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CRTC denies MuchMusic's request to play fewer videos

Posted by Derek Flack / November 25, 2010

MuchMusicMuchMusic's desire to delve further into "lifestyle" programming and away from music videos suffered a blow today when the CRTC denied an application made by CTV (the station's parent company) to amend its broadcasting licence.

Wading through the legal speak in the decision is a bit of a pain, but chief among CTV's requests was the desire to reduce the percentage of music video programming that the station shows from 50 to 25 per cent. According to CTV, "music videos no longer distinguish the service as they are readily available through other sources."

To put that differently, YouTube has made MuchMusic's former business model untenable, and it's looking to further re-brand itself to "better position the service to adapt to the business realities of audience fragmentation and evolving technologies." But, after interventions from a host of companies and associations -- including Rogers, The Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA), the Canadian Conference of the Arts (CCA), and the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) -- the CRTC deemed that the proposed changes would call into question the Commission's Category A licencing framework.

That framework indicates that "such services be complementary and not compete directly with one another," which poses a problem for the CRTC because under the proposed changes, "MuchMusic would duplicate the programming of the Category A specialty service known as MTV2, the licence for which is also held by CTV."

MuchMusic's request to reduce and reposition its Canadian programming was also denied by the CRTC. For a look at the complete Broadcasting Decision, check here.

Photo by Adam Finley on Flickr.

Discussion

52 Comments

hbr / November 25, 2010 at 02:40 pm
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Much music died a long time ago..it's original format was one inspired not only by the American MTV, but also City Limits...under that model you had informed , educated video hosts commenting relevantly about music and it's relating videos..Since the 90's it's all gone to shit, catering only to the black hip hop, or teeny market...time for them to pack it in and leave the market to newer things that rehash an old idea, like AUX
Lisa / November 25, 2010 at 02:43 pm
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Who knew that 50 percent of their current programming was videos? That sounds way higher than what I've seen.
Cliph / November 25, 2010 at 02:46 pm
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*fewer
John / November 25, 2010 at 02:46 pm
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Am I wrong in thinking that the CRTC is completely useless.

I'm no fan of Much Music, but if they can't adapt to changes and lower the number of music videos being shown then how can the CRTC expect Much Music or a similiar business to stay competitive or improve the potential for profit.

Anyone else think we should get rid of the CRTC and their Canadian Content guidelines?

Derek / November 25, 2010 at 02:49 pm
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That title should have originally read fewer not less, so I'll take my licks...
octavio / November 25, 2010 at 02:52 pm
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John: regulatory agencies like the CRTC do not exist to foster an environment of competition. The CRTC doesn't give two dog licks whether MuchMusic exists or not, but if it does, it has to have 50% music videos.
Serge / November 25, 2010 at 02:56 pm
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First, the folks who run MuchMusic are free to start another TV station that does exactly what they want, call it MuchMusic, and drop the existing one. The only difference is that the existing MuchMusic gets special privileges because it's supposed to provide music videos. If CTV wants to give up the privileges, then there is no problem.

Second, the article is misleading. They weren't simply told no go. They were told that this needs to be looked at their licence renewal hearing. That takes place next year.

That said, get rid of the CRTC! I don't know why, I don't know how, I don't even understand the CRTC, I just think it's a cool thing to say. (Kidding. Sort of.)
Derek replying to a comment from Serge / November 25, 2010 at 03:00 pm
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Actually, they were told no-go. Just because they can try again at that hearing doesn't mean that this request wasn't denied...
Abby / November 25, 2010 at 03:04 pm
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MuchMusic is supposed to be a video channel. The fact that only 50% of their current programming is ridiculous. The fact that they want to reduce that further to a mere 25% is even more ludicrous.

They can try to use youtube and other sites/avenues as an excuse if they wish, but as a viewer it seems to me that the percentage of videos being shown was getting to be fewer long before these other options came along.

If they were to cut the video programming to only 25%, they might as well just completely shut down as a music channel. Personally, I only watch when they are actually showing videos because that's what I want to see. The "lifestyle" crap is just that, crap. I have no interest in that whatsoever.
Dave / November 25, 2010 at 03:08 pm
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"Music videos no longer distinguish the service as they are readily available through other sources."

And endless reruns of crappy reality series aren't?

