Like it or not, Morgan Wallen is the music story of the year: An up-and-coming country singer who was caught saying the N-word on camera, Wallen suffered the briefest of consequences before bouncing back as an unstoppable commercial juggernaut. Now it appears that his massive arena tour has become the hottest ticket of 2021: Country fans, and various other supporters of racial slurs, have bought over 700,000 Wallen tickets since the tour was announced three weeks ago.
Wallen has already sold out 49 of the 55 arena dates. Demand has been so high that he added additional stops at Madison Square Garden (New York, NY), Bridgestone Arena (Nashville, TN), The Wharf Amphitheater (Orange Beach, AL), Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood (Atlanta, GA), and Crypto.com Arena (Los Angeles, CA), and he became only the third artist in the history of the Bridgestone Arena to sell it out three times in the same year.
There’s little doubt that he benefitted from the N-word controversy. One week after footage revealed the slur, his record Dangerous: The Double Album became the No. 1 album in the country. By the summer, his radio airplay had doubled, and now at year’s end his sales have earned him the No. 1 album of 2021, according to Billboard.
Wallen did apologize, saying he only used the world because he was “on hour 72” of a bender, and he later argued that his use of the slur was meant to be “playful” and not “derogatory.” He also pledged $500,000 to Black-led organizations, though several months later, he was still hundreds of thousands of dollars short of that promise.