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TOP 20: HOUSE
ON A HILL
Harry is popular. (5/26a)
SONG REVENUE: HIGHFLIERS
A combined 30 of 50 (5/26a)
NEAR TRUTHS:
SAFE KEEPING
What's the big deal? I.B. Bad has the answers. (5/26a)
STRINGER TOUTS SONY MUSIC TO SHAREHOLDERS
Rob lays out the company strategy (5/26a)
EVP STRIPES FOR UMe'S MURTHY
A total pro gets her due. We bow down. (5/26a)
SUPERSTAR RELEASES
Who's next?
MUSIC BIZ SPECIAL
It's Comic-Con for numbers geeks.
THE BIG CHEESE
Theories of evolution from 30,000 feet.
THE NEXT GIANT DEAL
A&R in overdrive.
Music City
CMA FEST WELCOMES SPOTIFY HOUSE
5/26/22

Spotify House is officially returning to CMA Fest. Taking over downtown Nashville for the third year, the four-day country music showcase takes place at the Ole Red venue and features nearly 50 performers from 6/9-12. 

Presented by Spotify’s Nashville team and flagship Hot Country playlist, the weekend’s lineup includes acts like Ashley McBryde, Brett Eldredge, Cole Swindell, Darius Rucker, Mickey Guyton, Midland, Nelly and Tyler Hubbard, among others.

Additionally, the event will feature late-night jam sessions, surprise special performances and introduce the Fresh Finds Stage for the first time this year—including new acts from the Fresh Finds Country playlist.

Spotify House will be open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis and runs from 11am-2am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 11am-6pm on Sunday.

"So much has happened in Nashville since the last CMA Fest, and this includes the rise of some incredible talent and trends within country music," said Mary Catherine Kinney, Spotify Lead, Strategic Music Partnerships. "The genre is growing, and fans will be able to experience the full scope of the genre under our roof.” 

Check out the full schedule below.

BROOKE EDEN—AND THE RIAA—ARE HEADING TO D.C.
5/25/22

The RIAA has teamed up with Nashville-based singer/songwriter Brooke Eden to launch the "Music Matters" partnership. Throughout the year, the artist, who recently embraced her LGBTQ+ community, will meet with policymakers and lead events in schools, medical centers, and studios to highlight the ways in which music helps people heal themselves and find self-acceptance.

“It’s important to the RIAA to support artists using their voice and their music where it matters most,” said the RIAA's VP of artist and industry relations, Jackie Jones. “By creating this program, our hope is to provide a platform that allows artists to speak to policymakers directly about the importance of music and create tangible moments that show how music makes a difference in our lives.”

For her first order of business, Eden will meet with Representative David Cicilline, chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, on June 23rd. Shared Eden, "this effort is an opportunity to help others find confidence and their better selves.”

BLACK RIVER FLOWS INTO SONY
5/25/22

After getting negative COVID tests, it’s all smiles and no social distancing for, from left, Sony Music Publishing Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston, Black River’s Rebekah Gordon, Sony Publishing’s Josh Van Valkenburg, Black River President & CEO Gordon Kerr.

Sony Music Publishing Nashville and Black River Publishing have signed a worldwide publishing administration deal, covering songs by Kelsea Ballerini, Dan Wilson, MaRynn Taylor, Hannah Kerr, Josh Osborne and others.

"Black River Publishing and our amazingly talented roster of writers are thrilled to be joining forces with our friends at Sony Music Publishing," said Black River VP of Publishing Rebekah Gordon. "The passion for music and songwriters on both the creative and administrative teams is unmatched. I'm looking forward to celebrating many successes together."

Since its inception 12 years ago, Black River Publishing and its roster have achieved numerous awards and accolades, including 30 #1 songs and multiple Grammy Awards. Black River Publishing is part of the Black River Entertainment family under the Pegula Sports & Entertainment company portfolio.

Sony Music Publishing Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston said, “Independent music publishers play a vital role in our Music Row community, and Black River has done an amazing job of identifying and developing some of the biggest hit songwriters in Nashville.”

EMPIRE PUB & WCM'S BIG DAY
5/24/22

EMPIRE Publishing and Warner Chappell Music Nashville have partnered to ink Brandon Day to a global deal.

Based in Nashville, producer/songwriter Day most recently co-wrote Brett Kissel’s “Make a Life, not a Living,” which earned a Juno nom for Single of the Year. He also boasts production credits on tracks from Brantley Gilbert, Plain White T's, Austin Burke and Steven Lee Olsen, as well as writing credits with the likes of Jimmie Allen, Granger Smith, Eli Young Band and Brantley Gilbert.

“There’s such a wide variety of opportunities when working with companies as diverse and experienced as EMPIRE and Warner Chappell,” said Day. “I’m grateful for them putting their talents to work for me.”

“When Ben Vaughn called about exploring this deal between Warner Chappell and EMPIRE, it felt like a no-brainer,” shared EMPIRE Publishing VP of A&R, Eric Hurt. "Brandon Day is a rising star - a songwriter we really wanted at EMPIRE,” added EMPIRE SVP A&R, Al McLean.

