Don Green, CCMA, Canadian Country Music Association
Don Green, CCMA, Canadian Country Music Association

A Conversation with... CCMA President Don Green

Canadian Country Music Association President Don Green took time out from his busy schedule to chat with FYI about the association and this year's show in Halifax.

Green joined the association in 2010 after four and a half years as VP Operations at Puretracks. Before that he was Director of Internet Business Planning with Bell Canada for close to five years. Prior to this, he held various management positions with Bell for 12 years, so he came to his current position with a strong management background and a firm understanding of platforms and new media.


Let's start with TV viewership for the show: Is it trending up or down?

The CCMA is fortunate to have two great broadcast partners in CBC-TV and CMT Canada to bring our annual CCMA Awards Show to Canadians coast-to-coast each September. Since 2008, the average ratings have increased year over year (except 2013, which saw a small decline) with a record 947,000 average number of viewers in 2014. Over the past few years the show has reached over 3.3 million Canadians annually making it one of the most viewed award shows in Canada year after year.

Is the CCMA membership growing to any degree?

For the past few years, the CCMA Membership has remained steady at approximately 1,600 members, the highest in the CCMA’s 39 year history. To be eligible for membership one needs to be in the music industry and apply for membership with references.

In addition, the CCMA has over 15,000 in its CCMA Fan Club, which continues to grow each year. Among other things, this club has exclusive Fans’ Choice Award voting privileges in narrowing down eligible Canadian country music artists to the final five nominees. 

What is the pitch to sponsors and who is your target audience?

The CCMA Awards Show is just one event during our annual four-day Country Music Week held in September. These events highlight and celebrates country music through public music experiences and an industry conference. Annually, 17,000 to 20,000 people attend at least one of Country Music Week’s twenty-five plus events, generating over 300 million media impressions.

As a national organization, the CCMA believes it is important to bring our events to different cities across the nation. Last year we were in Edmonton; this year we’ll be in Halifax; in 2016 London will host us; and, most recently announced, the CCMA will be heading back to Saskatoon in 2017 (we were last there in 2012). In each city, all levels of government and their various agencies are always very supportive. The CCMA is also grateful for the long term support of FACTOR, Canada’s private radio broadcasters and The Government of Canada — through the Department of Canadian Heritage’s “Canada Music Fund” — and the Radio Starmaker Fund.

Working with the local Host Committee in each city we visit, the CCMA endeavours to work with the local business community to not only financially support these events, but also to create unique experiences for businesses, clients, and staff. With country music appealing to a wide range of ages and demographics, the CCMA is able to align with a variety of brands.   

We are currently revamping our sponsorship program to take advantage of long-term partnerships with national brands, in order to further build our portfolio and establish ourselves as a leading figure in targeting country music listeners and creating strong brand alliances within the genre.

Is there any empirical evidence to show a CCMA win generates additional bookings, earnings, international acclaim?

A random survey of CCMA Awards Show performers and CCMA Award winners is conducted each fall to evaluate impact. In 2014, all performers with current projects in the market saw an increase in sales week/week. Increased exposure and the honour that goes with a nomination and/or win does provides the opportunity for an artist to increase their ability to sustain a career within this genre of music.

What goes behind landing international artists? Is there a story behind landing Florida Georgia Line for the show?

Since the CCMA Awards were created back in 1982, international country music artists have joined the CCMA to celebrate the biggest night in Canadian country music. A committee, which includes all Canadian major labels, meets 10 to 12 months prior to the show to pinpoint potential additions to our Canadian line-up. Artists and their teams beyond our borders see the value and the success of our CCMA Awards Show and so we are fortunate to have been able to have artists such as Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley, Hunter Hayes, Miranda Lambert, and Luke Bryan amongst others join us in recent years.

This year we are proud and excited to have already announced that Florida Georgia Line (“FGL”) will join us in Halifax on September 13th.

Kevin “Chief” Zaruk (Big Loud Mountain) was instrumental in securing FGL this year and had this to say, “FGL has always had massive support from Canada and its fans from their first initial release. The success that they have experienced in Canada only shows how much the country music market has grown here, and FGL could not be happier to be asked to be a part of such an important night, in celebrating the best of Country Music in this country.”

General notes from yourself. I don't expect a book here, just a few short comments. 

Built upon the foundation to educate, elevate and celebrate Canadian talent, the CCMA progressively heralds the spirit, community and creativity that country music fosters.

From our CCMA Discovery Program to our Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame program, we attempt to support artists throughout their career.

 

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