News | BMG, RTLGroup, Gruner + Jahr | Cologne/Berlin/Nashville, 09/09/2019

Bertelsmann Content Alliance brings country music to Germany

  • BMG brings legendary Country Music Association Awards back to Germany in November
  • Mediengruppe RTL broadcasts CMA Awards show as well as the TV shows “CMA Fest” and “CMA Country Christmas”
  • RTL Radio launches news country music radio station

The Bertelsmann Content Alliance combines its music, TV and radio forces to expand country music’s popularity in Germany. This November, the Country Music Association’s legendary CMA Awards, the annual flagship showcase of country music held annually for more than 50 years, will be broadcast by VOX, Mediengruppe RTL’s free-to-air-TV channel. In addition, Mediengruppe RTL has licensed CMA’s other two TV properties, “CMA Fest” and “CMA Country Christmas” for RTLplus. The three shows will also be available at Mediengruppe RTL’s video streaming service TVNOW. Furthermore, RTL Radio will launch a new 24/7 online radio station in October. The new station will feature the biggest contemporary country hits together with the best country songs of the past 10 years. The radio station, available online and via the RTL Radio app, is presented by Germany’s well-known breakfast show DJ Arno Müller, a passionate fan of modern country music.

Sascha Schwingel, Managing Director of VOX, “Country has been an upcoming genre for several years now, so we at Mediengruppe RTL are delighted to bring one of the biggest country music events in the world – “CMA Awards” – but also “CMA Fest” and “CMA Country Christmas” to German viewers at VOX, RTLplus and TVNOW.”

Stephan Schmitter, CEO RTL Radio Germany, “Country music has a huge audience in Germany – but until now there hasn’t been an offer developed especially for the many German fans. With our new channel we have created this special program – combined with the voice of Arno Müller it will let the hearts of country music lovers beat faster.”

The deal was brokered through the Bertelsmann Content Alliance by Hartwig Masuch, CEO of Bertelsmann’s music division BMG, which in 2017 made its biggest label acquisition to date with the takeover of Nashville-based country music powerhouse Broken Bow Music Group with an explicit plan to develop country’s international appeal.

Said Masuch, “Country music is one of the most dynamic genres in the world of music, and I am convinced there is a huge opportunity for country in Germany. We are delighted to work with the Country Music Association and our colleagues at Mediengruppe RTL to create this significant promotional platform across the GSA territories.”

Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern said, “We are thrilled to be bringing the CMA Awards and our other TV properties to Germany. With the ever-increasing demand for country music in Europe, we’re excited for international viewers to have the opportunity to experience these shows that are so important to the country music community.”

The CMA Awards – dubbed Country Music’s Biggest Night – is the longest running, annual music awards program on US network television, but has not been broadcast in Germany, Continental Europe’s biggest music market and the fourth biggest in the world, since 2012. This year’s CMA Awards will be hosted by multi-format, multi-media American superstar Carrie Underwood together with special guest hosts and Country Music Hall of Fame members Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton.

The news that the CMA Awards is to return to Germany comes as the CMA prepares a special country focus at this year’s Reeperbahn Festival (Sept. 18-21) with a panel and networking reception and an artist showcase. The showcase, titled “Neon Nashville” will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 18 and will display the diversity of some of Country’s rising artists including BMG’s Blanco Brown whose viral hit ‘The Git Up’ has taken the world by storm, claiming the top spot in charts across the globe and spawning more than one billion views across social platforms. The Reeperbahn Festival initiative has been driven by CMA’s German Task Force which has been set up in response to increase interest in the genre in Germany.

About the Bertelsmann Content Alliance
Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, RTL Radio Deutschland, the TV production company UFA, the Verlagsgruppe Random House publishing group, Gruner + Jahr, and the music company BMG inspire millions of people in Germany with their creative content every day. Together, they comprise the Bertelsmann Content Alliance. With this alliance, Bertelsmann is creating new formats and unique marketing opportunities in Germany. This makes the Bertelsmann Content Alliance an innovative and powerful partner for all creative professionals. Bertelsmann invests about 6 billion euros a year in creative content, worldwide.

About the Country Music Association
Founded in 1958, the Country Music Association is the first trade organization formed to promote a type of music. In 1961, CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame to recognize artists and industry professionals with Country Music’s highest honor. More than 7,600 music industry professionals and companies from around the globe are members of CMA. The organization’s objectives are to serve as an educational and professional resource for the industry and advance the growth of Country Music around the world. This is accomplished through CMA’s core initiatives: the CMA Awards, which annually recognize outstanding achievement in the industry; CMA Fest, which benefits the CMA Foundation and music education and is taped for a three-hour network television special, “CMA Fest”; and “CMA Country Christmas." All of CMA’s television properties air on the ABC Television Network in the United States.