Bell revives MuchMusic as ‘digital first’ TikTok brand

Canada's iconic music channel is back.. sort of


Bell has confirmed that it plans to bring back MuchMusic, Canada’s once-influential pop-culture/youth culture TV channel that faded into obscurity in the early 2010s, as a TikTok brand.

The press release says the TikTok channel will feature “relevant youth content” and will be available “24/7 exclusively across TikTok and multiple social media platforms.” Full programming and details are “still to be announced,” but the press release reveals that programming like ‘Video on Trial,’ ‘Intimate and Interactive’ and ‘MuchMusic Spotlight,’ will be featured on the TikTok channel. There are also plans to offer “live music” and “fresh content.”

Accompanying the brand’s social media influencer-powered return is a refreshed logo that looks very similar to MuchMusic’s mid-2000s look, only slightly more simplified.

“With hosts and creators that speak directly to Gen Z and younger Millennials, the all-new multiplatform MuchMusic stays true to its spirit as a seminal brand with an authentic voice,” said Stewart Johnston, senior vice-president of sales and sports at Bell Media, in the press release.

Bell goes on to state that programming will be delivered by a new team of VJs, creators and Much Studios personalities. BarDown, TSN’s effort to attract a younger audience interested in sports, will also be involved in the new iteration of Much Music, though it’s unclear how.

@muchMuch Music is back. July 7th. In partnership with @tiktok ##MuchMusic ##MuchLove♬ FEEL THE GROOVE – Queens Road, Fabian Graetz

“Culture starts on TikTok, from music and trends to artists being discovered and rediscovered, so there’s an obvious synergy between TikTok and MuchMusic for the relaunch of this iconic institution,” said Adam Burchill, the head of Music at TikTok Canada in a statement.

While it’s fascinating to see the MuchMusic brand revived in what feels like a real way, I can’t help but wish Bell’s efforts were more focused on bringing its iconic music brand to Crave. While TikTok is undeniably a hotbed of youth culture, the short video-focused social media platform doesn’t really seem like the right home for the content MuchMusic was known for.

Driven by my nostalgia-powered inner ageing millennial, sometimes I’ll just let YouTube’s algorithm take me on a MuchMusic-like music video ride on lazy Saturday mornings. Though there are likely licensing hurdles, if Bell were to upload full-day recordings of mid-2000s MuchMusic programming to Crave, I’d definitely spend more time than I’d like to admit watching the content.

This isn’t the first time Bell has tried to pivot the brand into an influencer/creator-focused platform. For example, back in 2015 through its Much Digital Studios sub-brand, Bell announced plans to work with 15 Canadian YouTube creators and digital influencers on a “multi-channel network.”

It’s also worth noting that Ed The Sock (Steven Kerzner), a former VJ on the channel, is in the process of launching his own take on the MuchMusic formula called NewMusicNation.

On Twitter, Kerzner stated that at one point, he was working with Bell to help relaunch MuchMusic but was told by the company that it “had no plans to use Much again.”

Source: Bell 

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