Despite Big Names, Ratings Fall for the 2015 CMA Awards
Country music continues its ratings slump.
Despite an incredible amount of publicity for the CMA Awards through ABC, including high-profile appearances all week on the network’s morning show Good Morning America and collaborations with ABC’s late night personality Jimmy Kimmel, television ratings for the show took a tumble in 2015. High profile appearances by non country stars such as John Mellencamp, Fall Out Boy, and even the current king of pop Justin Timberlake, could not salvage a night of growth in viewership.
According to The Wrap, rating were down 16% from last year for the CMA Awards. The show averaged 13.6 million viewers during its three hour slot, down from 16.2 million viewers from the previous year. In the coveted 18-49 demographic, the CMA Awards scored a 3.8 rating according to Nielsen, down from a 4.5 rating from the year previous.
The CMA’s faced strong competition from FOX’s own music-based show Empire, though despite the lower ratings, the CMA Awards still won the night. However the ratings slide is yet more bad news for mainstream country as it tries to regain the momentum that appears to have peaked a couple of years ago.
The Country Music Association’s second-biggest television event, “CMA Fest: Country’s Night to Rock” which aired on August 4th saw a whopping 37% ratings slide year over year, and exposed a systemic ratings slide happening all across country. In 2014, country music saw a precipitous sales drop of 16.7% compared to the all-genre sales slip of 11.2% according to Nielsen Soundscan. The sales drop across music was mostly due to the move to streaming music by consumers, but country’s drop outpaced the rest of the industry by a serious margin. Country radio has also been losing listeners in the key 18 to 34-year-old demographic in 2015.
Though ratings can depend on many factors, country music still appears to be trying to get over the post Bro-Country hangover that brought the genre to incredible highs in popularity in 2013, but has since eroded away elements of the genre’s core fan base. Perhaps big wins by critic’s favorite Chris Stapleton will begin to re-ignite interest in country by its core fandom.
Bigfoot is Real (AKA Progressive Fascist Rat)
November 5, 2015 @ 1:05 pm
Is this the ratings answer? http://www.eonline.com/news/713330/why-justin-timberlake-needs-to-put-out-a-country-album-immediately
November 5, 2015 @ 2:53 pm
Eonile story, “Why Justin Timberlake Needs to Put Out a Country Album Immediately” published today, November 5th.
Saving Country Music story, “Why Justin Timberlake Should Make a Country Record. And Now” published May 28th, 2015.
November 5, 2015 @ 1:39 pm
JT couldn’t even get the viewers up. Country needs to go back being country !
November 5, 2015 @ 2:08 pm
That’s funny because last nights show was more country than it has been in years and years.
November 5, 2015 @ 2:14 pm
I didn’t watch it save for one snippet of Thomas Rhett performing with faillout boy and that sure as shit wasn’t country. So if you could humor a miserable bastard like me for a tick, what about last nights show was more country than previous shit shows, er awards shows? That is other than the Stapleton stuff?? Or was that it?
November 5, 2015 @ 2:22 pm
That was pretty much it. Him winning 3 major awards and getting a headline to perform is pretty huge in the country world. My facebook feed was blown the hell up last night with people saying things like “Holy crap, I’ve never heard of this Stapleton guy but he is amazing” and such. This makes them go listen to him on Spotify or Apple Music or google his names which also shows related artists.. Now they could be listening to Sturgill or Isbell. I know it’s a pipe dream but it truly was “countrier” than the past years because the past years haven’t had anything remotely as real as last night. Also, Eric Church had a pretty good performance. On top of him releasing an album without his labels full approval.. I like that shit.
November 5, 2015 @ 2:56 pm
Unfortunately I have to watch these things for this country music website I sometimes write for, and I would concur that last night generally have more country on it than previous years, possibly going back to 2008. You have to appreciate though, people who a more country presentation may appeal to may have not tuned in at all. So any ratings bump from them may happen next year.
November 6, 2015 @ 5:01 pm
Network worried about ratings;) refuse to watch any more country music award shows till they clean house and separate the men from the boys.
November 5, 2015 @ 1:44 pm
I gotta confess, I had my DVR record SVU and Chicago PD last night so there was actually no way for me to watch last night that and I had to work that night as well.
Even then I wasn’t planning on watching the thing anyway.
November 5, 2015 @ 1:50 pm
Slowly I’m falling…
Ironically if that song appeared on Country Radio, it wouldn’t be experiencing a ratings slide, betcha betcha.
November 5, 2015 @ 2:53 pm
If you want to boost the ratings get me on there next year
November 5, 2015 @ 6:08 pm
An obvious troll
November 5, 2015 @ 8:37 pm
No way you are not country.
