With the nominations announced for the Country Music Awards states-side, the growing separation of forces is more apparent than ever. American country artists are all over the radio in Canada, but Canadian artists are practically barred from airplay in the United States. Is this fair? We do not know to what extent country music is popular throughout the world, such as in the UK and Australia, but Canada has a rich history of country dating from Wilf Carter’s debut in 1929 (he is known in the U.S. as Montana Slim). Canada is inviting American artists to perform at its CCMA awards. Is this leading to Canadian performances in the U.S.? Again, something is certainly wrong.
While American broadcasters are snubbing artists from the north of the continent, Canadian broadcasters have been icy cold towards female artists (estimates are 12.5% of airplay). The best-selling country album of all-time is from a Canadian female. Yes, Shania Twain’s Come on Over. Mother nature has not genetically modified people’s ears since that album came out. There is thus big discrepancy between what the people want to hear and what broadcasters seem intent on airing. From an economic standpoint, inclusivity, not exclusivity, increases profits because more people are engaged, listenership grows, advertising rates rise, and more people buy music. Speaking out will not necessarily change the attitudes of the suits, but we are happy to give it a try.
The Canadian Country Music Association Awards takes place in Halifax this weekend.