A Country Music Media Arms Race Has Broken Out
In December, word came down that Clear Channel had cut a deal with CMT to create nationally-focused country music programming to be distributed across the 125 country radio stations owned by the company, as well as some digital and television platforms. This move was in response to Cumulus, the 2nd-largest radio station owner in the United States behind Clear Channel, which had created its own national syndicated format earlier in 2013 under the NASH-FM brand, serving 70 separate radio markets.
Now Cumulus is matching Clear Channel’s cross-media move by partnering with the long-running magazine Country Weekly to migrate the NASH-FM brand into print and online media. Announced this week, Country Weekly in the next couple of quarters will become NASH Weekly. Cumulus has also registered nashweekly.com, and is expected to make an online presence for the NASH brand a focus.
Two Different Companies and Philosophies
Though many consider Cumulus and Clear Channel as 1 and 1A in the move to consolidate radio ownership and nationalize programming at the expense of local radio talent and regional flavor, the two companies operate from two distinctly different philosophies. For example, Clear Channel is the company most notorious for firing local talent and implementing national syndicated programming at local stations whether the stations or markets want it or not. Cumulus on the other hand insists its local stations choose how much of the nationally-syndicated NASH-FM programming they carry during a given day, though many times these stations eventually choose the syndicated shows because of increased ratings and lower labor costs.
Clear Channel is betting big on its national personalities. DJ Bobby Bones is seen as a rising star in country radio, his syndicated country show based out of Nashville is now the #1 show in the home of country music, and is broadcast to over 50 of Clear Channel’s member stations and growing. Bones has already begun to branch out into online and television formats, and he’s seen as a personality that could become the face of Clear Channel’s country network. Cody Alan is another human asset that started at CMT, but now hosts the Clear Channel’s syndicated nightly show “After MidNite” and Clear Channel sees a lot of potential in.
Cumulus meanwhile is betting more on its physical assets. The Cumulus / NASH heavy hitter is it’s New York flagship station, 94.7 Nash FM. Before Cumulus launched the station, New York had been devoid of a country music station for two decades. Now 94.7 is pulling in almost 1 million listeners, and is expected to grow to 1.5 million in the next year to 18 months. Cumulus is also looking to expand the NASH brand into the restaurant business, with a potential fleet of bistros to be opened in the future. Why restaurants? Because the brick and mortar aspect of a restaurant chain is the type of substantial asset a business looking to build a substantial brand desires.
Don’t Forget About Rolling Stone Country
Meanwhile there’s a 3rd big player in the country music media race that brings one of the most trusted and well-recognized brands in American music to the table: Rolling Stone. Wenner Media announced in early December that in the 2nd quarter of 2014 they would be launching a million-dollar website dedicated to country music, with a Nashville office housing an editorial staff of 10 to 15 writers, a strong stable of sponsors, and a long-term commitment and outlook. With the ability to branch out into video and streaming radio through the online format, and the power of the Rolling Stone brand, Rolling Stone Country will be a formidable new country music media participant vying for many of the same country fans as Clear Channel and Cumulus.
2014 could see the biggest restructuring and realignment of the business of covering and distributing country music through radio the genre has ever seen, with millions of dollars in capital being infused into the marketplace as big media companies build their country media empires. It also means that just like radio station ownership and the genres those radio stations play, the business of covering country music is likely to consolidate into the hands of a few very big entities, while smaller outlets and radio stations must resort to niche programming to grow a grassroots following, having to deal with slim budgets in the shadows of the big boys.
And with that said, I would like to formally submit myself for consideration from one of these big media outlets looking for a scrappy, industrious, and experienced country music writer. Just set up the interview and I’ll dazzle, trust me. Here’s my resume: www.savingcountrymusic.com.
…or at least let me wash dishes at one of the new NASH Grill locations. It’s hard out here for us independent writers.
January 24, 2014 @ 10:02 am
What!?! Do you mean to tell me you want to be compensated for your obvious talent!?! How absolutely commonsensical of you. 😉
January 24, 2014 @ 10:05 am
Here I am sittin’ here with The Patsy Cline Story on vinyl spinnin’, an I come here to find out some very big news. I wonder if they all can’t jes go at it till they dead. At least us consumers would win out with that….but what if they eventually stopped fightin’ each other, an formed up tagether? I’d be more worried of that. Either way, thanks fer bringin’ this ta light. An yes…independent radio suffers enough already. So do writers like you. At least this gives you more ta talk about.