Thank you, CRTC! There's plenty of room for CTV to get innovative with MuchMusic without excising the Music.
KL / November 25, 2010 at 03:09 pm
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This 50% figure doesn't make sense. Do they even have a straight half-hour show that plays only music videos anymore? I suppose that if you add up all the lead-in music video snippets they'll show before Buffy or The Hills or whatever other ridiculous programming they have, you just might get to 50%.

Still, I doubt it. I call shenanigans on that figure. No way in hell 50% of the programming on that channel is comprised of music videos.
Paul replying to a comment from John / November 25, 2010 at 03:09 pm
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John said: "I'm no fan of Much Music, but if they can't adapt to changes and lower the number of music videos being shown then how can the CRTC expect Much Music or a similiar business to stay competitive or improve the potential for profit."

They weren't told that they can't adapt, just that the proposed adaptation was unacceptable to how they're licensed. Come back to the table with a proposal that's an innovation instead of one that's just a copy of other stations already broadcasting (by the same owners no less).

I agree that music video television has largely lost its relevance, but at least it had some to start with, unlike these vapid 'lifestyle' channels.
Not So Much / November 25, 2010 at 03:21 pm
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Hmm, let's see what's on MuchMusic today...

Got To Dance UK
Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew 2
Jackass: Gumball Rally
Gossip Girl (!)
Degrassi
Pants Off Dance Off

Now admittedly, that's between rounds of Videoflow and the snarkfest of Video On Trial. But come on... Degrassi? DEGRASSI?!

Kudos to the CRTC. Make these guys hold up their end of their broadcasting license, not just regurgitate CTV/MTV pap.
ALAV / November 25, 2010 at 03:25 pm
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If MuchMusic wants to increase profit and viewership, the should overhaul their entire channel and bring it back to what it once was. As one previous poster put it, other channels such as MTV looked to MuchMusic for how to format their programming. Now MuchMusic appeals to 12 year olds and only that. Whatever happened to The Wedge, Loud, RSVP, FAX, and the quality of their VJ's? Why did the Suits think it would be a good idea to lose the QUALITY that they once offered? But then there are a lot of issues with Canadian media... Don't even get me started on radio and The Edge...
Jacob / November 25, 2010 at 03:33 pm
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The changes CTV wanted to make to Much... doesn't CTV already own a station like that? One called "MTV"? Or even "MTV2" for that matter?

They own three "youth lifestyle" stations, two founded around music. They should keep at least one of them that way. Keep the reality and lifestyle nonsense on the MTVs.
RIP Dan Gallagher / November 25, 2010 at 03:42 pm
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Muchmusic needs to bring back the Pepsi Power Hour and Test Pattern.

Yeah.
qwerty / November 25, 2010 at 03:59 pm
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Good move by the CRTC, hopefully this finally destroys Muchmusic. Next up, MTV.
skeeter / November 25, 2010 at 04:16 pm
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slightly off topic, but does anyone know what's going on with the 24 news channel that the CRTC licensed to Citytv? it was suppose to go to air in 2009. i'm sick of CP24 and would like a little bit of variety (not that i'm counting on citytv to be any better).
RealTalk / November 25, 2010 at 04:18 pm
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The CRTC is useless.

They won't allow MTV Canada to play full length music videos because that right is only awarded to Canadian Muchmusic who doesn't even want to play videos.

Well, Muchmusic and MTV Canada are now both owned by CTV. The CRTC isn't really protecting Canadian content but hindering growth.
twigby / November 25, 2010 at 04:41 pm
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As for the 50% total guess no one has watched much from 1 am to 11 am where all the shows like Loud and The Wedge have been exiled. That's a good 10 hours of music videos granted at a time where no one is going to see them.

Also i can't believe the amount of backwards thinking in the comments that are being made in favor of "good taste." Simply put there's no market for music videos on television anymore, NONE. Why would any tech savvy teenager sit around a television to wait and see a Lady GaGa video when they can just bring it up on Youtube right away?

To put things in prespective let's say you had a pencil company and you're doing great but all of a sudden people are using pens like crazy. So you want to change your business model to be able to sell more pens but the government steps in and says "uh you were a pencil company to start so half of your business has to be pencils." It's stifling growth.

My main problem with the ruling is it specifies music VIDEOS. As I've already stated who the hell watches these on TV anymore? Why can't we switch this up to something like 50% music programming and allow things like live performances, artist interviews, artist profiles and in a stretch those vapid award shows like the MMVAs and the MTV Video Awards in the mix? I'd argue that in this day of age these sorts of things would establish a music identity more than some random booty shaking rap video.

