Fewer Country Videos Released in 1999

You’re not seeing things.

Specifically, what you’re not seeing is as many country music videos this year as you did last. In 1998 country record labels released 239 videos. This year, the total dropped to 183.

There are several reasons for the decline. First of all, videos are expensive, even in good times, with many of them costing $60,000 and up. As the sale of country music flattens, there’s an inclination on the labels’ part to cut corners by putting out fewer videos. Moreover, there is the lingering and virtually unanswerable question of whether videos actually cause people to buy the albums they are designed to promote. In addition, labels are looking to the Internet, which can also be expensive, as an alternative for promoting records. The upshot is that videos are being made more selectively.

Even so, a video remains the quickest and most economical way to build a new artist’s identity. And with the drying up of television shows devoted specifically to country music, exposure via music videos will become increasingly crucial for most acts. Performers whose records are not played regularly on radio, such as comedians, alternative country acts and older artists, are particularly reliant on music videos to provide them a presence in the marketplace.

The most prolific country video acts in 1999, each with three clips, were Brooks & Dunn, Cledus T. Judd, Martina McBride, Montgomery Gentry, Julie Reeves, Kenny Rogers, SHeDAISY, Chalee Tennison and Shania Twain.

Artists making their video debut this year were Lisa Angelle, Susan Ashton, Chad Austin, Jennifer Day, Alecia Elliott, Beverly Ellis, Andy Griggs, Tara Lynn Hart, Steve Holy, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Sonya Isaacs, James/Dean, Jerry Kilgore, Beth Maguire, Barry Martin, Roy D. Mercer, Shane Minor, Montgomery Gentry, Scott Morris, Brad Paisley, James Prosser, Redmon & Vale, Julie Reeves, Tammy Rogers, SHeDAISY, Sisters Wade, Chalee Tennison, Phil Vassar and Yankee Grey.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.