In a groundbreaking move, CMT has just announced they will play equal parts male and female videos. The news comes on the heels of women spending the last decade and more receiving far less airplay than their male counterparts, with few media companies being bold enough to take a stand, until now.
"Time is really up in 2020! All the talk around what can be done to support females in country music needs to transform into action, once and for all," Leslie Fram, SVP of Music & Talent at CMT, said in a statement. "At CMT, we are stepping up our own commitments, in addition to our work through the CMT Next Women of Country franchise, and will be announcing a new initiative in the coming weeks that will spark this much-needed change in our industry."
CMT also shared the news on social media, which surprisingly received mixed reactions from country music fans.
Effective immediately all music video hours on CMT and CMT Music channels will have complete parity between male and female artists. That means 50/50. #CMTEqualPlay— CMT (@CMT) January 21, 2020
"Ridiculous," wrote one person. "So if their (sic) is a time where more female artists have hit songs, they will discriminate against them in favor of lesser popular male acts. Insane."
"So not what's popular and what people want to hear?" said another person.
"Wow!" tweeted one country music fan. "I know you will get backlash, and people are going to be ridiculous but this means a lot. Talented women have been underrepresented for so long, and it's exciting that we'll be able to hear a ton of previously overlooked artists. The boys will survive."
The programming change comes less than a week after Kelsea Ballerini, Kacey Musgraves and others spoke out against a Michigan radio station, which openly stated that they could not play two female artists back to back, nor could they play two bands with female singers, citing Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town as an example.
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"To all the ladies that bust their a––es to have half the opportunities that men do, I'm really sorry that in 2020, after YEARS of conversation of equal play, there are still some companies that make their stations play by these rules. It's unfair and it's incredibly disappointing," Ballerini wrote.
Photo Credit: Getty / John Shearer