January 24, 2014 @ 10:08 am
For me, this is all pretty meaningless. These companies are fighting for position in a near dead media format with a stale music genre that hopefully sees a decline soon with Americana on the rise as it is. Terrestrial radio may never die completely just like pop country, but it is being outclassed by satellite radio and other digital formats which offer more variety regardless of location. I welcome it too. Where I live, if you don’t like pop country, classic rock or urban format radio you’re pretty much left to your own devices as far as music goes. Satellite Radio and other things like Pandora are the future, anything these companies are doing is just to try and stay afloat.
January 24, 2014 @ 10:42 am
The thing about media and music is that none of it exists in a vacuum. Yes, the effects of this will mostly be felt by mainstream consumers and artists, but it doesn’t mean that wherever this is headed couldn’t have reverberations that would effect the outlets independent consumers frequent and the artists they love. For example Clear Channel is dumping millions into its iHeartRadio format that is looking to do direct battle with satellite radio and streaming services like Pandora.
Five years ago I would have told you that radio would be dead right now with maybe the last vestiges of what it once was holding on for dear live simply because of nostalgia. I would have also told you the same about the mainstream music industry, because both were in a tailspin at that time. But now because these companies and industries are making these big moves, they have pulled out of the tailspin and are beginning to see rebounding profit. I don’t listen to radio, and you may not listen to radio, but it doesn’t mean the majority of consumers don’t. And as these massive media companies form and restructure the music environment, I believe invariably it is going to change how even a site like Saving Country Music operates. What change? We’ll have to see.
January 24, 2014 @ 12:05 pm
Funny you should mention IHeartRadio. It’s things like that or Tune-In Radio that even get me to listen to a radio station. Though, I like to listen to stations from other markets like Texas to hear their country radio, or I’ll hunt down a good bluegrass station somewhere. At the very least, these kinds of moves could take that diversity away and potentially take away outlets for even smaller artists to get out there. At least Cumulus allows it’s stations to pick how much of their NASH-FM content they want to run.
January 24, 2014 @ 10:13 am
SiriusXM. It’s the only way to go these days as far as I’m concerned when it comes to radio listening.
January 24, 2014 @ 11:25 am
SXM is my ears savior. Outlaw and roadhouse. SXM just like netflix hbotogo etc. or something like SXM will eventually kill regular radio. The abundance of specific channels and the MYSXM online app thing are amazing. Here and SXM are the only place I hear about new music that doesnt suck for the most part.
January 24, 2014 @ 12:28 pm
The problem with Sirius is the it is not one big network that can play one song or artist to its millions of subscribers, it cuts down the market into extremely small niche programming that many times doesn’t offer the amount of exposure an artists needs to create a sustainable career. I see artists say, “Yes! I finally made it on Sirius XM!” But many times it is to a smaller audience than you could find on a small local radio station broadcasting to a town of 50,000 people.
Though consumers may love the niche format, it also lends to the narrowing of independent consumers’ musical perspective that in my opinion is one of the most troubling trends in independent music today. Similar to how super-genres and the mono-genre narrow the focus of millions of mainstream consumers onto the very top commercial artists and little else, the narrow perspective of independent consumers is also creating a culture where consumers are not being exposed to all of their options, or the best options out there, but focusing on a select few artists that are dictated by who is cool in their “scene”, or who they see their friends talking about in their Facebook feeds.
As the big get bigger, the small get smaller, similar to how we hear of the income gap that continues to grow in the US with the wealthier getting wealthier, and the poor getting poorer. That is why even as independent consumers, it is important to understand what is going on in the mainstream because ultimately I believe it will effect all of us, and the artists we want to succeed.
January 24, 2014 @ 11:55 am
I gave up on terrestrial radio probably 20 years ago, and that was long before I embraced Country music. I tried Sirius about 8 years ago I think, and while it was significantly better it still left a lot to be desired. 100% commercial free my a$$. Just cause they don’t advertise Pepsi, they still constantly advertise themselves and I have to hear the lame DJs. I obviously quit that too.
