MuchMusic was one of the first cable specialty channels to be licensed in 1983, and its owners CHUM Limited launched it in the following year as Canada’s first 24-hour music specialty channel, offering music videos from Canadian and international sources, plus concerts and studio performances as well as news and features about the music business and the people who make it all happen. The programming originated from the storefront studios located at the CHUM/CITY-TV headquarters on Queen Street in downtown Toronto.
A CRTC hearing on an application by CTVglobemedia to acquire the assets of CHUM Limited was held on April 30th 2007. Among the CHUM assets acquired by CTVglobemedia in the final approved deal were seven television stations, some 33 radio stations, and 21 specialty channels, including MuchMusic.
CHUM’s French companion channel, Musique Plus, also began in 1986 as part of MuchMusic, but as a four-hour daily package offered to subscribers to Videotron in Quebec. Musique Plus was licensed as a separate channel in 1988.
On May 26th 2010. CTV announced that they had asked the CRTC for permission to broaden the focus of its specialty channel MuchMusic so that it could air more than just music videos.
The network applied for amendments to the broadcasting licence of the English-language music channel, including a change to the condition relating to its nature of service. The channel wanted to air music-related and lifestyle programming for young adults, pledging that "the inclusion of lifestyle programming in its nature of service will better position MuchMusic to adapt to the business realities of audience fragmentation and changing technologies".
The application also said "that music videos no longer distinguish the service as they are readily available through other sources", and that "the supply of music videos that the service can access has been greatly reduced in recent years".
The CRTC requested that interventions or comments be filed by June 25th.
In June 2021, Bell Media announced it would revive MuchMusic as of July 7. It would not be on TV but would instead be a channel on TikTok, and would focus on drawing in Gen Z and younger Millennials.