YouTube Debuts Country Now Channel

cnbYouTube’s first channel exclusively featuring original country music content launched today (Feb. 6) at www.youtube.com/countrynow.

Country Now is home to the original series Country Download, Hear & Now, OMC! and I Luv My Country, which are created and produced in Nashville. Former Sony Music Nashville executive Butch Waugh is among those leading efforts for Country Now.

GreenLight Media & Marketing, a West Hollywood based company headed by longtime branded entertainment executive Dominic Sandifer, produces the Country Now channel. GreenLight is an independent agency within a network of sister companies that includes Red Light Management, ATO & TBD Records, and several major music festivals. Its clients and partners have included the GRAMMYs, AOL, YouTube, Pandora, Hyundai, adidas and American Express. Prior to launching GreenLight, Sandifer led the Entertainment & Integrated Brand Marketing Group for TBA Global, working with Chase, Nestle, Nike and McDonald’s. He also headed Universal Music Group/IGA’s Strategic Marketing team where he helped develop music-driven marketing strategies for Coca-Cola and XBox, and helped create tie-ins between Sting and AOL Broadband, and Black Eyed Peas and iTunes.

As a consultant for GreenLight, Waugh is working with labels, managers, and artists to provide content for Country Now. He explains, “Dominic looked to me for the lay of the land in Nashville, to make sure we were presenting country music in the right way, and also to share Country Now’s vision with Nashville.”

GreenLight tapped Randy Brewer’s Revolution Pictures to create the series I Luv My Country and Country Download, and Stokes Nielsen is producing and hosting Hear and Now. “What really impressed me about Dominic and the folks at GreenLight is they wanted to use Nashville based companies to create the channel,” adds Waugh. “I could see his energy for it and that he wanted to create something great.

“We talked about addressing the needs of country music fans,” Waugh continues. “If you look at it, there are consumers for labels, viewers for TV and YouTube, fans who buy tickets, and listeners for radio. They’re not always the same people, but they bleed over. So we looked for ways to expose country music and country artists to all these different types of country fans. We want to help connect the dots between the music and the fans and increase the awareness process. With Country Now, fans get to hear the song, see the video with the image of the artist, and discover the lifestyle behind the artist. It is especially valuable for new artists.”

While music programming will anchor the channel, Country Now will also feature lifestyle programs about fashion, sports, cars, southern cooking and culture. Additional series are expected in the near future, including live music programming.

More about the series:
cn Hear & Now, hosted by Stokes Nielsen of The Lost Trailers, is the YouTube version of Country radio. Premiering every Tuesday, artists provide a video intro to their new songs before pressing play on the full track. Screen images include album artwork, photos, and links to purchase the song.

OMC! (Oh My Country!) showcases the best country fashion with new episodes debuting every other Wednesday. It offers red carpet coverage by the “Twang Gang,” made up of Laura Bell Bundy, Brooke Engen, Tiffany Engen and Hugh Howser. It also includes style essentials from country stars, and the “Red-Neck Carpet.”

Country Download is a weekly show highlighting country music news, reviews, and recommendations from Emmy award winning personality Shane Tallant, WSIX afternoon drive personality The AntMan, and country radio and TV personality Samantha Stephens. New episodes will launch each Friday.

I Luv My Country is an animated series that features user-submitted country music videos combined with commentary from comedic hosts Jimmy Dale and Cleave, who appear exclusively on the channel. The premiere episode will debut soon with new content released each Monday.

“We’ve never had a country music dedicated channel on YouTube,” sums Waugh, “so I was pretty excited about having a destination for country music fans. I come from the Joe Galante school of thought, so I’m all for anything you can do to get country music artists in front of fans, especially in front of YouTube’s 22 million viewers.”

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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