The New York Times has published an article 'officially' stating what many of us have known for a long time... that country music is king when it comes to your radio dial.

The country format has bumped Top 40 to the 2nd spot in popularity in the good ol' USA. There was once a time when New York City didn't have a single country station. Now the biggest newspaper in the biggest city is singing the formats praises as a truly mainstream genre.

Thierry Roy

There are a lot of factors, of course. Country music's ever increasing pop and rock sound, artists who appeal to more than just rural folks, youth and sex appeal etc.. I also believe there are more simple reasons. People like the sound of guitars. It's almost a silly statement but I think it's true. Top 40 is ruled by hip-hop and drum machines these days. The best guitar riffs are played by guys like Brad Paisley and Keith Urban.

Country songwriting has evolved over the years into a very hip language. It's written to appeal to young people and you don't have to be from the heartland to "get it." Sure, there are still plenty of "country sounding" songs and lyrics, but even mainstays like Tim McGraw have name dropped popular music artists in their songs of late, and it's a formula that is helping blur the lines of the formats enough that the guys in hats and boots have surpassed the names they're dropping.

Country music is now a mass appeal genre. It speaks to soccer moms and teenagers and doctors and lawyers and still holds farmers and ranchers and small towners close to it's heart with just about every song. You can like that fact or hate it... and there are plenty who don't like the direction country has taken over the past several years. No matter where you stand on the issue though, one thing is for sure... country music is big business and getting bigger every single day. Even the folks living in the concrete jungle have to admit it finally.