On July 4, fans of music will once again have a reason to tune into MTV. In honor of the holiday, the Viacom stations that include Video Hits One (VH1) and Country Music Television (CMT) will celebrate "Music Independence Day" by programming a solid 12-hour block of actual music-related content. From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., the three networks will broadcast videos, interviews, and performances highlighting "all genres from hip-hop to bluegrass to EDM to cowpunk."
Why? Well, "to provide the ultimate party playlist for everyone to revel in," of course. So says the announcement, which fails to acknowledge that only grandma is up and looking for a thrill-ride on the boob tube at 6 a.m. (the hours are the same in every time zone). But a deeper read reveals the true intention, ahem, behind the music. All of this is a bid to drum up support for and involvement with Viacom's Artist Platform, which functions like MySpace or PureVolume.
The "music discovery" system has a home with each of the networks (view beta versions for MTV, VH1, and CMT) and revolves around artist profiles that can be "claimed" (in the case of bigger acts) or created by musicians interested in getting involved. The immediate incentive for the artist is a chance to have a music video worked into the #MusicIndependenceDay (their hashtag) playlist, beamed into 100 million homes (their number). See what they did there?
From the fans' side of it, visitors to the Artist Platform sites will be able to send messages of support or contribute actual money to a "Tip Jar" within each profile, plus find easy access to the corresponding network's previous coverage of the artist. "We're going to celebrate the music, let musicians get heard, promoted, and loved," said Viacom Music Group president Van Toffler. "That ain't all bad." Right, but it'd be better if it happened on a day when people gathered indoors.