In a twist that could inspire a whole new genre of country music, possibly titled “Big Business Blues,” Country Music Television (CMT) managed to plunge down a financial rabbit hole of epic proportions. The cause? Pulling up the roots of Jason Aldean’s song “Try That in a Small Town” from its broadcasts, and with it, apparently dragging along a staggering $200 billion.
That’s billion, with a ‘b.’ Enough money to buy every cowboy boot in Nashville or fill the Grand Ole Opry with gold-plated banjos until it resembled King Midas’s music room.
For those just tuning in, Aldean’s song has been sparking more controversy than a fox in a henhouse due to its lyrics and the location of its music video. For the sake of context, imagine this – a cowboy crooning about small-town values at the site of a historic lynching. No wonder, then, that a few feathers were ruffled.
But who knew those feathers were attached to a $200 billion golden goose?
CMT, in a move that could be equated to line dancing on a tightrope, decided to pull Aldean’s video from its rotation. They didn’t provide much of an explanation, maybe hoping the controversy would quietly ride off into the sunset like a dejected cowboy in a spaghetti western. However, they underestimated the seismic vibrations their decision would send through their coffers.
The result? A financial calamity that made the stock market crash of 1929 look like losing a penny down a sofa. It turns out, CMT’s audience wasn’t too pleased about their decision. The channel’s viewership dipped lower than a cowboy’s bow to a Southern belle, and the sponsors ran faster than a rodeo bull out of its pen.
Indeed, it seemed as though viewers felt CMT’s action hit a sour note on their country music jukebox. Perhaps they felt a sort of kinship with Aldean’s rugged persona and his defiant stance against the wave of ‘woke culture’ sweeping over the music industry. It’s hard to say.
With Aldean’s video gone, viewers might have expected more of the good ole’ banjo strumming and less of the drama. But they were in for a surprise. The drama wasn’t over; it had just pulled up a chair, poured itself a drink, and was getting comfortable.
CMT’s revenues started to dry up faster than a desert creek in a drought. Shareholders were stampeding for the exits, their shares dropping in value like a hot potato at a potluck. Even Wall Street could hardly believe their eyes, and that’s saying something for a place that’s seen its fair share of financial calamities.
It’s a strange day indeed when a country music channel’s financial drama overshadows a controversial country song. The fallout was more shocking than finding out your favorite rodeo cowboy rides a mechanical bull in his spare time.
In the end, CMT learned a hard lesson about the power of country music and its fanbase. Sure, the tunes may be about simple living, but the fans’ loyalty and their power to impact a business’s bottom line is anything but simple.
But, let’s not forget about Aldean amidst all this turmoil. As CMT was facing a financial Armageddon, Aldean’s song “Try That In A Small Town” made its way to #1 on iTunes. Irony can indeed be as bitter as a cup of black coffee after a long night out.
At the end of the day, CMT will have to find a way to face the music. It could become a cautionary tale in the industry, a ballad sung in hushed tones – “The Day the Music Died…and Took $200 Billion with It.”
Now that’s a country song even Jason Aldean might think twice before writing.