The 57th Academy of Country Music Awards are moving to Amazon Prime Video for 2022, marking the first time a major music awards show has been streamed exclusively.
“We are thrilled that the Academy of Country Music Awards are first to take this giant step toward the future of awards shows with Amazon Prime Video,” said Damon Whiteside, CEO of the Academy of Country Music. “This partnership, which reinforces our position as an innovative, progressive awards show, will deliver the broadest possible audience and, simultaneously, deliver massive value to our artists whose music lives inside this ecosystem, enabling fans to discover and stream music as they watch.”
The awards show most recently aired on CBS, and next year marks the first time since 1972 it has not been broadcast on one of the legacy networks. The move to Amazon makes sense as country music is one of the top requested genres on Amazon Music via Alexa, and the streaming service’s influential Country Heat playlist provides valuable exposure for many country artists. According to Amazon, the share of country streams on Amazon Music is two times the industry average in the U.S.
Vernon Sanders, co-head of television, Amazon Studios, added, “We’re excited to continue to expand our content offerings for Prime Video customers by being the exclusive home for the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2022 and honoring the best in country music. Reaching this milestone with our partners at the Academy of Country Music and MRC as the first major awards show to be livestreamed speaks to our dedication and commitment to continue to both entertain and innovate for our audience.”
The ACMs are produced by Dick Clark Productions, which is owned by MRC. “We congratulate our partners at the Academy and Amazon for blazing a path for the future of live awards shows,” said MRC co-CEO Modi Wiczyk. “Our team is excited to be part of the creative and entrepreneurial innovations that streaming technology will unleash.”
The ACM Awards aired on ABC from 1972 to 1978, on NBC from 1979 to 1997 and on CBS from 1998 to 2021. The ACM contract with CBS ran out after the 2021 show and the two parties were unable to come to a new agreement. CBS parent Viacom CBS has moved the CMT Awards to the spring slot on CBS formerly occupied by the ACM Awards. This year’s ACM Awards drew just under 6.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
The ACMs previously announced that the 2022 show would take place April 24 in Las Vegas. However, sources now say, given the new development, a date and location will be confirmed in coming weeks. The show, traditionally held in Las Vegas, took place in various venues in Nashville in 2020 and 2021, during the pandemic.
MRC is a co-owner of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter through a joint venture with Penske Media titled P-MRC.
Assistance on this story provided by Paul Grein.