Pandora and the like are perfect for people that enjoy music and are not particular on the variety. Me – I like to hear a whole album front to back. I find my music today with blogs like this, Amazon (via reviews and comparisons with stuff I bought), and the always glorious but mostly overlooked newsgroups.
January 26, 2014 @ 5:57 pm
I get frustrated with SiriusXM because they get in a rut and play the same music over and over again. It’s like they have a very limited catalog. I wonder how their rotation works.
January 24, 2014 @ 10:18 am
Personally I think you oughta try to get on with Rolling Stone. I think they’d love an indie/red dirt/outlaw/classic country guy who’s looking for new fresh stuff, not regurgitated same ol same ol.
January 24, 2014 @ 10:20 am
Do you see think this might help the rise of Ameripolitan Music? If not then I personally don’t care about their war.
January 24, 2014 @ 12:33 pm
What will help Ameripolitan the most would be a gross, wholesale re-evaluation of its perspective and priorities by the organization itself. Until then, it will not be relevant or effective enough to even be considered in the conversation about what the influence or outcome of that organization might be.
January 24, 2014 @ 10:26 am
Not a good time to be a DJ.
January 24, 2014 @ 11:46 am
Another wrinkle to the story is the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last week ruling down the Federal Communications Commission”™s Open Internet Order: where they decided the FCC lacked the authority to implement and enforce its rules under the legal framework the agency put forth.
The FCC”™s original 2010 order was intended to prevent broadband Internet access providers from blocking or interfering with traffic on the Web. But instead of reversing a previous FCC decision that weakened the FCC”™s authority over broadband, and establishing solid legal footing for its rules, former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski pushed for rules under the complicated legal framework the court rejected last week.
Regardless of your opinion on this somewhat contentious and convoluted issue, you can bet this will only add fuel to the fire.
January 24, 2014 @ 11:48 am
And this, in effect, may not affect terrestrial radio necessarily……….but you can bet your bottom dollar it will affect digital radio and streaming services that, in effect, will also directly impact underground and independent artists and distributors who rely heavily on social media in addition to a hard-work ethic touring circuit after circuit to get their music out there.
January 24, 2014 @ 12:39 pm
I agree. The amount of free space on public frequencies is getting filled fast, and these big, monolith media companies that have both radio, television, and internet assets are going to try and cordon off their space, and have the capital and resources to lobby Congress (similar to how they did for the Telecommunications revisions that started the deregulation dominoes) to make laws protecting their assets and shoving independent media companies out.
There’s a lot going on right now, and the framework that will govern just how big these media companies are going to be able to get, and how much of the market they are able to control, is being set as we speak.
January 24, 2014 @ 12:09 pm
Cody Alan is another human asset that started at CMT
If it’s the same Cody Alan I’m thinking it is, he was at 99.5 the Wolf in Dallas doing the morning show (live & local) before that. He was good. I suppose it’s only natural that he’d move on, but I hate to see him as a part of this sort of thing.
January 24, 2014 @ 12:15 pm
There’s also a 99.5 The Wolf here in Portland, Oregon.
I listen very sparingly to the station to analyze current hits, then rush to listen to current favorites on the Texas country scene and much of what is furthered here and on Farce The Music.
January 25, 2014 @ 5:01 pm
Now I’m a bit confused. I thought you live in Britain! Or are you a British immigrant living in Portland?
January 24, 2014 @ 12:55 pm
I’m still trying to get past the part where you refereed to us as sweet and innocent. (PS. I love sarcasm)
Rolling Stone Country is going to be hard to take. I thought Rolling Stone was cool when I was younger but the whole thing has become very hard left liberal and almost like a propaganda platform. It’s the same problem I have with SNL (which I use to love). SNL has really turned into something of a liberal Democrat propaganda program. I wish Hollywood would stop using their work to promote their political views. I honestly don’t understand it. If you run a business selling something, why would you intentionally insult part of your consumer base? Too much smug in LA.
They love terrorists:
The love the UN and still openly support Global Warming:
They love the idea of the government going full communist and confiscating everyone’s land and money:
They love trashing anyone that says anything negative about Obama:
January 24, 2014 @ 1:03 pm
From the very beginning, Rolling Stone had a left-leaning political element to its magazine. It will be interesting to see if politics are involved at all in their Rolling Stone Country wing. My guess is they won’t be. Trying to push a liberal agenda through country music would be suicide.
