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REVENUE CHART:
FAST FORWARD
The Sony side of the street (8/5a)
NEW & DEVELOPING ARTISTS: Q3 EDITION
The lifeblood of the biz is pumping. (8/5a)
OLIVIA INKS WITH SONY PUB
Big score (8/5a)
THE HAPPIEST TOP 20
Billie's back...on her own terms. (8/5a)
NEAR TRUTHS:
CAVEAT EMPTOR
Vaxx mandate gains steam. (8/5a)
NEW & DEVELOPING ARTISTS
From tender shoots to mighty oaks.
MARKETSHARE MANIA
Let's do the numbers.
DELTA VARIANT
It is not the name of a Henry Miller novel.
IS IT TIME FOR ANOTHER ROCK STORY?
Could be. Dunno.
Music City
NASHVILLE OUTSIDE IN:
CINDY MABE
7/14/16

President, UMG Nashville

How has the dynamic of breaking artists changed?

There are more ways for music and artists to be discovered now. Artists truly break from their social audiences, streaming services, television, films, touring, branding, lifestyle reach, and terrestrial and satellite radio. In the past, radio has been the only constant ingredient, with very few successful careers outside of that model. Today, there’s not just one way of finding your fans and connecting with an audience. Because of that, labels have had to get deeper benches with smarter executives and broader knowledge bases and reach. We have had to learn to constantly adapt and figure out best practices so that we can help build the blueprint for each artist’s unique path to success.

What’s the biggest hurdle or stumbling block facing you?

More than at any other time since I’ve been in this industry, artists are expected to know who they are and what they want to say, be socially adept, trained in social media, proficient at performing, beautiful and established with their own live fan base or social-media fan base. In a nutshell, they need to be perfect and ready to go from the minute they get signed. The art of discovering who you are and developing artists is something that’s fading. I think it’s the biggest problem that we have as an industry.

Are there any things that you find the label applying across the board?

We market music. Music is learned and felt and attached to memories in the brain and emotions in the heart. One song in the right moment can completely change the analytics overnight, so we use them to gather information for a moment in time—but that’s all. Gut and heart still outweigh the analytics and always should.

We have acts at all ends of the spectrum, from newly signed artists who are just figuring out what they want their record to sound like to the biggest icons in the format. Their needs and audiences are vastly different. I love that. It keeps you, as a marketer, in the moment with that artist all the time. They are people. They don’t all have the same gifts or experiences, so framing their story and how they want to connect and where they shine the most is what we do.

You’ve got some of the biggest acts in the business in Luke, Eric and Dierks, and also some of the business’ marquee players in Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, even Gary Allen. With both of these types of acts, what do you focus on and how do you grow them?

There are no hard, fast rules. We just launched Dierks Bentley’s eighth studio album, and it was his best debut ever in 13 years. Music is still having impact, but it has to matter. No artist can just live and die through one source. You really have to keep an eye on everything the artist is and how their fans want to engage and find the hole to keep exposing and reinventing the artist from a song to a brand. Instead of looking at how high you can go vertically with radio airplay or album sales, look at how far you can go with that artist horizontally.

There’s always somewhere else to go and another approach. Whether that is content series, merchandise, a guitar line, brand partnerships, D2C campaigns, national media campaigns. There isn’t one way to succeed, and the paths are endless if you keep an open mind and look for the resources and reach to find the fans. I don’t take big ideas off the table because I cannot afford them. I take big ideas and figure out how they can be done and who else might have the vision and and/or need for what I’m trying to accomplish. This business is reinventing itself daily. You have to have that mindset to stay relevant and to move artists’ careers along. Otherwise, this is a very short-term plan before you have to move on to the next new artist. That’s against everything I believe in.