My point is why punish a business to uphold something so archaich that society itself has tossed to the side. With the internet there's no need to have music videos on TV so why not let MuchMusic show an extra few hours of Buffy re runs? It doesn't hurt anybody but by forcing them to uphold to standards that were set like decades ago is hurting a company that employs people.
HaroldSmithHansen / November 25, 2010 at 05:19 pm
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Why do people complain about Much not playing music videos? If they were, would you become their #1 viewer? No. You'd be doing the same thing that THEIR[MUCH]DEMOGRAPHIC is doing - going online. Half the people commenting on this story are not even in the DEMO(myself included). Test Pattern? Fax? Are you serious? It's 2010, get your head out your butt - Dan Gallagher is not coming back. Hell, Strombo isn't even coming back! Much definitely has to re-evaluate what their 'thing' is going to be but it definitely isn't going back to the old model...or satisfying their audience from 20 years ago - myself included.

Also, it's shitty that some people are citing 'booty popping' videos and the 'black' hip-hop market as possible reasons of what is wrong with Much. There is no 'black' hip-hop market in Canada and if their is, Much sure as HELL is not catering to it. Hip-Hop is now mainstream. A Wiz Khalifa video will now run right beside your precious Taylor Swift and Hedley. The distinction is as dated as say, a 'Test Pattern' reference. And the 'booty popping' videos are hardly the problem.

Okay, so, my point is if Much did go down to 25% videos none of us would be the wiser so why are people complaining.

Shout out to twigby - made good points.
Aaron / November 25, 2010 at 05:41 pm
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It's getting ridiculous and these CRTC regs rarely hold water for any length of time. It seems that every station just wants to be the same and rarely do they stick to what they promised to stick to.
Jacob replying to a comment from twigby / November 25, 2010 at 05:43 pm
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You'd be surprised. Yes, kids can watch their favourite videos on YouTube whenever they want, but they still like being "told" what to watch. Much tells them what to watch.


As for the 24h CityNews Channel... I WISH they'd launch it. I'm so, so, so sick of CP24. We get one news headline (usually involving 5 minutes of George Lagogianes live on the spot chatting with people at some food drive or something), then 5 minutes of weather and traffic, before finally getting to the rest of the headlines. That, and their newscasters are way too smiley and engage in way too much chatty banter.

People criticized Citytv's news style, but CP24 seemed to be far more serious under their watch.
Cesar / November 25, 2010 at 05:43 pm
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So how do we get rid of the CRTC?
Nsk / November 25, 2010 at 05:57 pm
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You guys remember the electric circus and when they had good VJ's and programs, yeah those were the good old days of much music. I don't care or watch that station anymore.
Suzi Q / November 25, 2010 at 06:21 pm
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Hey, as long as they don't play anything by Feist, I'm happy. Yech!

One two three four
Watch me puke on the floor
Five six seven eight
See a turtle masturbate
Tyler / November 25, 2010 at 06:52 pm
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Muchmusic has abandoned the music video format for a long time now. Since CTV came into the picture it's just been worse. Let's be honest, CTV is not a channel that I associate the arts with. It's for boring middle of the road types who are only interested in what's considered "popular" or "mainstream". Muchmusic used to be about bringing newer music and trends to light. CTV isn't about that at all... It's about terrible celebrity shows and duplicating what's on the American networks. It's strange since we already get those shows directly from the American networks already!!! What ever happened to Canadian content? I think they (CTV) thought they could get away with it again since the CRTC has already let them get away with way too much.
I think Muchmusic and CTV are just lazy and not creative enough to make this format work. When they decided to but Muchmusic they should have thought it through a bit. YouTube is definitely not a recent phenomena. And if this is such an impossible format in this day and age why is it that two new music video channels that are air 100% music videos are now available (TheCoolTv-49.2, The Country Network-29.2).
andrewS / November 25, 2010 at 07:03 pm
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Yeah, if they go to 25% videos they will be almost entirely in the middle of the night. It probably counts as CanCon too so CTV fills up their quota cheap.

That said, MM is gone, the 90s are gone, and while we can be nostalgic, I don't get particularly upset by the changing media landscape. I do feel bad for today's kids who will not have the memories of gambling at lunchtime in school with MM playing in the background, but what can you do? I could go on about how they're listening to crap music too, or how they're ruining the other once glorious music outlets (ie CFNY) etc etc etc. But let's face it, those of us that grew up in 80s and 90s have grown up and are no longer their target demo.