January 24, 2014 @ 2:03 pm
As true as your points are, that’s not even what irritates me the most about Rolling Stone over the past fifteen years.
My main bone to pick with them is with how lazy their reviews and journalism has become. Unless it’s Bruce Springsteen (wink wink), they put minimal effort into almost any given music review. A standard review these days is limited to no more than 150 words and hardly scrapes any of the non-singles. In fact, more often than not, they compare the artist’s album in question to one’s quintessential work regardless of how relevant or irrelevant the comparative analysis is (whenever they review a Foo Fighters album, they OBSESS with bringing up Nirvana in the body of the review! -__- )
I do NOT want this laziness to carry over into their new site.
January 24, 2014 @ 2:40 pm
Yeah but how could Trigger be a main stream country music writer? Unless you pander you loose access (or that’s how it seems to me anyway).
January 24, 2014 @ 6:19 pm
I’m not saying it HAS to be Trigger.
But for Jove’s sake, if mainstream journalistic coverage of this genre remains limited to the likes of lazy boasts that don’t scratch beneath the surface like Rolling Stone, and the utopian “Wow, everything is great!” ass-kissing likes of Taste of Country and Roughstock…………we’re in big trouble.
January 24, 2014 @ 8:07 pm
Well-put, Noah, on both mainstream country journalistic coverage and Rolling Stone. There is so much wrong with Rolling Stone’s music coverage that I don’t even know where to start, but for me it’s all summed up by this: They actually ranked Kurt freaking Cobain ahead of Dimebag Darrell Abbott on their list of the 500 greatest guitarists. I was like, really?
January 25, 2014 @ 5:39 am
I think you are exaggerating a bit about Rolling Stone’s reporting.
For example, that Bocephus thing was simply a news blurb about him causing a stir at the Iowa State Fair by calling Obama a “Muslim” who “hates the U.S.,” from the stage. It was relevant news at the time because he had a political album out, and had been making similar statements all over the place. If simply reporting a controversial incident counts as trashing someone, then Trigger is a full-fledged asassin.
Anyway, I find this new website interesting from a historical perspective. Rolling Stone was founded as a counter-cultue rag which documented a musical and social culture which was perceived as being directly opposed to the country music demo in the sixties’ culture wars. RS was only a couple years old when “Okie From Muskogee” and “Fightin’ Side of Me” were released. People take “Okie” as tognue in cheek nowadays, but I don’t know if anybody was laughing back then.
Now all these years later, RS is creating a subsidiary to cover country music exclusively.
I suppose it makes sense if you consider that RS has become simply a mainstream music/lifestyle magazine, and pop country just happens to be about the biggest, most profitable mainstream genre right now.
TX Music Jim
January 24, 2014 @ 1:59 pm
Niche markets are good if done properly KHYI 95.3 the Range has lasted 18 years as a independent station in Dallas KNBT in New Braunfels has lasted as an independent for years the Ranch in Fort Worth has lasted I forget the call letters and frequency, I think 107 FM in Austin has lasted. Outlaw country and Willies roadhouse do well on sirrus. Yes, all Niche markets BUT done well with long term sustainability. Which has helped many independent artists make living’s as full time artists. Is it as big as it could be if national comercial radio were more open to more things no it is not. However, it is sustianable in spite of the Nashvegas lapdogs of clear channel and cumulus. The Rolling Stone thing is a bit of a wild card I’m hoping they will leave some room for more diversity in their playlists time will tell.
January 24, 2014 @ 3:58 pm
I’m not sure I would call some of those radio stations niche programming, more like independent programming. There are definitely a lot of sustainable, independent radio stations out there, but the concern would be with these new, huge media giants that are able to spread their assets and risks across multiple media formats and not just radio, that these smaller operations that are unable to do that will eventually get squeezed. If an independent radio station wants to stay afloat, they may need to have a robust web presence, or a print magazine to help maintain their brand locally. But a lot of them can’t afford this.
