Ten years ago country music had little to no representation in the online world. CMT and GACTV both had companion websites to expand on their televised content, and Country Weekly had a landing page to drive print magazine subscriptions. That’s when CountryMusicNewsBlog.com was born, out of a need for fan-driven immediate access country music updates. It’s amazing how far country music has come in just one decade. We’ve taken over mainstream music in ways we never thought would happen, with prime time network shows like Nashville, our award shows being some of the highest rated events in television, and country concert tours proving there’s still an entire touring market out there, even in a recession. And Country Music News Blog has been there for it all. We’ve helped break artists like The Band Perry, Kacey Musgraves, and Zac Brown Band. We’ve had exclusive interviews and releases with hundreds of artists, and launched several video series that give fans an inside look into the lives of country music stars. But our shining moment… the moment we are most proud of was when we found a way to collaborate with other country music bloggers for our #BlogRodeo events. Working with other writers and sites in the field really helped separate our industry from the rest in the way that we all put our own drive for success aside. It wasn’t competitive, it was a community, where we took the time to examine specific areas of the country music environment as a team and helped shape the immediate future of country music entertainment. It is with that in mind that I would like to announce that Country Music News Blog is permanently changing our focus. Where we once stood alone in the beginning, we are now surrounded by hundreds of fellow country music news sites, and each has their own strong points and unique coverage abilities, all focused on the end country music fan. What we find lacking now, and are working hard to create, is a solid resource for those country music sites. A resource for lead opportunities, blogging education, industry contact management, and customized tools made just for our country music blogging community. We will be the place new bloggers can go to learn the best practices and web etiquette, where publicists can go to reach their campaign goals, and where experienced writers can go to share their experience and discuss the industry as a whole from a professional’s perspective. We will be holding all new content until New Year’s Day 2016 when we re-launch CMNB as a country music blogging industry platform! Bloggers and writers: Be a part of the driving voice behind the country music industry, join us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/countrymusicnewsblogs/ or email us at CMNB. As always, we love to directly involve our publicist and sponsor friends. Please email us to see how you can be a part of this rebirth!
Blog Rodeo March 2013: How the Mainstream Realized Country Music Sells and Why I Fell In Love with It. I moved away from my home state of Texas almost 15 years ago, and moved on to good ole Memphis, TN, arguably one of the most important cities in the U.S. as far as music is concerned (hello, mo-town, Elvis and the blues…). That being said, I have been exposed to whole lot of different music, at a whole lot of different phases in my life and I am better off for it. Interestingly, despite my state of origin, it wasn’t until I arrived on the scene in Northwest Arkansas that my true love for country music began to blossom. Yes, I knew who the big players were, and when in Memphis I listened to our local country station Kix 106 on a regular basis. Still, I knew about 1% of what I know now, which is considerably more. I’m telling you all this because I feel my back story places me in particularly interesting perspective when answering the March Country Music Blog Rodeo topic; “Why is the mainstream media loving so much on country music these days?” Country Music Sells. I’ve studied communications and the media for a few years now, and the easy answer to this question is far less romantic that most folks might want to admit. When surveying the media landscape as it exists today, it is impossible to deny that country music is everywhere. ABC plays host to the CMA Awards and the CMA Country Christmas annually, and debuted their prime time soapy drama, Nashville and Reba’s new sitcom Malibu Country in the fall. NBC has experienced major success with reality competition series, The Voice in large part due to Blake Shelton‘s ability to draw a crowd and create a buzz. FOX continually churns out the next big country star via American Idol while CBS continues to air the ACM Awards every year. Meanwhile, country artists are getting cameos on shows like Hart of Dixie and The Bachelor, and more and more, for better or worse, country stars pop up in the mainstream