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Toby Keith Laments Modern Music Industry: ‘I Have Nowhere To Go’

23 August 2023 | 11:27 am | Mary Varvaris

Toby Keith believes "you're kind of wasting your time" when seeking radio play in 2023.

Toby Keith

Toby Keith (Source: Supplied)

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American country music artist Toby Keith has discussed his opinion on changes in the music industry in recent years, telling The Oklahoman in a recent interview that releasing new music in 2023 is “wasting your time”.

Referring to radio play, Keith explained, “You can get it … streamed, and you’ve got your fans who’ll play it. But as far as getting airplay, what we do and what I made my hall of fame living doing, they don’t want that.”

That’s when the singer said, “You’re kind of wasting your time” when seeking out radio play. Elsewhere in the chat, he said, “I have nowhere to go” with songwriting, which is why he’s slowed down releasing original output.

Lamenting how much worse things have become for new artists since his days of releasing #1 singles for 20 consecutive years and album sales exceeding 40 million, Keith added, “Even the new people don’t seem to last as long: They come and go pretty quick because it’s flavour-of-the-month stuff.”

Music Mayhem Magazine reports that despite Keith’s recent single, Oklahoma Breakdown, being added to high rotation on the radio, the song failed to chart.

No matter the challenges of the current-day music industry, Keith revealed that he’s determined to stick to his guns. Uninterested in trends, he admitted, “I’ve just never been that guy — and I’m not going to change and write that kind of stuff. But with all the songs we got, I could play four hours of straight hits.”

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You can read the rest of the interview here.

Last month, Keith returned to the stage after fighting stomach cancer. He shared the shock diagnosis in June 2022.

A year later, he surprised fans with rehearsals and an update on his health and a two-and-a-half-hour concert.

“Toby‘s first rehearsal turned into a 2 1/2 hour pop-up show. He sang all the hits plus the Bus Songs… Toby is back!” the social media post read, which included images of him looking visibly happy on stage.

“I’ve got more wind,” he said about his recovery last month, telling The Oklahoman that the cancer was still present at the time but had shrunk by a third. “And I’m thinking about bringing the band in and setting up, playing two or three days somewhere just to see if I can get through two hours.”

He continued, “All I gotta do is see if I can get through two or three nights of work and get a little break in this chemo, and we’ll go back to work.”

Keith’s return to the stage and the recent interview follow his most recent EP, America, which he released in May 2023.