The latest rising star in country music, Oliver Anthony, is now a pop culture sensation thanks to his song “Rich Men North of Richmond,” a song which utterly dominated social media the week it was released and is still a major culture war flashpoint thanks to its lyrics calling out the corruption in the D.C. Swamp.
But, more than just being a popular culture sensation now generally liked on the conservative right, Anthony is also raking in an eye-popping amount of money every day from the song that has made him into a rich man south of Richmond by singing about the rich men north of Richmond.
According to Mikael Wood, the pop music critic for the Los Angeles Times, Anthony was, after his song “topped the iTunes chart” and “Spotify’s U.S. Top 50,” “raking in an estimated $40,000 a day from sales and streams of his music, according to the trade journal Hits.”
Despite recognizing Anthony’s massive success and the praise from the right it has drawn him, Wood also attacked Anthony’s opinions and conclusions in the song, saying, “Where Aldean paints a hysterical portrait of urban chaos, Anthony muddies his critique of government malfeasance by complaining about obese people ‘milking welfare’ to buy ‘bags of Fudge Rounds,’ as though food stamps are the reason he’s been working ‘overtime hours for bulls— pay,’” the LA Times critic said, appearing to agree with other cultural commentary websites that the song featured “childish and mean-spirited thinking, with its tired echoes of Ronald Reagan’s blame-the-poor rhetoric.”
Missed there is that Anthony isn’t blaming the poor or down on their luck, with the song rather being a blue-collar anthem for the working man who lost his job thanks to globalisation policies pushed by rapacious politicians and their corporate overlords. Far from blaming the poor, it attacks those greedy destroyers of the American middle class most of all while also highlighting the problem posed by those who abuse the welfare system.
Anthony, for his part, has said that he created the song in an attempt to “give hope to the working class and your average hard working young man who may have lost hope in the grind of trying to get by.”
And Americans have loved that anthem, sending the song to the very top of the Billboard Hot 100. This was the first time ever a song has shot straight to the top, debuting at number 1 without having a previous spot on the list.
The Top 10 of this week’s Billboard Hot 100. pic.twitter.com/IQ1cbWI1gz
— Pop Base (@PopBase) August 21, 2023
And the streaming success putting “Rich Men North of Richmond” in the top spot and bringing in Anthony tens of thousands of dollars a day has been, as one might expect, already quite substantial. As of the week that concluded on August 17, the song garnered 17.5 million streams and 147,000 downloads, according to Luminate. Further, the song’s YouTube video has amassed more than 30 million views.
Watch Anthony singing here:
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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