gossip rags, and also on the covers of more legitimate news sources, like InStyle. Everyone is looking to get a piece of the country pie, and it’s for one simple reason, country music sells. Country Sells Because of the Fans Marketers, network execs and anyone who is paying even the smallest bit of attention have realized that country music offers a fan base that is loyal and willing to spend their hard earned dollars on their favorite artists. This conclusion is in no way a major revelation, and not really the point I want to make. What interests me is not that savvy business people have finally figured out country is a niche they can target but that this niche even exists and that it’s so strong. Plainly put, I’m interested in that fact that country fans are so loyal. As I said Continue reading The Mainstream Has Fallen for Country and I Am The Mainstream
BlogRodeo March 2013 asks: Why is Country Music the Current Darling of Mainstream Media? To answer this question I’m going to focus primarily on network television’s recent display of their country music obsession. Not since the days of Hee Haw and the Dukes of Hazard has network television been so in love with all things southern. Lately it seems that every network has come up with SO MANY ways to market to the country music crowd. From music competitions like American Idol and The Voice, to pulling Reba back into sitcom world on Malibu Country and drawlin’ out the drama on ABC’s Nashville, it seems everybody is in on this country revival, but why? It would be easy to say that it’s because country music is so awesome, but that wouldn’t be fair to the industry or its fans, so I’ll give you my two cents. I think there are several factors at play here: Country Music is Relatable During the Down Times: We’ve always been singing about being broke, tired, and beat down, so when the rest of the country is feeling that way, our tunes start to really make sense to them. In times of hardship, we look for things to console us, and often we find it in music. Country music offers a simple way of life through song. We focus on love, loss, friendship, hard work, and having a good time. We do it without excess, and we’re happy with what we have. That’s something people relate to, and that translates well in television. Our stories are everybody’s story right now. Country Music is Safe Although us die-hard fans know that Fancy was a whore, and we’ve all got an eyebrow raised at the words in Waylon’s songs, on the whole, country music and country stars are generally reliable as being wholesome, trustworthy, and of a higher moral caliber than their pop counterparts. Nobody expects a Superbowl “nip slip” or a limo-panty-shot from the darlings of Dixie. Instead you get modest sundresses, and a gentleman who tips his hat to say hello. That being said, I’ll still defend my next point… Country Music is Sexy Hate the idea if you want, but when you’ve got Hayden Panettiere’s legs and Luke Bryan’s smile to work with, you’ll have hearts dropping on the floor everywhere you go. Back in the pre-Shania days, as I like to call them, nobody cared what country stars looked like, but we’re in a pop-celebrity culture now. Media conglomerates look for the visual package… appearance, charisma, charm, likeability, all as part and parcel to the talent of that individual as a whole. The greatest musicians are now getting overlooked in favor of mediocre but marketable finds. And finally, The Sponsors are Great: The products that appeal most naturally to country fans are the basics of American life. Kraft Foods, Ford trucks, Wranglers, and all those guys are the ones that will always have a foothold in the American consumer market. And unlike many Continue reading Mainstream Media Adopts Country Music
Blog Rodeo March 2013: Is The Love That Country Music Is Feeling The Real Deal? Or Will It Be Gone Before You Can Say Gaucho Pants? I consider country music to be one of the staples in my life. I grew up on the lyrics and have never been afraid to show my support in front of large crowds of strangers. As cliché as it sounds, I feel a real connection with Barbara Mandrell’s famous words, “I was country, when country wasn’t cool.” The topic for this month’s Country Music Blog Rodeo is “why is the mainstream in love with country music?” Well, for the most part I think people like to jump on the latest trend train and make sure everybody knows they have a first-class, window seat! We all know someone who bought skinny jeans and bubble necklaces in every color. Maybe you know a girl who proudly displays a bright pink browning sticker on her vehicle, yet she has never spent a minute in a deer stand. There are plenty of examples I could throw your way, but you get my point. If the “man” is telling them one thing is all the rage, then they’ll be the first on their block with that particular item. The Voice introduced countless people to Blake Shelton, Oklahoma’s own outspoken troubadour, and opened the doors wide open to display the country scene. I’m not saying it’s impossible that someone, who once was only a fan of Rap music would never hear of Shelton, but I will say that it was a pretty good chance. