The Country Music Association (CMA) was founded in 1958 in Nashville, Tennessee. It originally consisted of only 233 members and was the first trade organization formed to promote a music genre. The objectives of the organization are to guide and enhance the development of Country Music throughout the world; to demonstrate it as a viable medium to advertisers, consumers and media; and to provide a unity of purpose for the Country Music industry. However the CMA may be best known to most country music fans for its annual Country Music Association Awards broadcast live on network television each fall (usually October or November).
Initially, CMA's Board of Directors included nine directors and five officers. Wesley Rose, president of Acuff-Rose Publishing, Inc., served as CMA's first chairman of the board. Broadcasting entrepreneur and executive Connie B. Gay was the founding president.
Originally there were nine individual membership categories. The current 15 categories represent all facets of the music industry. Organizational memberships are also available. CMA membership is composed of those persons or organizations that are involved in Country Music, directly and substantially.