Country music award shows might be pieces of evidence that all the friendly stereotypes are true: Country folks know how to party, and they sure love to have a good time. That’s what makes watching country music awards so darn fun — the country stars look like the kind of people we’d like to hang out with.

If you’re new to this neck of the woods, then sit down and stay a while. We’ve broken down the big differences between the Country Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, the Country Music Television Awards, and the American Country Awards for your viewing pleasure.

Country Music Awards (CMA)

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Hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood opened the show at the 50th Annual Country Music Awards celebration. -photo from abcnews

The Country Music Association (CMA) was established in 1958 to promote country music. It held its first awards show in 1968. The ceremonies started on television broadcast the following year, and they continue to be a way for the organization to fulfill its central goal of increasing country music’s cultural presence.

The show happens every October or November.

Unlike some of the newcomers, nominees and winners are determined by industry professionals in this prestigious country celebration. The CMA has brought together country crooners Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as hosts for the past six years. Interestingly, Taylor Swift is the most celebrated artist of this show. Oh, wait. That’s all country music award shows. The year 2013 proved to be a bit different as Swift didn’t take home several of the CMAs she was nominated for, but she did receive the illustrious Pinnacle Award.

Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards

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The 2018 ACM Awards are just days away!

A celebration of more than five decades of country music magic with all the stars and legendary entertainers who brought the beloved Academy of Country Music Awards to life, pubbing in anticipation of the show.

From the first informal awards ceremony at the Hollywood Palladium in 1966 to today’s star-studded show on CBS, generations of country’s biggest superstars have graced the Academy of Country Music Awards stage.

The ACM was founded in Los Angeles, California as the Country & Western Music Academy. Among the founders were Eddie Miller, Tommy Wiggins, and Mickey and Chris Christensen. They wanted to promote country music in the 13 western states with the support of artists based on the West Coast. Artists such as Johnny Bond, Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard, Roger Miller and others influenced them. The academy formed a board of directors to govern concerned matters in 1965.

Country Music Television (CMT) Awards

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Singer-songwriter Carrie Underwood accepts an award onstage during the 2016 CMT Music awards at the Bridgestone Arena on June 8, 2016, in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMT)

Country Music Television (CMT) became a force to be reckoned with in the 1990s after being formed in 1983. A down-home alternative to MTV, the channel asserted itself as the top venue for country music videos — giving rise, in turn, to a photogenic crop of young singers that included Randy Travis and Dwight Yoakam. The channel’s annual awards show began as the CMT Flameworthy Awards in 2002. It honors the best in country music videos.

Other awards shows rely on members of their respective organizations. But for the CMT Award winners, fans take the rule.

With the help of country music artists, the music industry, and the other caring supporters, the Academy gives back the good fortune. It funds a variety of amazing music-focused organizations. How’s that for country music with a heart?

American Country Awards (ACA)

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Thompson Square scores three American Country Awards –countrymusicrocks

Are you dizzy from all the choices and how closely the acronyms for each resemble each other? The American Country Awards sort of bring all these concepts together. It airs every December, it’s also in Las Vegas and the fans also vote on many of the nominations. It’s the baby of the country awards presentations, having started in 2010. Also, ACA is relatively drama-free.

 Don’t Miss a Show. Tune in for some topnotch entertainment at these awards shows. Nominees and other stars alike often take the stage.