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s bad for country music to gain new fans…heck bring them all…but only those who are truly connecting to the music will last. In my opinion, those are the only ones you can call “fans.” Some things I know, you aren’t a cowboy/cowgirl just because you grew up in Texas, you aren’t an expert on country music because you have two Brad Paisley CD’s and a Shania Twain cassette tape, and I’m not a hillbilly because I live in Arkansas. No matter what TV show is or isn’t getting a high rating, my love for country music isn’t going anywhere. Blog Rodeo Roundup: See What Everyone Else Is Saying! CMchatLive: “Insight from Country Stars like Scotty McCreery, Sunny Sweeney, Tracy Lawrence and more!“ Urban Country News : “Why Country Music Is Like the Zombie Apocalypse“, “A Love Affair For The Ages“ For The Country Record: “TV and Nashille: It’s Merits and Implications for Country Music“ UKCountryMusic: “Is Country Music About To Be Mainstream In The UK?“ Country Music Tattle Tale: “For The Love of Country Music“ Country Music Pride: “Country Music Has A Little Something For Everyone, Traditional, Pop, Americana and More“ Keepin’ It Country Blog: “Everyone Loves Country Music“ Focus On The 615: “The Mainstream Hasn’t Fallen In Love with Country, Just The Opposite,” “Remember When Country Wasn’t So Cool?“ Country Music News Blog: “The Mainstream Has Fallen Continue reading I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool
CMchatLIVE and CMNB Present the ACM Awards 2013 Nominations Google Plus Hangout! Wednesday morning February 13th, the Academy of Country Music took to social media to release the official list of ACM Awards 2013 nominations! We really get into the whole awards thing around here at CMNB, and this year we teamed up with CMchatLive to give you a little extra insight into the nominations. Check out our live “reactions” Google + hangout discussing and otherwise hashing out all the fun details on the categories, the nominees and the upcoming events surrounding the awards festivities in Vegas in April! Get ready to let it all “Twangout,” and check out the complete list of ACM Awards 2013 Nominees! Tune in to the ACM Awards Google Hangout NOW! You can always follow along on Twitter with #CMchat and #BlogRodeo! The 2013 ACM Awards will be hosted by Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan and air LIVE on CBS from Las Vegas on Sunday, April 7th at 8pm.
Country Music Blog Rodeo February 2013: Looking at the Mainstream Love Affair with Country Music Happening Now. The first ever Country Music Blog Rodeo launched last month, and it was a huge success! We received awesome feedback from readers, were the #1 trending topic on twitter, and managed to highlight some big trends for country music in 2013! Now we’re getting to get back in there to weigh in on some more interesting topics! For the February 2013 installment, we will be taking a closer look at why the mainstream from reality TV to artists in other genres and beyond seem to have all fallen in love with country music! Check out the schedule below, and get ready for some fun and insightful arguments from the participating blogs. Blog Rodeo February 2013 Schedule: Individual blog articles will go live on Monday, February 25th at 9:00am CT Twitter Chat will take place Tuesday, February 26th from 12:00pm – 1:00pm CT Follow #BlogRodeo and #CountryMusic Participating Blogs: CMchatLive.com CountryMusicPride.com CountryMusicTattleTale.com FocusOnThe615.com ForTheCountryRecord.com KeepinItCountryBlog.com ukCOUNTRYmusic.net UrbanCountryNews.com
Well, it came and went; the inaugural BlogRodeo country music collaboration event. The posts were great, the turnout was astounding and the twitter chat was a chart-topping success! No, really… we topped the Twitter Trending list for over an hour with the #BlogRodeo hashtag, which is no small accomplishment for ANYONE. I personally would like to thank each and every blogger, fan and artist SO MUCH for your participation! It’s easy to forget that while we work and play in our own little corners of the internet, we are still part of one very large and supportive family. I cannot WAIT to see what we accomplish in February’s BlogRodeo event. Now on to the nitty gritty! At the beginning of the year we reached out to fellow bloggers and asked one simple question: What are we most excited for in 2013? The answers we got back in the form of posts on each participants’ blog were as varied as the blogs themselves, so