Satellite radio really deserves its own case study. Remember, it started off as two companies, and the government set it up that way on purpose so that one company could not dominate the market. Well despite how it was originally set up, the two companies because one, principally because Howard Stern’s contract was so huge, it was dragging down the entire format. Outlaw Country or Willie’s Place may be sustainable themselves, but many of the artists they play are not able to make a living because the reach of the selective programming is so small. Satellite has been doing surprisingly well over the past few years, but that was not always the case. Trust me, Clear Channel and Cumulus have their eyes on satellite, and if they won’t take it down by launching their own similar platforms, they may do it with governmental lobbying. Meanwhile who’s to say satellite isn’t looking to launch a bigger online or print presence? They already got into the restaurant business once with Willie’s Place.
TX Music Jim
January 27, 2014 @ 2:21 pm
Trig I hope you are wrong on this one. Honestly, I think because all of these stations skew more towards the Texas Red Dirt thing and Nashvegas already looks at it from a dissmisive standpoint already they may leave these type stations alone. Especially since they are in markets were they have a big mainstream country precense already. Satelite one never knows but again there is plenty of mainstream stuff to be had on satelite so again they may be simply dismissive of the other options. In these cases I hope so.
January 24, 2014 @ 2:21 pm
If radio wants to win me back they will have to play Kellie Pickler again and more top talented women making great *country* music. I can’t stand to listen to radio that treats most women like crap, ignores top talents and great music to play more crappy songs and pop.
Mainstream country media needs you as a writer.
January 24, 2014 @ 7:03 pm
” Meanwhile there”™s a 3rd big player in the country music media race that brings one of the most TRUSTED and well-recognized brands in American music to the table: Rolling Stone. ”
when I read that I was sure this was another one of your ironical stories and id missed the joke. even in the 90s I only bought that rag if hunter s. thompson had an article in it.
January 24, 2014 @ 7:38 pm
I don’t know how other regions are, but out here in my part of the mid-west independent country stations rule the market. We have one Clear Channel station. The independent small broadcasters do a real good job of turning a profit. They still play Luke Bryan and Aldean but they do a real nice job of playing classic country, local artists, and larger underground acts. I kind of like the fact it’s so diverse, hearing a Rascal Flatts song followed up by Robbie Fulks is amazing and ironic! That’s probably going to be the future of terrestrial radio, with all of the listeners growing up with such a selection because of technology.
Terrestrial Radio will never die. I don’t care how much the larger corporations screw it up. It’s cheap entertainment and utilitarian. As long as there are construction workers, there will be terrestrial radio…
January 25, 2014 @ 5:42 am
Wait, your country station plays Robbie Fulks?
I can’t imagine that.
January 24, 2014 @ 8:50 pm
Hey The Pistolero, for some reason I can’t reply to your comment but I just have to say, when you’re a 15 year old kid with a guitar you learn Cobain first, before you attempt to go all Stray Cats on guitar. His influence is greater than Dimebag’s just because playing a song when you’re a kid and finally getting it right it worth way more than any solo on a produced album that shreds. Cobain’s influence is far greater.
January 24, 2014 @ 9:34 pm
when you”™re a 15 year old kid with a guitar you learn Cobain first
Sorry, but I don’t agree. Guitar music did exist before 1991, you know. And it wasn’t all shredding solos or whatnot. Does the name Stevie Ray Vaughan ring a bell? Jimi Hendrix? Duane Allman? Grunge in general and Nirvana in particular were terribly overrated. I am willing to bet that had it not been for the farce glam metal had become by 1991, Nirvana would have deservedly been a footnote in music history.
January 24, 2014 @ 11:06 pm
Dude, I don”™t know if you were born a virtuoso but Stevie and his brother were way beyond anyone”™s pay grade when they were 15. Like seriously, without Nirvana a whole generation of kids wouldn”™t even touch a guitar. Cobain gave kids confidence that they didn”™t have to be a master of the guitar to be able to play in front of an audience. I hear this argument with all my punk friends when it comes to country. They say, just tell a sad story with three chords and people would love it. As you and I know there is far more to it t than that.
Also guitar players like Hendrix and Clapton could blow players like Albert King and Muddy Waters out of the water, but they knew no matter how unsophisticated they were they created something new and fresh; thus they let them create. By the way, Pantera sucks; horrible band.