Sean / November 25, 2010 at 09:48 pm
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MuchMusic dares to blame YouTube for taking away business?

Duh.

Kind of like the Food Network blaming YouTube for the same thing.

Golly MuchMusic, you decided your format changing, changed your hosts and strayed away from 24 hour videos and dared to point the blame elsewhere. Shame on you.

MuchMusic, if you greatly feel your format has failed, admit it and close up shop. Give your channel to someone else with business sense.
steve / November 25, 2010 at 10:20 pm
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CTV ruins everything it touches. Muchmusic, CP24, Speaker's Corner, the Olympics, the Hockey Night in Canada song, the Grey Cup, and just this past Sunday, the Santa Claus parade. Even their news sucks. This past Saturday they opened with the shootings in Toronto, then went into self-promotion mode by spending 10 minutes promoting the parade and So You Think You Can Dance Canada. Then they moved to a story about cholera in Haiti. The place is run by a bunch of meathead MBA know-it-alls with no taste. I hope they go bankrupt. Oh ya, and Flashpoint sucks.
tara / November 25, 2010 at 11:04 pm
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Dov Charney attempts to come across as “not a pervert” http://wp.me/pUJsr-4r
j-rock / November 25, 2010 at 11:12 pm
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Few things get people in their 30s more riled up than bitching about how badly MuchMusic sucks compared to back-in-the-day. I totally agree, but the whole world has changed, and as much as I used to love it, if I could have gone online at 16 years old to watch the videos I wanted to see, when I wanted to see them, I would never have spent so much time in front of the TV with the VCR set to record, and my finger on the pause button.
B replying to a comment from hbr / November 26, 2010 at 09:21 am
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"catering only to the black hip hop"

is that a joke????????
do you not remember shows like da mix, muchvibe and rapcity????

all of them cease to exist. rapcity is only played at 3AM ET!!! and its only a half hour show

how does it cater to "black hip hop"?? you are surely mistaken
BitMedler / November 26, 2010 at 10:27 am
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wow... aweful lot of comments for a station no one likes.
realtalk / November 26, 2010 at 11:16 am
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Yeah no one likes but obviously a lot of people care about the arts. Although Muchmusic doesn't really showcase Art anymore.
Mike / November 26, 2010 at 11:29 am
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It must be frustrated to own a business that is trapped in a past era due to overzealous government regulations. Youtube and MySpace are where people turn to watch music videos, not television.

MuchMusic needs to change it's format in order to survive.
rek / November 26, 2010 at 11:35 am
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*Everything* Much airs is available from other sources.
Jason / November 26, 2010 at 11:54 am
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YouTube or not, I'd love a music video service that I could simply throw-on and listen/watch as I go-about my day.

Moreover, those who say this is a case for disbanding the CRTC really don't have a clue what it is the CRTC actually does and wouldn't be able to name a country that doesn't have a CRTC-equivalent (because there isn't one!)
Sandman / November 26, 2010 at 01:15 pm
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Nice to see the CRTC earn their paycheck.

If MM needs to reduce music videos to survive, then maybe it's time to shut down or sell.
Tyler / November 26, 2010 at 01:38 pm
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First of all, I applaud the CRTC for not letting Muchmusic (CTV) to go ahead and do what they want. Muchmusic was licensed and should still be "THE NATIONS MUSIC STATION" and when CTV bought MuchMusic they were well aware that was what was expected of them. I have a lot of other issues with the CRTC, but this is one that I am truly happy with.

Second, YouTube is not killing musicvideo channel format! As I mentioned on a previous post the Americans (Fox Network) has added (not just one) but two music video channels and they aren't even specialty channels. Don't you need to have a cable subscription and pay additional fees to get MM? The 2 Fox music video channels (TheCoolTV and TheCountryNetwork) are both available for FREE over the air with a TV antennae!

Another thing, aren't most of the videos that are posted on YouTube originally captured from TV anyways? And everything is available now via internet sources. Music, movies, software... Everything is available elsewhere. Does this stop music, movies and other things from being produced? NO! CTV lacks creativity, passion and are too busy wasting money on getting crappy American shows on there network! That's just it.

