Bell brings back MuchMusic as a digital network

A media brand that many of Canada’s senior marketers, agency and media execs grew up with is being revived for their kids.

Bell Media announced this week that it is teaming up with TikTok to relaunch MuchMusic, and the new digital version will include classic series like Video on Trial, Intimate & Interactive, and MuchMusic Spotlight. The company is also promising “unique client integration opportunities.”

TikTok has become synonymous with music and pop culture over the past two years, with its explosive popularity coming from short-form content including hundreds of millions of 15-second “challenges” and dance routines. Lately, however, it has introduced longer formats, including live concerts.

The new MuchMusic content will include “artist-hosted tent-pole events,” along with live performances, and there will also be a “new generation of personalities and creators at the helm,” including new VJs.

And while it was introduced as a collaboration with TikTok, Bell said in a release that the content will be “available exclusively across major digital, content, and social media platforms” (see one of MuchMusic’s first new TikTok posts below).


Can you name all the artists? #MuchMusic #MuchLove

♬ Dreaming of a Mission – BLVKSHP

Bell declined to share much in the way of details or specifics, but the release suggests it is hoping to replicate the success it enjoyed by reinventing another of its TV brands for digital. “Driven by the team behind TSN’s BarDown, the initiative follows the brand’s successful model for creating inventive integrated social media content with high engagement rates,” it said.

According to Bell, BarDown has “four of the top five engagement rates on Instagram among Canadian media,” but Instagram has longer form content (long being relative in social media) and has the website Bell did confirm there will not be a traditional MuchMusic website.

“With hosts and creators that speak directly to Gen Z and younger Millennials, the all-new multiplatform MuchMusic stays true to its spirit as a seminal brand with an authentic voice,” said Stewart Johnston, senior vice-president, sales and sports, Bell Media, in the release.

“Tailor made for today’s always-on youth audience, MuchMusic doubles down as the essential destination for music and pop culture content. We are so thrilled to offer up an unbeatable lineup of opportunities for our clients.”

“Culture starts on TikTok, from music and trends to artists being discovered and rediscovered, so there’s an obvious synergy between TikTok and MuchMusic for the relaunch of this iconic institution,” said Adam Burchill, head of music at TikTok Canada.

“MuchMusic has played an essential part in shaping the musical landscape for generations. Today, TikTok is redefining the way that fans discover and engage with their favourite music and artists, and I’m excited for our platform to bring MuchMusic to a new generation of fans not just in Canada, but around the world.”

David Brown