When I was a teen I used to turn on CMT Canada to watch videos by Shania Twain, Paul Brandt, Terri Clark, and other Canadian country artists who were making their name in the business. I learned the songs, the names, and the faces of the genre, and I became more entrenched in my fandom.
Over the years, with the advent of the internet and platforms like YouTube, Vevo, and Facebook, music videos in all genres have been consumed online at a much higher rate than they’ve been consumed on TV. We all know this, we watch new videos premiering on websites (CMT included) and share links with our friends so they can watch them too.
However, CMT Canada continued to show country music videos, by homegrown artists and the biggest American stars, in blocks of programming, and on the CMT Top 20 Countdown with hosts Casey Clark and then Paul McGuire. And behind the scenes, CMT Canada contributed valuable monetary support to aid in the production of music videos by Canadian country artists.
And now, it’s all changing. And we’re sad. Corus Entertainment and CMT Canada have announced that as of August 27, 2017, country music videos will no longer be included in the network’s programming. None.
As country music fans, we’re sad that the artists we admire and root for won’t have a nationally broadcasted outlet for their music videos. We’re sad to see the end of the CMT Top 20 Countdown. And we’re sad that we won’t discover any new country artists through CMT.
On a more personal note, we’re sad for the people we’ve come to know and work with from CMT. We have always had a good relationship with the staff at the network, and we hope for nothing but the biggest success for them moving forward.
Some outlets may see this as a void that needs to be filled, but they can’t replace a television network. Yes, there may be new content opportunities for online entities, but all of us would be foolish to think that we can replace the former industry giant.
In an email response to a comment request from fyimusicnews.com, MDM Recordings President, Mike Denney said, “I am sad and disappointed that the one and only dedicated national Country Music broadcast partner we had supporting Canadian Country talent is now gone. What is even more upsetting to me is that this is happening while the Country Music genre is enjoying the most broad-based interest and success we have ever seen.”
Denney’s right. The talent and momentum of Canadian Country Musicians right now is the best it’s been in a long, long time. We’ve seen successes like Dallas Smith and his four #1 hits, James Barker Band rocketing to the top of the charts, and a loaded crop of female stars including Jess Moskaluke, Madeline Merlo, Meghan Patrick, Jessica Mitchell, Kira Isabella, and more. And now, their biggest partner/ally/supporter on television is pulling the plug on their relationship.
CMT will still be required to contribute to the production of music videos in Canada… but they will no longer be restricted to country music videos. And with all of the other changes the network has been permitted to make through the CRTC, we won’t be surprised when that funding stops flowing as well.
This won’t sink country music in Canada. It won’t prevent new stars from being discovered or even new music videos from being produced. But this is a sad announcement for the Canadian country music community.