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NEAR TRUTHS: THE KYNCL-LOUSADA DANCE HAS BEGUN
This oughta be interesting... (9/30a)
GRAMMY CHEW:
RAP EDITION
Michael and Kyle find a feast of hip-hop to chew on. (9/30a)
CHART FINAL: VERANO INVADES FALL
Like a broken record... which it is, figuratively speaking. (9/30a)
HITS LIST: COUNTDOWN
TO ECSTASY
We enter the month that was once known as Rocktober. (9/30a)
HIS OWN ARCHITECT:
THE STEVE LACY BUZZ
It was a surprisingly easy "Habit" to break. (9/30a)
GRAMMY SEASON
New categories! New rules! New WTF!
THE BIG DEAL
It's the one you didn't see coming.
RAID AT MAR-A-LAGO
"Who took my passports?"
HITS' 36TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
Allow us to apologize in advance.
Music City
STATE OF THE STATE: WARNER MUSIC NASHVILLE
7/9/21

The House of Espo has had a lot to celebrate over the last year-plus. But the breakout story at the label is indisputably ACM New Female Artist of the Year Gabby Barrett, who has proved a streaming and radio juggernaut. Her “I Hope” has racked up about 580m streams, becoming the #1 country streaming song in 2020 and remaining Top 10 in 2021. That platinum Country-radio #1 also topped the Hot AC chart thanks to a remix co-starring Charlie Puth. Barrett’s platinum follow-up “The Good Ones,” a three-week radio #1, is #12 in 2021 country streams (135m) and scored CMT’s Female Video of the Year trophy. Barrett, the first female country artist to tally more than 10m weekly streams, has earned more than 1.2b career streams. Her album Goldmine bowed in the Top 5 a year ago.

WMN stalwarts Dan + Shay also had a boffo year. The pair, who in 2021 repeated with the Best Country Duo/Group Performance Grammy and the ACM award for Duo (among other laurels), followed up Bieber-enhanced monster #1 “10,000 Hours” with “I Should Probably Go to Bed,” which hit #1 at Country radio at the top of 2021 and has earned about 200m streams since release.

Blake Shelton’s 2020 monsters—the highly decorated “God’s Country” and Gwen duets “Nobody but You” and “Happy Anywhere”—stayed strong this year, and his full-length Body Language bowed in the top 20. Kenny Chesney dropped the deluxe version of his 2020 #1 set, Here and Now, which was Top 15 first week.

A slew of signings over the last year or so includes Zac Brown Band, Brian Kelley, Ian Munsick, Patrick Murphy, Robyn Ottolini, Drew Parker, Redferrin, Temecula Road and Roan Ash.

Espo made an array of personnel moves as well, including upping Danny Bess to CFO, hiring Kayla Burnett in late 2020 as Coordinator, Radio & Streaming (WEA), promoting PR stalwarts Mary Catherine Rebrovick and Victoria Chaitoff and seriously beefing up his Interactive Marketing team with onboarded Coordinators Marita Kelnhofer and Katherine Firsching and freshly upped Sr. Managers Melissa McGreevy and Brianna Small.

“Warner Music Nashville and Zac Brown Band share a fundamental value: forging connections through amazing and heartfelt music,” reads a quote from Espo that accompanied the ZBB signing announcement—and nicely illustrates the WMN chief’s passion. “Their songs have ceaselessly fed our hearts and souls, and I am so proud to welcome them to our label home as we journey together into this new chapter.”

Buy that man a single malt.