March 1, 2010

Ray Stevens and the Music Video Market

To date the hit count for the most current Ray Stevens music video, "We The People", is sitting at 2,726,020. The play count that I'm using is for the official music video release from Ray Stevens' You Tube channel, also known as Ray Stevens Music. There have been other people who have uploaded the music video but I'm only citing the numbers from what is considered the official video release by Ray Stevens Music.

As the calendar flips over from February to March we're still eagerly anticipating a full-length CD of songs which will contain "We The People" among other selections. Given that there wasn't a new CD available in February it leaves me to think that March is the magic month. The music video will reach it's third month anniversary on the was December 11, 2009 that the music video made it's debut on You Tube. Music videos go hand in hand with Ray Stevens...his music videos, as I've commented on in previous blog entries, have gained millions of views on You Tube over the last decade. Ray, himself, only last year created a You Tube site but fans and the public in general had long since uploaded Ray's various music videos to where his music videos are commonplace on a myriad of video hosting sites.

This connection with music videos goes back to 1992 and the release of Comedy Video Classics. The 1990's were very successful for Ray Stevens in a way that could not have been predicted in the previous decade. In the 1980's Ray revamped his career and his image into that of a country comedian full-time. In the 1960's, 1970's, and the first half of the 1980's he fought against the comedy/novelty image in spite of his commercial successes and his seemingly natural comic abilities.

As the 1990's dawned Ray set in motion the music video era of his career. It began after he opened up his popular theater in Branson, Missouri in the summer of 1991. He decided to open up the theater after sensing that Branson was on the brink of becoming a major tourist attraction. Also, the idea that the fans would come to see the artist instead of the artist traveling all over the country to see the fans, may have had something to do with it, too.

He made a series of comedy sketches and music videos to play on the large screen at his theater and they became so in-demand that a home video was released and sold at his gift shop. This spawned Comedy Video Classics...a home video collection of eight music videos from Ray Stevens. The collection was sold on television and in newspaper advertisements throughout the latter half of 1992 and into mid 1993. The collection sold over two million copies and became a landmark in the mail-order industry. In the late summer of 1993 Ray issued two home videos: Ray Stevens Live! and More Ray Stevens Live!

The first collection was sold exactly the way Comedy Video Classics was sold. The live home video of one of his Branson concerts would go on to sell over a million copies at both television and retail outlets. The second live home video was exclusive to Ray's fan club and his theater gift shop. Sad news in the fall of 1993 arrived when Ray announced that the 1993 season was his final at the theater he opened in 1991. Ray remained visible in Branson, Missouri off and on throughout the rest of the 1990's, however, appearing at other theaters. He did a series of concerts at Wayne Newton's theater and then, if I'm not mistaken, did a series of concerts at the Grand Palace Theatre. Wayne's theater was formerly known as The Five Star Theatre.

In the meantime Ray had filmed and released another home video. This one, released in 1995, was titled Get Serious! and it followed the sales successes of his previous two mail-order collections. In the last few years of the 1990's Ray remained busy doing concerts at the Acuff Theater, which was across the street from the Opryland attraction in Nashville, Tennessee.

Opryland was in operation for 25 years: 1972-1997. As far as I know there are road signs in Nashville that point the way to where Opryland used to be but in it's place is OpryMills, a string of shopping stores, that opened to the public in the summer of 2000. I've heard stories that tourists who aren't terribly in the know when it comes to all things Nashville see those Opryland road signs and become baffled when it leads them to a shopping mall and not a theme park. I don't know if those signs are still up, though. The closing of Opryland wasn't well publicized, neither, which only adds to the confusion that exists. The lesson here is to those who don't pay much attention to country music. Since the mainstream media doesn't report on the goings-on in Nashville and they don't report on country music unless a country singer does something embarrassing, the lesson to be learned is to rely on your own research and rely on your own findings because you're not going to learn much from the mainstream media when it comes to country music.

However, this blog page as well as Ray's web-site, will teach you all you have to know when it comes to Ray Stevens.

By the way, the Acuff Theatre, where Ray did those series of concerts in the late 1990's, is now called the BellSouth Acuff Theatre. BellSouth is the name of a phone company that services the south. As always, this blog site is not affiliated with Ray Stevens. It's simply a fan-generated site. In whatever small way I feel as if I'm doing my part at promoting Ray's music and career, which is what I like doing.

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