MusiquePlus to go off the air in August
With audiences and media trends changing, parent company says it will launch new channel targeting women
The day the music died will come to MusiquePlus, the erstwhile star-making Quebec music specialty channel, in August.
The station's parent media company, Groupe V Media, says in its place, it will launch a new channel targeting women.
"It's a fundamental trend in the industry that led us to make this decision," said Dimitri Gourdin, Groupe V Media's executive vice-president and head of corporate strategy.
"There was a relaunch of MusiquePlus, developing three other pillars alongside music: humour, reality TV and series. But the numbers spoke for themselves. That relaunch did not live up to our expectations."
Recently, the channel's audience share has dwindled to around one per cent.
Launching pad for many
MusiquePlus, established in 1986, was the launching pad for many Quebec stars, including Véronique Cloutier, Geneviève Borne, Anne-Marie Withenshaw, Claude Rajotte and Sonia Benezra.
On Twitter, Pierre Landry, a longtime music columnist at CBC Montreal who spent five years at MusiquePlus, remembered the music station as a "creative laboratory" where almost everything was permitted — both on and off the air.
RIP MusiquePlus. J'y ai passé 5 années (1997 à 2002) remplies de rencontres personnelles et musicales extraordinaires. Un laboratoire créatif où presque tout était permis en ondes et hors d'ondes.<br>MusiquePlus est mort, vive MusiquePlus!<a href="https://t.co/aAL72lmHhf">https://t.co/aAL72lmHhf</a>—@PierreLandry
"The magic of MusiquePlus was the proximity and the spontaneity," said Borne, a VJ at the station from 1992 to 2000.
"My favourite one was with REM. It was incredible. To have a chance to talk to them for a long time about, really, anything. And then to see them play right in front of our eyes."
The Montreal studio hosted countless local and international artists, and the corner of Ste-Catherine and Bleury streets was frequently jammed with hordes of fans.
Stephanie Ng Wan, an actor now living in Toronto, was often in the crowd at that street corner. She estimates she went to as many as 20 shows at MusiquePlus in her teenage years and says the channel was how she fed her appetite for music and music news.
"It really mattered to me in the late 90s and early 2000s," she said. "Shows there were different from a concert. It was a more intimate venue, and it was live TV at the same time.
"I met some really good friends going to shows at MusiquePlus on my own."
Ng Wan said she hasn't watched the channel in years, and she no longer owns a TV.
"You remember the song Video Killed the Radio Star?" asked Borne, the former VJ. "Well, YouTube killed the music video station. MusiquePlus had the exclusive right to play music videos. There was no way you could see them otherwise. Today you can go to YouTube any hour, and press play."
V Groupe Media rebranded and reconfigured another one if its properties, MusiMax, as MAX in 2016, a move it says increased market share and profitability.
The company hopes a similar approach will work with MusiquePlus.
Did MusiquePlus matter to you? Share your memories in the comments below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
With files from Radio-Canada