.”
“Believe me, he is well aware of his wrongdoing and will be making changes in his life to rectify his actions in any way that he can,” she wrote. “But the way he is being portrayed at the moment is simply not who he is as a human being. … The world is so fragile right now. There is more hate and division than we can bare (sic) for much longer. Let’s come together in love and move toward a world of kindness and forgiveness.”
Ashlyne Wallen declined further comment to USA TODAY.