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Admit it, you don't like the slogan

Country Standard Time Editorial, July 2001

We admit it. We like country music. But that should come as no surprise.

But it doesn't seem like country aficionados need a slogan to make them listen to the music.

But that's apparently what the folks at the Country Music Association think. Their intentions were good - let's get a slogan to increase the popularity of country music.

So, they came up with one, "Admit it. You like country music."

The slogan certainly doesn't speak to those who already like the music. They're sold on it.

As for those who are occasional fans of country - and that's the target audience - it's hard to believe that a few words will sway them to turn their radio dial to their favorite country radio station.

The slogan actually comes off more as if it was okay to come out of the closet about musical preferences. Chances are that people aren't going to feel any more or less guilty about what they listen to based on some slogan. Even less so if it plays to one's guilt.

Nope, the CMA doesn't quite have it right. What will cause the public to listen to country is good music.

If the music doesn't measure up, no matter how good a slogan is will not overcome that deficiency. And let's face it folks, we have that deficiency now.

Of course, there is good music out there, but when listeners turn to most country radio today, what they tend to find is pop or rock-oriented country. If it wasn't labelled country, listeners might think they're listening to another genre entirely.

So if the CMA wants to figure out why the number of listeners and buyers is down, they want to look at the music being served up to the masses itself. No matter how much time, effort or money is put into a slogan, that will never convince people to listen to country or any other genre.

As usual, the bottom line is whether the music matters.