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I.B. BAD ON A VIBRANT BUT BIFURCATED MARKETPLACE
What's growth got to do with it? (1/19a)
BRUCE GIVES OBAMA
A SEND-OFF SHOW
How fitting is that? (1/19a)
THE DEATH OF PRINT JOURNALISM: SONG AND DANCE EDITION
Janick and Childish deal with being associated with us. (1/18a)
PROPHETS OF RAGE TO STAGE PROTEST CONCERT ON INAUGURATION DAY
Political performance battle heats up. (1/18a)
GRAMMY BATTLES
Trophies, performers, rules and more.
Q1'S FIRST BIG SURPRISE
The return of a star.
STREAMING SPIKES
Explosive growth and the changes it's bringing to the biz.
CHANGES AT THE TOP
Is another major about to have a new head?
Music City
THE ACM GOES FISHIN'
1/9/17

It's official. Pete Fisher, who's served as the VP and General Manager of the Grand Ole Opry for the past 17 years, has a new gig—CEO of the Academy of Country Music. Following a relocation from Nashville to L.A., he'll hit the ground running on 1/30. Interestingly, Fisher's set to be only the second CEO in the ACM’s 53-year-history; Bob Romeo stepped down in May of 2016 with 13 years at the org under his belt.

“Pete has served the Academy of Country Music for 14 years as an active, engaged Board member and his skills as an innovative leader are proven,” said Ken Tucker, Chairman of the Academy’s Board of Directors. “Pete is a team builder, a champion of the importance of office culture and a person who believes strongly in discerning and following a strategic path alongside those around him. Through Pete’s successful leadership, the Opry became a place that recognized the importance of exposing legendary, contemporary and emerging artists equally.

“The Board thanks Tiffany Moon for her command through this interim search period as well as the staff for keeping the Academy on a forward trajectory,” Tucker continued. “We feel very lucky to have Pete’s leadership in the next phase of the Academy’s growth and presence on the world’s entertainment stage, heading into 2017.”

MAREN'S BUZZ REACHES THE BIZ
1/9/17


Columbia Nashville
golden girl Maren Morris will be honored with the Breakthrough Artist Award at renowned industry convention Music Biz in Nashville on 5/18.

Morris, who's also up for this year's Best New Artist Grammy, released her debut full-length, HERO, in June of last year, and she went on to become the label's first artist of the SoundScan era to top the Country chart with her first album. 

It's also worth noting that she's already nabbed the CMA trophy for New Artist of the Year. Lead single "My Church"—now platinum—went Top 10 at Country radio, and follow-up "80s Mercedes" is currently #11. 

For comparison, the only achievement we've made since the start of 2016 is the ability to spend more than 48 hours with the covers over our head.

“It’s been a fantastic year for Maren, and we’re happy to recognize her many accomplishments with a Music Biz 2017 Breakthrough Artist Award,” said Music Biz President James Donio. “From writing songs for Tim McGraw, Kelly ClarksonBrothers Osborne, and the TV show Nashville; to opening shows for Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge, Chris Stapleton, Sam Hunt, Loretta Lynn, and Little Big Town; to achieving massive success as a performer on the back of her new album, HERO; Maren has already accomplished more at the young age of 26 than most artists do in a lifetime. We can’t wait to see where she goes from here.”

“Thanks to Music Biz for this Award, and thanks to my fans for making this a truly amazing year for me and my music,” said Morris. “All I ever wanted to do was write songs, so it’s a true gift to see them resonating with so many people. I’ll see you all in Nashville!”

REVVING UP WITH "WOKE UP"
1/4/17


Arista Nashville
singer/songwriter Seth Ennis made his Grand Ole Opry debut at the end of 2016 with a performance of "Woke Up in Nashville" at the Ryman Auditorium that was introduced by none other than the 
Grammy-winning Opry members of Little Big Town.

Seen hoping they'll know where they wake up tomorrow (after a few celebratory toasts) are Sony Music Nashville Senior Director A&R Taylor Lindsey, CAA's Marc Dennis and Sabrina Butera, Ennis, Opry VP & GM Pete Fisher, Sandbox Entertainment President/CEO Jason Owen and SMN Chairman/CEO Randy Goodman.

By the way, since release, 
“Woke Up In Nashville,” which the 24-year-old artist co-wrote and co-produced, has earned 2.2m total streams, been downloaded 22k+ times and has seen an average of 10 single sales per radio airplay spins to date.

And... you can catch Ennis on tour with Florida Georgia Line from February to April. How 'bout that?

OH, ZARLING
1/4/17

Look for Big Machine Label Group's well-respected SVP/Partnership Marketing & Promotion Strategy John Zarling to join Randy Goodman's Sony Music Nashville in a high-ranking post. Zarling has been with BMLG since its inception in 2005. Stay tuned for updates.

A PEARL OF WISDOM
1/4/17

After 17 years at CMA, VP Corporate Communications Wendy Pearl is exiting to launch her own agency, Wendy Pearl Public Relations, LLC

“Wendy has been a key contributor to CMA’s growth over the past 17 years. During her tenure, Fan Fair became Music Fest downtown, the CMA Awards went to New York, and we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Association and later the Awards,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “Her passion will be missed and we wish her the best in her new endeavor. I look forward to working with her in her new capacity.”

Congrats to Wendy on her new venture; you can reach her here.

BIG MACHINE ON CAMPUS
1/4/17

Yep, that's Big Machine Label Group VP PR Jake Basden giving the commencement address at the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, his alma mater.  You can see his remarks in their entirety here (start at the 42-minute mark). 

Added Dean Ed Kelley, "A Gaylord degree is among the best degrees a student can receive at the University of Oklahoma. You can go into not only the media world but many other fields because of the communication skills you develop while at Gaylord. Jake Basden is absolutely a great example of that.” 

We commend Jake for doing something useful with his education, unlike us.

Photo credit: University of Oklahoma

HAVE YOU HURD?
1/3/17


Ryan Hurd, who recently released four co-penned tracks over the span of four months, has signed a deal with RCA Nashville

“We Do Us,” “Love In A Bar,” “City Girl” and “Hold You Back” have raked in an impressive 13m streams in just over three months and all four tracks have been featured in Spotify's New Music Friday and Hot Country playlists. Hurd's buzz began to strengthen thanks to an opening slot on Chase Rice's Everybody We Know Does Tour. This year, he'll be joining Maren Morris on The HERO Tour and Thomas Rhett on the 2017 Home Team Tour; click here for dates.

“I’m convinced Ryan Hurd will be one of our new artist breakouts in 2017,” shared Sony Music Nashville Chairman and CEO Randy Goodman. “He delivers on every level from his innovative songwriting to his dynamic live show. I’ve long been a fan of Ryan’s songwriting and everyone at Sony Music Nashville, particularly RCA, are happy and honored to have the opportunity to work alongside him.”

Seen begging Hurd for hair conditioning tips are (L-R) Goodman, Triple 8 Management's George Couri and Bruce Kalmick, and Sony Music Nashville COO Ken Robold.

SAM HUNT: "DRINKIN'" FOR NEW YEAR'S
1/2/17

Country superstar Sam Hunt dropped a new tune online via SoundCloud on New Year's Eve, and it's a provocatively personal tale. "Drinkin' Too Much" finds the MCA Nashville artist apologizing to the woman who inspired much of his smash album Montevallo—and even expressing regret for the title. There's no indication yet of the song being available for sale or for streaming outside SoundCloud; stay tuned for details on that front. In the meantime, check it out.