after sharing our posts, we took to Twitter to get a little more in depth on our predictions. (Note: With so many people chiming in, it’s difficult to cover everything, so for the full list of BlogRodeo tweets and stats check out #BlogRodeo on Twitter.) With over 200 unique participants posting over 1,200 tweets, and reaching almost 1.5 MILLION followers, here’s what Country Music Bloggers see happening in 2013: New artists to watch out for this year: Pistol Annies – While they’re not exactly new, they’re certainly establishing themselves as a full act on their own rather than a side project of the participating artists. Connor Christian – Nobody in today’s chat could deny the presence of the Connor Christian fanbase! Bloggers and country fans alike just kept slippin his name off their tongue (or tweets) like so much honey in a cloverfield. Backroad Anthem – This Ozark country favorite jumped in and participated in the BlogRodeo, did a few interviews with some of our fellow bloggers and ourselves, AND pulled off a handful of killer shows all in the last few days. Dedication and participation like that is what it’s going to take to get to the bigtime and we think these guys’ve got it! A few honorable mentions go out to Rose Falcon , Kacey Musgraves, Katie Armiger, Whitney Duncan, Thomas Rhett and Tyler Farr. It seems quite a few of these have been on the cusp of mainstream success for a while, but they’re all poised to make some big noise this year. Hottest Headliners: Kelli Pickler – Now it’s been a bit since we’ve heard anything REAL big out of little Miss Pickler, but we’re all waiting with baited breath. She’s got the talent, and the strong and loyal fanbase so we can only guess that she’s being really careful about her next move. Randy Houser – CMNBlog calls Randy Houser’s new album “the bomb”, while UrbanCountryNews says the new project’s one to get, with the song “Like A Cowboy” being their favorite Continue reading BlogRodeo Recap – January 2013
Mark Your Calendar: The Country Music Blog Rodeo Twitter Chat Happens Tomorrow January 24th! The first ever Country Music Blog Rodeo kicked off yesterday with some of the top independent country music blogs chiming in with their thoughts on the biggest and best trends for country music in 2013! Topics ranged from the impact of social media to artists on the rise to new festivals and tours to the influence of roots and Americana on mainstream country to the power of local communities on the wider industry and so much more! The participating had some really great insight, and it was really exciting to read through all the posts! Well, the blog rodeo continues tomorrow, and now, its YOUR chance to share YOUR thoughts on what the most exciting thing for country music will be in 2013! CMNB will be hosting a special twitter chat Thursday, January 24th from 12pm – 1pm CST, and you’re invited to join in! We’ll doing a follow-up Q&A on all the topics raised by each blog, offering an open discussion for readers (that’s you!) to throw in their two cents, and also giving away some pretty awesome prizes! There will even be a few country music artists stopping by to join the fun! Find the complete details below, and we hope to see you there! Blog Rodeo Twitter Chat: Date – Thursday, January 24th Time – 12pm – 1pm central (US) Join – #BlogRodeo #CountryMusic Host – @CMNBlog Blogs – @FocusOnThe615, @CMTT, @CMchatLive, @OfficialUKCM, @FTCountryRecord, @CountryMusicPri, @UrbanCountryNws, @KeepinItBlog, @TwangNation, @cmilove Prizes Include: Two (2) tickets to see Little Big Town April 19th at The Amp in Fayetteville, AR, a signed copy of Love and Theft‘s current album, a copy of Connor Christian & Southern Gothic‘s upcoming New Hometown, a signed 8×10 photo from up and comer Rose Falcon, passes to an upcoming Backroad Anthem show in Fayetteville, AR, a Backroad Anthem t-shirt and more to be announced! Don’t have Twitter? Sign up here. Country Music Blog Rodeo Participants: CountryMusicTattleTale.com: 2013 Will Bring A New Sound to Country Music! CMchatLive.com: 2013 – Insights From Country Music Industry Experts! FocusOnThe615.com: Artist to Watch in 2013! TwangNation.com: Americana’s Influence On Country Music! UrbanCountryNews.com: Roots On The Rise – The Most Exciting Music Trend of 2013! UkCOUNTRYmusic.net: Country2Country Festival-A Potential Turning Point for US Country Music In The Uk! KeepinItCountryBlog.com: 2013 The Year of Country Crossover! CountryMusicPride.com: Country Music In 2013! ForTheCountryRecord.com: Country Music & Twitter! CountryMusicNewsBlog.com (HaleighT): Word of Mouth in 2013! CountryMusicNewsBlog.com (WhiskeyChick): 2013 – The Year of Social Media In Country Music! CountryMusicNewsBlog.com (MissMolly): 2013 North of Nashville – The Ozarks Go Country! CountryMusicIsLove.com: Country Artists Passing The Torch In 2013!
