Changes have arrived for country music artists in the new year.
CMT announced on Tuesday that “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.” The initiative was part of the company’s #CMTEqualPlay promise.
This new policy is an improvement from the previous ratio of 40/60 (female/male) airtime.
Leslie Fram, senior vice president of music strategy for CMT, told NPR that the decision was spurred by the lack of country music created by women being represented on TV, radio and streaming services.
“We’re not saying every female artist and every single song from a female artist should be played,” Fram said. “We’re saying, let’s have an equal playing field and let the fans decide.”
Many female stars have taken to social media to praise the decision.
“Annnnnnnd @CMT gets to go down in country music history as leading this charge. c’mon country radio cowgirl up!” wrote Brandi Carlile.
Kelsea Ballerini responded with three emoji hearts.
Also showing their support are male artists. Darius Rucker tweeted “Love it!”
And Jake Owen responded with: “We, as the men of country music are ALL FOR ‘equal play.’ I have many artists friends that are women and I have two little girls. Also, one of my fave artists is @KaceyMusgraves. I even bought a sweatshirt at her show. Gonna [sleep] in it.”
The two country music artists responded to a since-deleted tweet from Michigan country music radio station 98 KCQ Country, which claimed that they “cannot play two females back to back. Not even Lady Antebellum or Little Big Town against another female.”
Musgraves, 31, and Ballerini, 26, both responded back on Twitter, calling out the station.
“Smells like white male b——t and why LONG ago I decided they cannot stop me,” Musgraves had said.
In a separate tweet, she added: “And yet, they can play 18 dudes who sound exactly the same back to back. Makes total sense.”
Ballerini took a similar stance, offering apologies to female musicians.
“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,” she tweeted.
“ALEXA PLAY LBT LADY A CARRIE MIRANDA KACEY CARLY GABBY MAREN INGRID RUNAWAY JUNE M&T LAUREN,” read a second tweet from Ballerini. ” ALL IN A ROW.”