Country Music Videos History

When the first country music videos were made is disputed. Sam Lovullo, the producer of the television series Hee Haw, said his show presented "what were, in reality, the first musical videos," while JMI Records made the same claim with Don Williams' 1973 song, "The Shelter of Your Eyes. In addition, a film of "Galveston", a crossover hit for country-pop performer Glen Campbell in 1969, has appeared on the video sharing service YouTube.

Country music historian Bob Millard wrote that JMI had pioneered the country music video concept by "producing a 3-minute film" to go along with Williams' song. Lovullo said his videos were conceptualized by having the show's staff go to nearby rural areas and film animals and farmers, before editing the footage to fit the storyline of a particular song. "The video material was a very workable production item for the show," he wrote. "It provided picture stories for songs. However, some of our guests felt the videos took attention away from their live performances, which they hoped would promote record sales. If they had a hit song, they didn't want to play it under comic barnyard footage." The concept's mixed reaction eventually spelled an end to the "video" concept on Hee Haw.

Promotional videos of country music songs, however, continued to be produced. On March 5, 1983, Country Music Television, or CMT, was launched, created and founded by Glenn D. Daniels and uplinked from the Video World Productions facility in Hendersonville, Tennessee. CMT's chief competitor, The Nashville Network (TNN), premiered two days later. CMT was positioned to play country music videos 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while TNN was geared toward programming lending itself to a "country lifestyle".

A competitor network to CMT, Great American Country, or GAC, went on the air in December 1995.