"Behind The Music" chronicles the personal lives of many of the most popular musical acts of the rock era, and occasionally strays into related subjects, such as Woodstock, Hair and radio pioneer Alan Freed, as well as 'year' episodes, which tell the events and issues of certain years through the music of the time.
The series was born following the success of a VH1 documentary about heroin abuse. The producers strictly follow a policy of having complete cooperation from their subjects, even when delving into embarrassing issues, which prevents the show from falling into the pitfall of tabloid sleaze. They hunt down possible interviewees, sometimes using detectives, and ask direct, probing questions, which prompt revealing, and brutally honest (we hope) responses. Nominated for the Emmy for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series for four consecutive years, BTM has established a rigid formula. We explore humble beginnings, meteoric rises, major setbacks, personal struggles, crippling vices, devasting falls, and climaxes that include revivals, deaths, and career changes.
Unfortunately (for us), success has crept in. As BTM became VH1's top-rated show, it also has become a vehicle for commercialism. In 2000, the market was flooded with BTM books, CD's, and videos, and the recording industry started to realise the direct influence the show has on music sales. Vanilla Ice reportedly sold four times more albums after his episode aired, and many back catalogue sales have increased. So the later episodes have veered away from the 'classic' artists, and feature trendy, marketable newer acts. Hence, there sometimes is precious little drama to the artists' stories, and the series has turned rather uneven. Still, there is an occasional worthy tale, though VH1 produces only three or four new episodes per season these days. It's sister show, "VH1's Storytellers", has also been revived .