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How CMT Made a Break-Through

I will argue that country music videos became widely successful through strategies of depicting distinctly country music content, such as storytelling and traditional values, incorporating strategies of MTV (Music Television) music videos, such as performance and spectacle, and utilizing television programming and film to reach larger audiences. To help strengthen my argument, I will analyze the music video “Ready to Run” by the Dixie Chicks, number one on the list of most-aired videos on CMT (Country Music Television) during the week of September 26, 1999 (“Video Monitor,” 1999). I will compare and contrast “Ready to Run” to a popular, early country music video (Randy Travis’ “Forever and Ever, Amen”) as well as a popular 1999 MTV video (Mariah Carey’s “Heartbreaker”) to analyze the way that country music video strategies shifted over time and compared to other genres. I will look at the ways in which “Ready to Run” depicts traditional country music values through gender/family roles while simultaneously incorporating aspects of spectacle and resistance in line with the rising independence of women (Spraggins, 2000). Lastly, I will analyze how the appearance of “Ready to Run” as a soundtrack in the film Runaway Bride impacted its success (Pollack, 1999).

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