Why do we have so many freakin’ award shows in country music?

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CMA
Beyonce at the 50th CMA Awards, where she performed with the Dixie Chicks (source: Black America Web)

Have you ever realized that country music has a ton of awards? Like, a lot.

In light of the recent CMA Awards, let’s review some of those awards. Besides the Country Music Awards, which is the biggest and oldest award ceremony in country history, there are plenty of others.

We also have the Country Music Television awards, the Academy of Country Music awards, and the American Country Awards, not to mention several smaller awards.

So why do we have so many award shows?

“The awards shows don’t have a tremendous amount of value—in the artist’s eyes, in the industry’s eyes, or even in the eyes of public perception,” Jeffrey Rabhan said, chair of the recorded music department at New York University.

Okay, Jeff, that doesn’t answer the question.

But don’t worry — Rabhan helps better explain why these country music award shows are so important to the genre.

Music award shows are just plain fun to watch

country music awards
Brad Paisley at the Country Music Awards (source: Salon)

Music awards shows are a lot of fun to watch. Entertainment — it’s what the people want. Even if it’s Beyonce performing at the CMA Awards.

“They’re good TV,” Rabhan says.

Think about it, they include live music from people’s favorite artists.

People watch music award shows

country music awards
As long as people tune in, award shows will continue to air (source: Shrink Tank)

This is what people want — it’s supply and demand. TV stations see that this is what viewers want, the music industry wants to promote its artists, and everybody wins.

“There wouldn’t be so many of them if there weren’t a demand for them,” says Rabhan. “The ratings are good. And if the ratings weren’t good, the networks wouldn’t carry them.”

Award shows encourage faithfulness to country music

It’s about having a shared experience with other country fans. Millions of country music fans enjoy the same performances, touching moments, and comic bits at the same time. It’s a bonding thing.

“Historically, the audience tends to be more passionate, more devoted to the genre than really any other genre,” Rabhan says. Having many award shows “tend[s] to solidify” that sense of community and that passionate audience.

Music award shows are great for country music advertising

country music awards
Pop/country star, Taylor Swift, at the CMA Awards (source: San Francisco Chronicle)

People outside of the “tight-knit family” of country music, as Rabhan says, can join the family by watching award shows. It’s great PR for the genre. These shows are essentially the ambassadors of country music to the rest of the world.

“There is a blur that is happening in country,” says Rabhan. “Country is an evolving genre … it’s a good thing for music.”

So, even if you’re tired of having so many award shows in country music, be happy. It’s a good thing. 

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