January 25, 2014 @ 9:05 am
Everybody has to start somewhere. If we’re gonna subscribe to your logic kids didn’t even care about guitar before Kurt Cobain came along, and that’s patently ridiculous. Who did all the folks who came before him learn guitar from?
January 25, 2014 @ 11:39 am
I know your question is probably meant to be rhetorical, but there is also a real answer…..Can’t speak to personal experience before then, but in the 70s and 80s and beyond….it would be Led Zeppelin, specifically Stairway to Heaven.
It’s not just urban legend. Working in and co-owning a music store, over time I truly learned to hate that song. Unfortunately, just because everyone cannot be Jimmy Page, did not stop them from trying.
In that same vein, Duane Allman, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix wanna-bes were also frequent flyers. And they pretty much all wanted it out of the starting gate. Lol….Rudiments were for the middle school band kids, not the “players”.
January 25, 2014 @ 11:47 am
Oh, I know good and well there was a real answer, and that’s exactly what I was getting at.
January 25, 2014 @ 12:59 pm
You know it’s been a really long time (or seems that way) since there’s been a true main stream guitar hero like SRV, Clapton, Hendrix, Page, Eddie VanHalen (etc). This may be odd but when I was younger I wanted to learn to play guitar to play like David Gilmore (Pink Floyd, not the American Jazz Guitarists). I always dug the drawn out blues style he had.
Maybe it’s too hard to stand out now or maybe main stream music is more focused on Pop and Hip Hop? Up until the early 90’s there use to be guitar players that were as famous as the lead singers. Even country (at one time) had main stream instrumentalists that had fame, but not anymore. I can think of anyone that has main stream country fame because of instrument playing skill alone.
I wish they’d get some VanHalen, Pink Floyd and Country in Rocksmith 2014 (love that game for goofing around and having fun – greatest thing since sliced bread).
January 25, 2014 @ 3:47 pm
There are plenty of guitar shredders out there right now, it’s just that nobody is paying attention to them. The whole expert guitar player thing sort of ran its course. I’m sure it will come back, but right now people are focusing more on songwriting and voice, and guitar playing has blended into the background.
January 25, 2014 @ 4:21 pm
My prediction is more grim as far as guitars are concerned: I do not believe that electric guitars will resurface in popularity. Electric guitars will go the way of wind instruments, i.e. symbols of a past era in pop music. The music of the future will be dominated by electronic sounds, with acoustic guitar maintaining its popularity with traditional country and folk fans.
January 25, 2014 @ 2:20 pm
“By the way, Pantera sucks; horrible band.”
Wow! Just, wow.
I was going to let this go, but the more I thought about it, well, I couldn’t help myself.
While Pantera may not be your cup of tea, and I’m by no means a huge Pantera fan, they in no way sucked. Dime, Vinnie and Rex could all play, and play very well. Anselmo’s vocals were always my sticking point with the band, but he did bring a very real and raw energy.
While I don’t own any Pantera albums or even listen to them with any regularity, I can definitely respect them as a band. Their influence, their skill, their innovation.
If you want to say “I don’t like them.”, “I don’t get it.” or “I would rather listen to fingernails on a chalkboard.”, I get that. But just to say they suck is lazy and disingenuous.
There is a lot of music promoted on this site that I really dig. Not really being a country traditionalist, there is some that I just don’t like. Not because it sucks, but because it doesn’t appeal to me.
Personally, I don’t really care for Nirvana. Does that mean they suck?
Music is so subjective. I like to categorize music two ways: Stuff I like, stuff I don’t. Not, this is great and this sucks.
Sorry for the rant. That is all. Carry on.
January 25, 2014 @ 2:28 pm
Anselmo was always more my sticking point as well ”” I’m a bigger fan of folks like Geoff Tate (back in the day, anyway ”” and Bruce Dickinson ”” but his style eventually grew on me, to the point Pantera’s one of my favorites. I wouldn’t say Nirvana was horrible, just rather”¦ordinary.
January 25, 2014 @ 4:28 pm
Pantera’s influence was poison on metal. Thanks to them we got that crappy nu-metal of Korn and Limp Bizcut. Plus they always seemed more pop sounding than all the other bands out at the same time.
