Mainstream Media Adopts Country Music

BlogRodeo March 2013 asks: Why is Country Music the Current Darling of Mainstream Media?

To answer this question I’m going to focus primarily on network television’s recent display of their country music obsession. Not since the days of  Hee Haw and the Dukes of Hazard has network television been so in love with all things southern. Lately it seems that every network has come up with SO MANY ways to market to the country music crowd. From music competitions like American Idol and The Voice, to pulling Reba back into sitcom world on Malibu Country and drawlin’ out the drama on ABC’s Nashville, it seems everybody is in on this country revival, but why?

It would be easy to say that it’s because country music is so awesome, but that wouldn’t be fair to the industry or its fans, so I’ll give you my two cents. I think there are several factors at play here:

Country Music is Relatable During the Down Times:

We’ve always been singing about being broke, tired, and beat down, so when the rest of the country is feeling that way, our tunes start to really make sense to them. In times of hardship, we look for things to console us, and often we find it in music. Country music offers a simple way of life through song. We focus on love, loss, friendship, hard work, and having a good time. We do it without excess, and we’re happy with what we have. That’s something people relate to, and that translates well in television. Our stories are everybody’s story right now.

Country Music is Safe

Although us die-hard fans know that Fancy was a whore, and we’ve all got an eyebrow raised at the words in Waylon’s songs, on the whole, country music and country stars are generally reliable as being wholesome, trustworthy, and of a higher moral caliber than their pop counterparts. Nobody expects a Superbowl “nip slip” or a limo-panty-shot from the darlings of Dixie. Instead you get modest sundresses, and a gentleman who tips his hat to say hello. That being said, I’ll still defend my next point…

Country Music is Sexy

Hate the idea if you want, but when you’ve got Hayden Panettiere’s legs and Luke Bryan’s smile to work with, you’ll have hearts dropping on the floor everywhere you go. Back in the pre-Shania days, as I like to call them, nobody cared what country stars looked like, but we’re in a pop-celebrity culture now. Media conglomerates look for the visual package… appearance, charisma, charm, likeability, all as part and parcel to the talent of that individual as a whole. The greatest musicians are now getting overlooked in favor of mediocre but marketable finds.

And finally, The Sponsors are Great:

The products that appeal most naturally to country fans are the basics of American life. Kraft Foods, Ford trucks, Wranglers, and all those guys are the ones that will always have a foothold in the American consumer market. And unlike many luxury retail items, these companies are still thriving in a down-turned economy. With the wholesome, relatable, and safely sexy image that all country stars put together, pairing them with these brands for sponsorships, commercial buys, and other endorsement opportunities is a no-brainer for everyone involved.

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About Shauna Castorena

Shauna "WhiskeyChick" Castorena is a freelance journalist for both Country Music News and Pure Rock News. You can reach Shauna on Twitter or Facebook by just searching "WhiskeyChick".