How Word Of Mouth Can Impact Artists In 2013. 2013 is in full swing, and I couldn’t be happier. There are so many things that I want to do both for work and as a fully devoted country music fan. One of my big goals is to introduce people to new music. I am a fan of mainstream country, but I also really enjoy some artists, that I feel, don’t get enough attention. This is not to say that I discovered someone or was listening to someone years before they became popular. It just means that if someone is good, then I think they should get to be heard by as many people as possible. Nothing irritates me more than when somebody says, “I was listening to such and such for years and now everybody listens to them.” People say that as if it is a bad thing. Why would you want to keep something good from everyone else? If anything, I would think it would be a compliment on your taste in music. I think that word of mouth is a huge asset for musicians and artists. Without it, a lot of national acts wouldn’t be where they are today. So in 2013 I will continue to share my opinions on artists I listen to and come across, and I hope more than anything that fellow country music fans will do the same thing. Blog Rodeo Roundup: See What Everyone Else Is Saying About Country Music in 2013! CountryMusicTattleTale.com: 2013 Will Bring A New Sound to Country Music! CMchatLive.com: 2013 – Insights From Country Music Industry Experts! FocusOnThe615.com: Artist to Watch in 2013! TwangNation.com: Americana’s Influence On Country Music! UrbanCountryNews.com: Roots On The Rise – The Most Exciting Music Trend of 2013! UkCOUNTRYmusic.net: Country2Country Festival-A Potential Turning Point for US Country Music In The Uk! KeepinItCountryBlog.com: 2013 The Year of Country Crossover! CountryMusicPride.com: Country Music In 2013! ForTheCountryRecord.com: Country Music & Twitter! CountryMusicNewsBlog.com (WhiskeyChick): 2013 – The Year of Social Media In Country Music! CountryMusicNewsBlog.com (MissMolly): 2013 North of Nashville – The Ozarks Go Country! CountryMusicIsLove.com: Country Artists Passing The Torch In 2013!
For the first installment of Blog Rodeo, host CountryMusicNewsBlog asks “What are we really looking forward to in 2013?”. My answer: Country music fans truly embracing social media! Over the award show and tour seasons through 2012 we saw artists, news outlets, and record companies dabble with social media sites, trying to figure out that magic formula that pop music seems to have down to a science. We’ve seen award shows and televised performances with twitter hashtags displayed throughout the broadcast. We followed along as Jana Kramer used Instagram to build a buzz about her album release through photo challenges. We’ve gotten to know the sass and crass of artists like Blake Shelton and LeAnn Rimes thanks to their sharing (and sometimes oversharing) across the board. We’ve even seen the rise of Google+ hangouts featuring live interviews from stars as big as Taylor Swift. Heck, just last week Dierks Bentley used facebook to successfully find his lost dog Jake! To put it plainly, country stars want in on social media action and they’re trying hard to get fans to join them! The common thread among all of these things is that the artists are able to be themselves in a public space without losing control over their privacy, and this allows them to reach fans on a more personal level. Never before have fans had such open access to get a message to their favorite artist, or receive a direct response. It’s a power many pop celebrities have built their career around, but country music seems to be just a bit late to the game. There’s a lot of reasons for this, but those reasons are getting less relevant every day. While much of the online interaction between stars and fans has followed a natural growth, 2013 is the year the guys behind the scenes will learn how to take advantage of this limitless guerrilla marketing tool. We’ve had time to tinker and see what fans respond to, and how to best get the attention of the masses, and weigh the results of some not-so-popular online moments. Top Country Music Social Media Engagement Trends to Expect in 2013: So after the disorganized experimentation that our industry has done in the past, what I expect from 2013 is a real focused strategic effort at connecting fans with their favorite stars by directing marketing toward encouraging social engagement. You will see a lot more Easter Eggs, for example, Carrie Underwood’s album Blown Away featured a promotion where if you scanned the album cover with a special app on your iphone, android, or other tablet device, the artwork would “come to life” and conveniently link you to the album purchase options on iTunes. I expect to see a lot more of this Easter Egg kind of content that teaches fans how to use technology in new and innovative ways to get more out of the album-buying experience. You will also see artists making a more genuine effort to express themselves over social media Continue reading Country Music Blog Rodeo: 2013-The Year of Social Media in Country Music