Regardless, if you think Cobain was average he was raw and writing actual rock songs while Pantera were playing glam. That is why Pantera sucks…
January 25, 2014 @ 5:19 pm
Apparently, there is a threshold on how deep a thread can go before you cannot reply directly. This is for the last post made by Oliver.
And Trig, I apologize for high-jacking a thread to hash out the merits of Pantera, but I think this speaks to the overwhelming dissatisfaction that all music lovers have over all genres of music currently. That people of all tastes would be coming to this site looking for something good, new, fresh is a testament to what is going on right now.
If you want to “blame” Pantera for Nu-Metal and it’s ilk, then you have to “thank” Guns N’ Roses for ushering in Nirvana.
In the evolution of metal, it’s all circular, and after many twists and turns within each sub-genre, eventually goes back to Black Sabbath and/or Deep Purple.
If you want to claim Pantera as glam, fine. As long as you are referring to their early days, pre-Anselmo, pre-Cowboys From Hell.
Pre-Anselmo, the singer was Terrance Lee Glazer and they were definitely glam. Post-Pantera, Terrance formed the band Lord Tracy Glam to the hilt. But they had musicians. The bass player, Kinsley Wolfe (I think, just off the top of my head), was phenomenal.
You can blame whomever you want for starting anything, but ultimately, it is the consumers who are to blame. Don’t buy it, don’t support it, it goes away.
January 25, 2014 @ 5:53 pm
In the evolution of metal, it”™s all circular, and after many twists and turns within each sub-genre, eventually goes back to Black Sabbath and/or Deep Purple.
That’s an interesting observation, Michael, and very true, IMO. And I think that’s a good thing, actually, as it keeps the genre grounded and helps it retain its identity while remaining fresh.
January 25, 2014 @ 6:32 pm
Michael, you make a good argument and I agree with your point of saying metal is circular; I’ll even go as far to say all music is circular. I’ve been hitting on Nirvana because I see a similar historical relationship between rock at the mid to late 80’s and country and western now.
The mentality of the record companies in that era were to produce cookie cutter pop sounding rock bands that appealed to a larger audience. Some of those bands like Poison were so overproduced. It’s startling to see history repeating itself. Like today’s independent artists in country, we are seeing a rebellion by artists writing new raw sounding stripped down songs in new places far removed from where tradition music media are mainly focused. I think this group of artists in underground country are a lot like the bands who paved the way for the mainstream success of Nirvana, Sound Garden, and Alice in Chains. A great example of an influential band that never really had a lot of fame would be The Pixies. In five years I really believe a raw traditional sound will be coming out of Nashville.
January 25, 2014 @ 7:20 pm
I see a similar historical relationship between rock at the mid to late 80”²s and country and western now.
Now this I absolutely agree with. I’ve been saying for at least a little bit that all this bro-country is the genre’s equivalent of the worst of the ’80s glam metal ”” “Cherry Pie,” “Seventeen,” that sort of thing. A hard fall is coming in country, for the same reasons it came in metal 20-plus years ago.
January 25, 2014 @ 7:39 pm
Aaah, Oliver, when we strip away all the pretenses, we agree.
I have stated in another thread that country music needs its Nirvana. While there are varying opinions on this, I, as you, equate it to the 80’s hard rock/metal scene.
Sorry, I took offense (no, offense isn’t the word, but I do not agree) to the Pantera sucks comment. While i don’t agree, I think we come from the same foundation.
January 25, 2014 @ 7:44 pm
I guess we should call it Glam Country. Both are scary similar with the sexist lyrics, the pretty boys acting like tough guys, the over indulgent reliance on consumerism, girls rolling around on big trucks instead of muscle cars…. and the complete lack of self-awareness.
January 25, 2014 @ 8:10 pm
Oliver, I agree, to a point. There were a lot of good acts thrown into the Glam Rock category in the 80’s that didn’t belong. Some because they were pandering, a la, Tim McGraw today, Whitesnake in the 80’s.
But there were a lot of good bands that got thrown into the category just because they were similar, or had a certain look. I keep gong back to Cinderella, who were a blue-based, hard rock act that happened to come out during the height of the 80’s glam scene. They were unfairly categorized. (As an aside, Tom Keifer has come out with new music).
Y&T had the unfortunate hit with “Summertime Girls”. Not even close to representative as them as a band.