Toby in AK
November 5, 2015 @ 3:23 pm
This says more about previous CMAs than it does about this one in my opinion. Viewers have tuned out because previous shows lost them.
November 5, 2015 @ 3:24 pm
Not surprised by this one bit. Mainstream Country music has and continues to do everything it can to sell out to millennials and that generation of fans simply could care less about award shows. Hell, more and more them don’t even have cable or a antenna to watch OTA television like ABC.
Now on top of selling out for millennial listeners, Country music has also ignored or pissed off the generation of fans that would watch these type of award shows. The CMA’s may have tried to pull in some of those fans this year with a performance or two, but if someone is not interested in Country music right now why would they watch the show when the vast majority of it are performances by the artists that drive traditionally minded fans away?
November 5, 2015 @ 10:11 pm
nailed it , nailed it and nailed it mike w
November 5, 2015 @ 5:29 pm
Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey” is the #2 song on Itunes right now…but right behind is “wannabe Bieber of country” Kane Brown’s “Last Minute Late” at #6 (ahead of “Girl Crush” and Thomas Rhett’s latest!). I’m a little concerned.
Trigger, you gonna fill us in some more about the Kane Brown story soon?
November 5, 2015 @ 7:40 pm
Yeah, it’s definitely still a story I am following and will be posting on when information and news comes together. The CMA’s suck up so much attention and effort. All that should be winding down in the coming days.
November 5, 2015 @ 5:31 pm
TV ratings as a whole are lower than last year. Also, the CMAs have alienated real country music fans to the point where they don’t want to watch anymore. Hopefully, they figure this out and change things.
November 5, 2015 @ 6:03 pm
I’m curious what the amount of views of people watching the Stapleton performance on YouTube vs other acts.
November 5, 2015 @ 7:36 pm
The rules governing YouTube are so nebulous. The Stapleton / Timberlake performances have great videos up that will probably be taken down at some point, but they’re getting tons of views, nearly 2 million at this moment. But the one Musgraves video I could find is all sped up and in a border to try and circumvent copyright bots so it sucks to watch. So I’m not sure views are an accurate measurement, but certainly the Stapleton / Timberlake performance was the big one of the night.
November 5, 2015 @ 8:40 pm
Honestly, I’m just curious how many people who didn’t watch the show saw that performance afterwards. View counts was the best way I could think of to measure that.
November 5, 2015 @ 6:16 pm
I don’t feel surprised about the ratings dropping either.
November 5, 2015 @ 8:41 pm
I enjoyed the CMA’s this year and all performance was good except Sam Hunt. I was shocked and glad that Chris Stapleton won 3 awards. Hey Trigger what was your favorite performance and your worst performance on the show and I will give you my thoughts from the show.
November 5, 2015 @ 9:09 pm
That’s a good question. This year I didn’t think any performance was great or terrible. I guess if I had to pick my favorites, it would be Chris Stapleton and Kacey Musgraves, even though that feels obvious. Hank Jr. was just a little too much bluster. As far as bad performances, I’d almost go as far as saying they were all bad in one way or another, but Florida Georgia Line really felt flat and outclassed. That is a band in trouble.
November 5, 2015 @ 10:37 pm
I didn’t care for FGL performance at all, and even Sam Hunt’s was bad , and Zac Brown Band’s performance and song was bad and I didn’t know he was bald headed. My favorite performance was Kacey Musgraves and Chris Stapleton, and I also liked Eric Church’s performance. I’m mixed bag with Keith Urban’s performance.
November 6, 2015 @ 6:10 am
Hey Trigger, if you ever do another article on Florida Georgia Lame, you need to use the picture of them from Kimmel’s Mean Tweets – wow…@1:24
And if Kacey Musgraves looks like the house band a Chili’s, can someone please let me know which Chili’s that is!!!
November 6, 2015 @ 9:47 am
LOL @ the Chili’s house band. I second that. What Chili’s has a house band (and do they sing/look like that)?
November 5, 2015 @ 9:33 pm
Honestly, it has nothing to do with the performers. I stopped watch because I’m so f*cking sick and tired of seeing Miranda Lambert win every goddamn award.
November 5, 2015 @ 10:36 pm
Miranda Lambert’s best album was the one she put out before she was on Nashville Star. That was real country music without any pop influences.
My favorite song from that album: https://youtu.be/TQ7EAhqPrSM
November 6, 2015 @ 1:46 am
The last couple of years tended to catch me off guard with Miranda Lambert winning. This year I was surprised a bit. She did nothing and released no songs that were actual hits in 2015. Kacey Musgraves was the obvious winner, but I honestly thought that Carrie Underwood had the win.
