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CMT Artists Release Mobile App For Underserved Country Music Market

Today CMT Artists released CMT Artists_AppHome_iPhone_5s a new iOS app to provide a mobile version of the site with all its country music content including photos, music videos and streaming tracks. It's similar to the MTV Artists app with one big difference. According to Matt Seigel, VP of Music Strategy for Viacom, in comparison with other popular music categories country music is underserved online and on mobile. Quick take: it's a nice app that's going to help fill the gap quite solidly.

Just as I don't write that often about major label news, I also tend not to cover big media companies like Viacom because I'm much more focused on indie artists and DIY. Yet the rollout of MTV Artists, VH1 Artists and CMT Artists definitely caught my attention.

Opportunities for Indie and DIY Country Musicians

While major label artists may, for good reason, get the bulk of the attention on such platforms that emerge from the world of hitmakers, all three platforms are open to DIY and indie artists for free via Topspin's ArtistLink.

And once your content is on one of those sites, then it's also on the mobile apps like the newly launched CMT Artists iOS app (Android and Windows to follow at an unspecified date).

If you're an oldster like me, I'm sure you recognize the difference between having to catch a late night show to see your musician friends' first and possibly only music video appearance on tv and being able to go straight to their page online or on mobile on the same platform that hosts the content of big stars.

Matt Siegel confirmed that this was the case with the new app and that artists that set up profile pages at CMT Artists would find that content on the app as well. In addition, they're finding way to feature new artists breaking into the hit machine such as Danielle Bradbery, winner of The Voice season four, with the debut of exclusive content on CMT Listen Up.

CMT Artists and the Underserved Country Music Market

Siegel filled me in on the digital country music market and I was surprised to find that their research showed a big gap in what was readily available to country music fans. Though he's not up on the blogging scene, he said that what they're seeing, in particular, is a gap for fans who are less about gossip and the flavor of the month (my words) and want to go deeper into the real thing.

In fact, Siegel revealed that engagement has been much stronger, even "aggressive," with bigger traffic numbers on CMT Artists than on the MTV and VH1 sites. Makes me think some of these copycat music tech startups that are likely heading for failure have an opportunity for a successful pivot if they can learn to treat country music with respect.

So Why Is This App Only For The U.S.?

Siegel explained that licensing issues are a factor given the wide range of included content but that they do have international plans and a large international organization. That includes content teams for specific regions who Siegel maintains are quite good at localizing things.

Given that we bumbling Americans often have difficulty adjusting to cultural differences, having such an organization is quite a benefit when going global.

Obviously in Viacom's position they can't take a mininum viable product approach, their products have to have a production level that's the digital equivalent of tv and that's expensive and time-consuming.

From what I've seen they've done a good job of meeting that challenge with their artist sites and with their mobile apps. The CMT Artists app sets a high bar that benefits from their ability to get content from all levels of the game and to integrate the social media channels on which small fry often rely.

When they launch their VH1 Artists app at some future date, that's not going to lockout competitors but it will complete a powerful array of digital media channels.

Where Are The Outlaws On This App?

Though I haven't had much time to play with it, the app looks great and ran quite smoothly. They've got lots of content and special features like Sound ID to identify songs and who sings them. They also have a neat feature called "Top 10 songs in 90 seconds" which plays easily identifiable snippets.

The app links out to services like iTunes and Pandora as well as concert and ticketing access via Songkick.

But when I first went on I was disappointed to find no subgenre search. I wanted to see who they're calling outlaws these days and find out if Shooter Jennings was right. But I got better than that when I scrolled down to artists related to Shooter Jennings and was given choices that included some classic country music outlaws. And like my country boy brother would say, that's good enough for me!

CMT Artists: iOS App


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is currently relaunching All World Dance. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.