But, hey, they consciously rode the wave.
Things were different back then. There were no sites likes like this. Hell, there were not sites of any kind. Because of this, I don’t think country will fall too far off the deep end. But, hey, that’s just opinion.
January 25, 2014 @ 8:19 pm
There were a lot of good acts thrown into the Glam Rock category in the 80”²s that didn”™t belong.
Oh hai, QueensrÃ¿che!
I know I mentioned Warrant earlier, but that probably wasn’t fair. Jani Lane hated “Cherry Pie,” from what I understand; he wrote it just to spite his record company and they loved it. And “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” really was a great song.
January 25, 2014 @ 8:43 pm
I absolutely agree, there were bands that the press called hair metal that shouldn’t have ever been given that distinction most notably GnR and Van Halen. I kinda of think of Eric Church as the GnR version of current country. I was more of a Huey Lewis fan from that era. Not metal but could write a killer blues song and Nick Lowe produced his albums.
January 25, 2014 @ 8:44 pm
@ The Pisterelo
The Warrant album was written, recorded and ready for release as “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. The record label wanted a “Pour Some Sugar on Me” type song.
Lane wrote and the band recorded “Cherry Pie” to satisfy the label. There are interviews of him decrying the inclusion of “Cherry Pie” and the marketing behind it.
That’s just one example of how the record companies destroyed whatever good came from the glam metal genre. And is apropos of what is happening in country right now.
January 25, 2014 @ 10:43 pm
I love the old Huey Lewis stuff. And as much as I hate to admit it, Duran Duran wrote some damned good songs. And they played their instruments. Andy Taylor was a good guitarist.
This is probably not the right forum to bring up 80’s rock, but the fact that we are both here speaks volumes.
January 26, 2014 @ 9:27 am
If I recall correctly, Nirvana skyrocketed to popularity by getting the video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on MTV, and the song added to alternative rock radio playlists.
I will buy that current country is analogous to hair/glam metal and ripe for its own Nirvana, but will that potential breakthrough artist have the same oppurtunities for mainstream exposure that Nirvana had in the 90s?
I’m not sure. As we all know, music video networks don’t play music anymore, and furthermore, the corporate stranglehold on radio has tightened like crazy in the last 20 years. The laws that deregulated radio ownership and ultimately allowed the Clear Channel / Cumulus plutocracy of control that we see today didn’t come into effect until after Nirvana’s run was over. And of course, the country music industry has never had quite the same structure as rock, and then as now, in most of the country there is no such thing as an “alternative” country station.
The counter augment to all of this is that those forms of media are irrelevant and dying anyway. So if we are counting on one particular artist to lead the charge, maybe we should for them to break through some amazing “viral video” on the internet. According to Billboard, Youtube views count on the charts now. 🙁
February 19, 2014 @ 1:50 am
I’ve always had a weakness for the jazz/fusion guitarists, especially John McLaughlin. And the best of the country guitarists like Roy Clark. I’ll even admit to a fondness for YES because of their instrumental virtuosity.
That’s one thing I miss in mainstream music, instrumental virtuosity, done with taste and imagination. It’s one reason why I got into bluegrass when country went kind of wonky (for me, it began in the late 80s or so). That’s also when I noticed that regional accents, which gave country music so much of its distinction, were being homogenised.
January 26, 2014 @ 7:26 am
Thank God for Sirius/XM radio and the fact that I haven’t listened to an FM radio station in probably 10 years. That Bobby Bones cat seems like a huge D bag. I will take channel 60 Outlaw Country with the likes of Elizabeth Cook over FM any day.
January 26, 2014 @ 7:32 am
Just saw your comments above regarding Sirius. I def agree but at least it saves my ears. I have found some great artists on there I may have otherwise never heard (ex: JD McPherson, John Fullbright). And thank God for websites like yours that expose me to those artists Sirius doesn’t play but are still well worth a listen! Love the site Trigger.
May 24, 2014 @ 1:04 pm
It might be one thing if the Clear Channel/CMT partnership only resulted in a few hours of programming a week (i.e. a nationally-syndicated country-music countdown and live broadcasts of concerts by country superstars).
But within a year, all of Clear Channel’s country stations will be 24/7 syndication, likely branded as “CMT Radio”.