Andrew / November 26, 2010 at 01:50 pm
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Enough with this CRTC overregulation, let the free market decide. Pretty much everything on TV is available for free or cheap on the internet anyway (YouTube, CTV's own website, iTunes, Netflix etc.) minus ridiculous amounts of advertising, that's why I don't subscribe to Rogers' overpriced cable TV service.
rek / November 26, 2010 at 02:03 pm
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Pull the station license and give it to AUX TV - they seem interested in showing music videos.
RBeezy replying to a comment from hbr / November 26, 2010 at 02:07 pm
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"Black" hip hop didn't kill MuchMusic, serial programming and the culling of music journos in favour of pretty talking heads killed the channel.

I'd say more but that sums it up entirely.
Fantomex replying to a comment from ALAV / November 27, 2010 at 07:05 pm
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<i>The Wedge</i> is still around, but it's only on at 3:00 AM on Thursdays; it's too popular to be canceled, and has it's own Facebook group. In fact, here's its website; <a href="http://www.muchmusic.com/music/thewedge/";>The Wedge</a>

My hope is that this ruling and the recent announcement by MTV USA that they will be playing more videos and cutting back on all of those stupid reality shows will have an effect on Much Music/Much More Music to do what they use to do; if not, then CTV should shut down the whole operation, sell off the building at Queen and John to AUX TV, and let them take over music video in Canada (the pop music/reality show bullshit can be shown on a new channel called The Pop Reality Nonsense Channel, or something like that.)
Musiclvr / November 28, 2010 at 11:47 pm
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The CRTC is absolutely correct. They licensed a Music Video channel. Online sources do not provide the breadth or depth of programming that a dedicated music/video channel like MM has the POTENTIAL to provide if they wanted to.If CTV can't or does not have the creativity to do this, they need to put MM on the block.
Serge / November 29, 2010 at 10:06 am
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Meantime, AUX has applied to the CRTC to play *more* music videos...
Fantomex replying to a comment from Serge / November 30, 2010 at 07:31 am
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Good. Hope that they succeed in doing so. As I said before, I also wish that they could buy out Much Music and all of it's subsidiary channels (Much More Music, Much Loud, Much Vibe) and get them back to showing music videos and music again.
Devon / January 18, 2011 at 08:17 am
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MTV Canada is considered a "talk" network. MTV needs to attempt to change the title to a "lifestyle" network to save MuchMusic' original purpose. Then MuchMusic should stay as a music channel, with half music videos and half music shows with VJ's (basically make MuchMusic like the American music network Fuse). Fuse does half videos and half music shows, interviews, performances and people love it! I would LOVE just to sit down and watch videos. Something other than mainstream, I like being told music recommendations. If they want to add "lifestyle" stuff, just put it on MTV. I think CTV would do that if MTV wasn't a "talk" network. So make MuchMusic like Fuse and MTV like american MTV.
roger / July 23, 2012 at 03:15 pm
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What a waste of a once fantastic much station. You coculd tune in and see local artists, up and coming, new, plus current. Now you can't request to see your favourite band. I was just on the Much Music web page to see a friends of mine's band ( Hello Beautiful)when I noticed no one goes on anymore. What a shame. What is happening to the world of music when Toronto was on top once upon a time. You need to go back to what the audience wants before you close the door on yet another legacy of it's time.
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Them good ol' days / June 2, 2014 at 06:26 pm
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YouTube and the Internet in general may have stolen a lot of MuchMusic's "client base" to to speak, but MuchMusic shot itself in the foot in the very late 90s and early 2000s when it started alienating its viewers by changing the content drastically. There was a time when you could tune into interesting music videos at any time of day, and have interesting and informed commentary between them. I used MuchMusic as a way to get exposure to music that wasn't on the radio. When I was young, I discovered Sandbox and The Wild Strawberries, for instance, just from scanning MuchMusic. Then came the age of excessive contests, reality programming, lack of informed VJs, and the hollowing out of the MuchMusic space at Queen and John -- I remember when it was a constant hub of activity. Now, it's nothing.

I remember that MuchMoreMusic, at least when it came out, was a lot better than what MuchMusic had become, even if it were more on the easy listening side of things.

But I guess MuchMusic, just like the Yellow Pages, has to pack up and admit that times have changed. Every form of information, practical or entertaining or both, can fit into the palm of your hand and be called up instantaneously in a smartphone.
Jay Johnson / June 15, 2014 at 12:49 pm
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Much plays artists that are either forced on us by Canadian Content or made to look popular by ClearChannel and album sales. They have not played groups, bands or rappers that the real population listens to in many years, their choices of what is the 'best' each year are as out of touch as the Grammies. MTV lite....with maple syrup. Let em go broke

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