“Brandon is extremely gifted in all aspects of music, from producing and playing guitar, to writing lyrics and crafting melodies, he’s a true master of his craft,” said WCM Senior Director A&R, Christina Wiltshire

Seen just before participating in a company-wide jam session are (l-r) WCM VP A&R, BJ Hill; Wiltshire; Keller, Turner, Andrews & Ghanem, PLLC. Attorney Jason Turner; WCM President/CEO, Vaughn; Day; McLean; EMPIRE SVP, Legal & Business, Vinny Kumar; Hurt; and EMPIRE Counsel, Nashville, Sarah Beth Gerlecz.

THE VALORY MUSIC CO. INKS MACKENZIE CARPENTER
5/18/22

The Valory Music Co. has inked singer/songwriter Mackenzie Carpenter. The Georgia native joins the BMLG imprint and a roster that includes Tim McGraw, Thomas Rhett, Lady A, Carly PearceSheryl CrowBrantley Gilbert and Brett Young.

In tandem with the signing, SiriusXM has also named the 22-year-old its next Highway Find Artist. Senior Director of Programming, JR Schumann, aired her debut single, “Can’t Nobody,” on The Storme Warren Show (Channel 56) ahead of its official release on 5/20.

Prior to opening for acts like Parker McCollum, Craig Campbell, Ryan Hurd and now-labelmate Conner Smith, Carpenter attended Belmont University and made a name for herself in the Nashville songwriting community by co-penning Lily Rose’s “Villain.”

“Not only is Mackenzie both a completely original writer, capturing the experience of being a young woman from an authentic place, her voice is immediately recognizable,” said BMLG Chairman/CEO Scott Borchetta. “We are so proud to welcome her into the BMLG family.”

“Scott, Allison [Jones], George [Briner] and the team at BMLG really got to know me, so they understand my vision,” added Carpenter. "Partnering with them is more than a dream come true.”

Pictured above are (l-r) Borchetta, Carpenter and Briner. Later, the team hopped into Borchetta’s Ferrari and took a victory ride to the nearest chicken joint.

YOU CAN SEE ALL THE CONSTRUCTION FROM HERE
5/18/22

Assembled on the Sony Music Nashville rooftop to celebrate the 7.5m global streams amassed by artist Nate Smith's "Whiskey on You," the artist and SMN staffers all noted that this setting was a lot like their regular Zoom backgrounds, but with the smell of hot chicken coming from all directions. Smith's debut single is slated to impact Country radio on 6/27. Seen thinking there isn't enough whiskey in the world to make us palatable are (l-r) Creative Services VP Tracy Fleaner, A&R VP Margaret Tomlin; A&R rep Gaby Zelhof, Digital Strategy Director Jess Keifer, Marketing SVP Jen Way, COO/EVP Ken Robold, Smith, Marketing Director Nicole Hunt, Sales & Streaming SVP Caryl Atwood, Sales & Streaming VP Alaina Vehec, Marketing Coordinator Emily Butler, Digital Strategy Coordinator Chloe Doyle, Sales & Streaming Associate Director Rachel Clogston and A&R SVP Taylor Lindsey.

 

AIN'T NO FESTIVAL LIKE AN iHEART COUNTRY FESTIVAL
5/11/22

This star-studded photo op, as you may have gathered from the headline, was made possible by the iHeart Country Festival, where Tom Poleman commissioned a heartfelt ballad about drinking rye and ginger and John Sykes just daydreamed about his beloved truck. Seen wishing they could drink us off their minds are (l-r) Poleman, iHeart's Rod Phillips, COJO Music/Warner Music Nashville's Cody Johnson, Columbia Nashville's Maren Morris, Valory/BMLG's Thomas Rhett, iHeart's Bobby Bones, Capitol Nashville's Carrie Underwood, Triple Tigers' Scotty McCreery, BBR/Broken Bow's Lainey Wilson, Jimmie Allen and Dustin Lynch, Sykes and iHeart's Jaclyn Tigue.

THE CAPITAL OF COUNTRY MUSIC
5/10/22

At Music Biz in Nashville, Sony Music Publishing boss Jon Platt and Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston celebrated their freshly inked deal with hit songwriter Ashley Gorley (in partnership with financial player Domain Capital Group) the Music City way: by posing for a down-home photo op with a whole passel of attorneys! Gorley, whom Gaston praised as “one of the most talented, hard-working and acclaimed songwriters in the world,” has placed some 400 compositions and written 59 #1s. His most recent hits include chart rockets for Morgan Wallen, Chris Stapleton and Thomas Rhett; he’s also penned biggies for Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Dan + Shay, Jon Bon Jovi and Weezer, to name but a few. Shortly after this photo was snapped, Domain Capital Group’s Pete Chiappetta assembled a consortium to buy the planet Neptune. Seen wishing they could celebrate this milestone with anyone but us are (front, l-r) Gaston, Platt, Gorley and Chiappetta; and (back, l-r) Domain’s Rod Riley, Loeb & Loeb’s Megan Pekar and John Rolfe, SMP Nashville’s Cam Caldwell, Domain’s Isabela Salas and Loeb & Loeb’s Derek Crownover.