Saturday, December 19, 2009

AUX :: Music Television That Actually Plays Music

I was surfing way up on the Rogers Cable lineup {Channel 107} here in Toronto and stumbled across AUX /ox/, as opposed to a French /oh/.  Lo and behold, it was a music network that actually played music videos and wasn't brimming with teen and tween drama content.  AUX just started broadcasting on 1 October 2009, on its own channel and as a programming module on BITE TV, both of which are owned by Glassbox Television.  Yesterday, I saw AUX made the Torontoist's Heroes list::
"After a year of establishing itself as a reputable online music portal that featured primarily Canadian music (and most of it independent), AUX took to cable on October 1 with the same vision, one that seemed almost naive in its simplicity, one born of a passion for music and the capability to get it on the airwaves."
On the villains side, is Muchmusic.

I remember MuchMusic in the campus pub back when I was an undergraduate in a decade long ago.  I was told it the signal could be jacked with the pubs satellite dish, while MTV was scrambled.  In any case, I remember "studying" between classes and catching a glimpse of this quirky music television network that was, at times, sort of like 120 Minutes with the occasional francophone song.  Fast forward to 2009.  Nicole Villeneuve for the Torontoist laments::
"...Much's once-quirky original programming and afternoon hours of music have been replaced by syndicated teen dramas, its modest-budget charm glossed over, and its smart, engaging personalities (who had, you know, personality) swapped for Doritos-sponsored-contest winners whose blonde Leah-Miller-replacement hair was probably more of a clincher than the one-of-a-billion Cribs-knockoff audition videos, because wait, isn't Cribs that other station's show, anyway? Oh, right. That station owns MuchMusic now. It's still such a strange pop-cultural paradox.
It's not entirely unforgivable; instead of getting rolled, they rolled with the punches of a consistently changing media and entertainment landscape. But in the scramble to keep up, MuchMusic the trailblazer became a follower, underestimating its audience, abandoning its history, and lowering its standards in the process."
I see this shift as inevitable to a certain extent because of the pressure for the largest possible audience.  That said, in "long tail" parlance, it can only be about the popular, in terms of content and taste.  I've wondered for a while how much of a market there was for music television that wasn't a vehicle for reality or lifestyle programming.  Anyway, getting back to AUX, I hope the expectations for audience are modest and the business model incorporates the use of the web and social media.

I like the idea that the idea was spawned from a website that was about emerging music and the fact that the founder, Raja Khanna, is a musician with a commitment to the cause.  Nicole, in her piece on AUX notes::
"Being a music lover at heart, witnessing the continuing unparalleled evolution of Canadian music, and seeing a gaping hole in the mainstream where an emerging, tuned-in generation couldn't find on-the-ground music content (certainly not on any so-called music broadcaster in these parts), Khanna bridged all the gaps with the creation of AUX. With programs such as Camera Music, Toronto director Scott Cudmore gets to flex his experimental doc-style filming muscles; on Cypher and Hard, the spotlight is put on local and international hip-hop and metal scenes, respectively; and on Explore Music and Strange Notes, figures from Canadian media and music delve into the inner workings of their very circle."
Fingers crossed.

Twitterversion::  New Canadian musicTV network, #AUX, focuses on emerging music & actually plays videos! Made @torontoist's heroes list. @Prof_K

Song::  The Wooden Sky-"Angst for the Memories"

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