|Owned by||Viacom Media Networks (Viacom)|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Headquarters||New York City, New York|
|Sister channel(s)||MTV, Nickelodeon, MTV2, TeenNick, Comedy Central, Nick Jr., TV Land, Nicktoons, Spike, Nick at Nite, MTV Tres, MTV Hits, CMT, VH1, MTV Jams|
|C-Band||AMC 18-Channel 236 (H2H 4DTV)|
|Available on many U.S. cable providers||Check local listings for channels|
|Telefónica del Sur (Chile)||Channel 187|
|Verizon FiOS||Channel 219|
|AT&T U-verse||Channel 522|
|Part of a series on|
in the United States
|Programs on MTV|
|Censorship on MTV|
|Viacom Media Networks|
VH1 Soul is an American digital cable network that is owned by Viacom Music and Entertainment Group, a unit of the Viacom Media Networks division of Viacom. The channel showcases R&B, funk, soul, neo soul, hip hop, jazz and Motown music from various decades.
The channel, which was originally a commercial-free service, debuted in 2000 as part of the "MTV Suite" of digital cable and satellite channels, which was sold to cable and satellite providers as a bundle. In its early years, VH1 Soul's main focus was on R&B and soul videos of the late 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, along with live performance clips from even earlier years. Janet Jackson, Prince, TLC, Usher, Tony Toni Tone, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder were some of the channel's main staples. By 2003, the channel had stopped showing most of the pre-1990s videos, since these were often played on VH1 Classic's Classic Soul program. The channel then gradually began to focus more on underground, alternative, and old school hip-hop videos, while continuing to feature new R&B musicians.
On February 1, 2006, VH1 Soul revamped its format, discontinuing with the model of running videos randomly and instead airing videos on different genre-based music shows. In November 2007, the network aired its first event telecast, the Vibe Awards, which moved from the now-defunct UPN and did not take place in 2006 due to The CW decision not to air the program.
In the spring of 2007, VH1 Soul, along with its sister networks MTV Jams and MTV Hits, wase briefly dropped from Time Warner Cable's Southern California systems that were formerly operated by Adelphia and Comcast. However, all three channels returned to TWC within a couple of months, under a new, specialized service tier. To date, however, the three networks remain conspicuously absent from many of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks' systems, most notably in New York City, as well as both major satellite television providers (DirecTV and Dish Network).
Though the channel still specialises mainly in playing music videos, VH1's The Salt-n-Pepa Show has aired recently on the network. In February 2009, VH1 Soul aired VH1's Black to the Future as part of its Black History Month celebration.
In 2008, VH1 Soul began dedicating more of its airtime to commercials and programs, and began playing fewer music videos, alienating a segment of its audience that watched the channel specifically for its focus on music rather than program content. Programs such as the VH1 Hip Hop Honors Show, VH1 Rock Docs, and other programs from VH1's schedule began to regularly supplant airtime which had previously been dedicated to music videos, in a pattern similar to the First Format Evolution which occurred on the MTV channel in the late 1980s. As of late 2009, the non-music programming has been dropped from the channel, along with the commercial advertisements. The channel presently features a non-stop blend of all music videos new and old across all theme blocks.
Presently, a selection of R&B hits from the past ten years, as well as several 1980s and early 1990s hip-hop videos, can be seen on VH1 Soul. Several of the more R&B-influenced modern-day rappers and their newest videos can also be regularly seen in heavy rotation on VH1 Soul; for example: The Roots, De La Soul, Kanye West, Common, and Talib Kweli. However, VH1 Soul still occasionally airs older 1980s or early 1990s R&B/soul hits, such as Prince's "Kiss", Mariah Carey's "Vision Of Love", Stevie Wonder's "Superstition", or Chaka Khan's "I Feel For You". The network restored commercials on January 1, 2011.
List of programs broadcast by VH1 Soul
- VH1 Soul Player – A random rotation of videos. The format is similar to the how the channel was before February 1, 2006.
- The Soul Story – A block of videos by a single artist or group that are mostly shown in chronological order.
- Soul Squared – A block of old and current videos by various artists which airs two videos from the same artist back-to-back, in a similar fashion to VH1 Classic's Classic/Current Show.
- Sub Soul – This show features videos by Underground Soul artists.
- Soul School – This show features old school hip-hop and R&B music videos.
- Island Soul – This show features music videos by dance hall and reggae artists.
- Speak Your Soul – A viewer-requested video block. Viewers can make requests on the channel's official website.
- Live Soul – This show features live performance clips by soul artists.
- Top 10 Best in Soul – This show features videos by the most popular artists in R&B and hip-hop music. The format is similar to MTV's Big 10.
- Soulprodisiac – A Quiet Storm formatted show. The show primarily plays love songs and slow jams, and is similar to BET After Dark or Midnight Love.
- One Planet, One Soul (Added February 2007) – This show features international artists. It now no longer airs, however still is listed in TV listings.