November 6, 2015 @ 5:08 pm
I think Miranda Lambert’s shelf life is about over. Liked her when she was on Nashville Stars and her first album. More gritty then.
November 11, 2015 @ 9:12 am
I agree on that. I’m sick of Miranda Lambert is really popular in country. I want my Carrie Underwood is popular in country back. I guess Carrie Underwood will have to move her country music to pop music so that way pop music will listen to Carrie Underwood. It’s kinda like a crossover. Miranda Lambert is overrated.
November 6, 2015 @ 5:46 am
Good, I’m glad the ratings are dropping. This is great news, maybe they’ll wake the fuck up
November 6, 2015 @ 7:33 am
I’ve walked away from all awards shows after the Justin Moore ACM fiasco and haven’t looked back. The CMAs in particular go overboard with bringing in artists from other genres. Those aren’t the performances I tune in to a country music awards show to watch.
November 6, 2015 @ 7:49 am
This whole show was a joke…I mean Fallout Boy? Are you serious? Justin Timberlake? Ugggh!
November 6, 2015 @ 9:43 am
shhh ,haven’t you heard …Justin is country’s new savior *eyeroll*
November 7, 2015 @ 11:44 am
Then somebody better start picking out the coffin.
November 6, 2015 @ 8:02 am
The CMA’s are already touting next year’s 50th anniversary of the show – I’m really hoping it turns out to be a classy presentation.
They released this promo video that features Dolly, Johnny Cash, Allison Krauss, and others:
November 6, 2015 @ 8:07 am
The ratings could have been even worse. If I remember correctly Game 7 of the World Series was scheduled for Wednesday night “if necessary.” No doubt that would have taken some live viewers.
November 6, 2015 @ 8:19 am
Maybe it’s time for new hosts, the Paisly/Underwood show is very tired, enough of their silly banter.
Enjoy Every Sandwich
November 6, 2015 @ 10:29 am
I think the ratings slide will continue as long as “mainstream” country radio, record companies, etc. continue to dismiss music that “sounds too country”. The awards shows can’t be isolated from the ponds that give birth to them. A listener who can’t turn on the radio and find a real country song is unlikely to believe that the awards shows will have much real country either, save for a few token performances designed as bait.
November 6, 2015 @ 5:04 pm
I did catch the performance of JT and Stapleton on You Tube and I can see why it brought the house down. You can tell every artist that they focused the camera on was really enjoying that performance. I did catch the opening of the CMA’s via You Tube…lol And, I do agree that it is getting old. This year when I watched it, it just didn’t have the zip that it had in the past. As far as Miranda goes, I’m ready for someone else to get Female Vocalist of the Year. She’s had it for how many years now? Same way with Group of The Year. But, the only problem with that one, is there is really no one else in that category that really appeals to me either.
To me the only highlight was the Chris Stapleton wins. Other than that it was business as usual.
November 7, 2015 @ 7:34 pm
This show was in need of a wake up shot in the arm which Chris win provided. Reba and Ronnie and kix had the audience on its feet singing along so that should be an indicator that country is wanted. Keep the non country people off stage. The show and genre do not need that crap. Go ahead and try to tell the cma idiots in charge to re focus the show or continue to lose ratings. I am sick of watered down crap calling itself country. Let’s hope Chris can be the catalyst for better so we country purists can see real change happen. Miranda needs to refocus her efforts. Maybe she can find her true grit again.
November 7, 2015 @ 7:52 pm
Overexposure…plain and simple.
November 11, 2015 @ 9:10 am
I really hate 2010s country. Why? because 2010s country still only appeal country men and Miranda Lambert. That’s all country radio does these days: country men like Florida Georgia Line and Miranda Lambert like Little Red Wagon. They don’t care about big country music in general like Carrie Underwood. People listening to music has moved on from country like Tim McGraw and Brad Paisley and stick with junk music like Justin Bieber. Junk music like Britney Spears are still domination music while country music like Luke Bryan are still losing popular music tastes. Popular music really hates country music like Jason Aldean because popular music only profits mainstream music like pop music and Beyonce. Streaming music is also losing country music’s appeal because country music is still struggling the streaming music industry like YouTube and streaming music are anti country music misery. Music will have to get rid of country and moved to mainstream music because country music is losing the competition to celebrities like Justin Timberlake and pop culture like radio and pop music. Boy, music really hates country. 🙁
November 18, 2015 @ 3:18 pm
I’m not surprised that the ratings were down for the CMA Show. COUNTRY Music is not being sung much anymore. It’s ALL ROCK! As an avid Country music fan for years, I only listen to the show with one eye and one ear–waiting for TRUE COUNTRY.