The business of music TV channels

Attend a concert from the couch at any time of the day? Thanks to music TV channels, this luxury is possible, and accessible to all. In this period, particularly marked by COVID-19 and the confinement on the national territory, this type of catalogue of offers allows access to culture. This is despite the cancellation of concerts in the country’s theatres since the beginning of March 2020. Faced with the rise of digital and music streaming platforms, how are music TV channels doing? They always seem to find their place in a changing market… Differently. Opportunities to keep, to introduce artists, or to continue to vibrate with many musical styles.

Exclusively musical TV channels, a precious cultural parenthesis

The success of music TV channels began in 2005. This, with the arrival of two channels exclusively dedicated to music, authorized by the Superior Council of Audiovisual (CSA). At the time, it was M6 Music, which has since become W9, and Europ 2 TV, now known as CStar. With the launch of digital terrestrial television, these new players are bringing a greater offer of programs, whose success is immediate. Such a success, that in 2012, the CSA offers six new free channels on the same tempo. But the reaction is not what is expected, these channels offer musical content only in an ancillary way. Gradually, music-only TV channels are becoming rarer, with new channels offering thematic content for the whole family. Events and concerts, broadcast in the second part of the evening, thus lose a large part of their audience.

New music TV channels continue to emerge, offering content exclusively dedicated to concerts, and artists. Thus, Qwest TV wants to be a set of music TV channels driven by Quincy JONES. The famous American trumpeter and producer wants to give more visibility to music,with three “chains” dedicated to different musical styles. In a nutshell, Qwest TV Jazz and Beyond broadcasts Jazz, Soul, Funk and world music… Qwest TV classical turns to opera, dance and classical music. Finally, Qwest TV Mix broadcasts hip-hop, electronic music, indie rock… and much more. A varied catalogue that really focuses on musical styles, so that everyone finds their happiness. Channels available with Samsung’s TV Plus, from 20 million users, in 7 European countries.

Telecrochets, a popular programme of generalist channels

Quincy JONES trumpeter musician
Quincy JONES, a renowned musician, is the creator of the music TV channels Qwest.

In generalIST TV channels, far from all-musical programming, the share of dedicated programmes remains driven by formats appreciated by the French. The tele-hooks. These programs, around music, allow to broadcast contests dedicated to this art, and this in the first part of the evening. The subtlety of these programs lies in the ability of the public to vote live for their preferred candidate. Star Academy, Nouvelle Star, or more recently The Voice are programs particularly followed by households. The possibility of voting, by way of a call or an SMS, is particularly lucrative for the channels. Being free, they are therefore more watched than channels belonging to a paid package. A nice compensation to stay in the race against music TV channels offering exclusive content.

Nevertheless, between 2013 and 2018, the volume of music programmes decreased on free-to-air channels. CStar, for example, had an annual music broadcast program of almost 6000 hours in 2013. It is only a little over 5000 hours in 2018. This decline is also true at W9, but not at M6, which has been relatively stable in recent years. Far from the materalized format of a record, or an exclusively musical TV channel, access to culture is changing. The emergence of mobile platforms such as Spotify or Deezer, and the rise of digital with YouTube demonstrate a change in the viewing of music and artistic events. An issue that many channels have understood, offering a format both on a TV and on a smartphone… To make music accessible, everywhere.


Press release – Qwest by Quincy Jones – Quincy Jones launches three new TV channels for QWEST TV – 3 November 2020

Higher Council of Audiovisual – Panorama of the musical offer on national channels of free-to-air television

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