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Music City

Sony Music Nashville has promoted Paige Altone and Liz Cost to VP of Marketing. Altone and Cost will report directly to SVP of Marketing Jen Way, who made the announcement.

In their new roles of Marketing VPs, Altone and Cost—who joined SMN as Managers of Marketing in 2016 and 2017, respectively—will oversee the strategy, development and execution of targeted marketing campaigns and consumption growth for the SMN roster of artists. Most recently, they held Senior Director of Marketing positions.

“Liz and Paige are two of the smartest marketing executives I’ve ever had the privilege of working alongside,” shared Way. “Their extraordinary leadership and creativity is vital to the ongoing success of Sony Music Nashville and our artists, and I’m so excited to watch them continue to thrive in their roles with these well-earned VP Stripes.” 

SMN Chairman/CEO Randy Goodman added, “The growth and leadership development of Liz and Paige, particularly in these unprecedented times, has been extraordinary and gratifying for me to see. Our future is in good hands.”

Prior to joining SMN, Altone started her music business career in the promotions department of Atlanta’s WKHX before joining Southern Ground Artists in 2011 and AEG Presents in 2014.

Cost’s first gig in the music biz was a backstage Hospitality Coordinator at the Ryman Auditorium before joining Bigger Picture as the Director of Marketing. She also spent time as a Project Manager at DigSin/Digmark and was the Director of Strategic Branding and Event Management at SESAC.

Pictured above are Altone (L) and Cost (R).


The music publishing/artist development company Back Blocks Music is only a few weeks old but it’s already seeing some action. The fledgling concern, founded by Nashville-based former BMG and Republic exec Rakiyah Marshall, has been cultivating artists who’ve moved the needle on TikTok, SoundCloud, Instagram and elsewhere.

Now word from the Row is that at least two majors are circling BBM-signed singer/songwriter Lily Rose, whose single drops on 12/15. Prior to its release, Rose’s “Villain” has earned a strong response on TikTok, with 1m views in its first 24 hours and 5m in a week; DSP and sales response quickly ensued. Meanwhile, streaming, radio and iTunes are underway for another BBM signing, Ashley Cooke.

What’s next on the Blocks? Marshall was too busy unsubscribing from our TikTok page to reply.

CHARLEY PRIDE, 1934-2020

Charley Pride, the first Black country music superstar, has died. He was 86.

Pride, who recently received the CMA’s Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, collected countless laurels over the course of his boundary-breaking career, including CMA’s Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year (twice), a Lifetime Achievement Grammy and induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He was the first Black artist to co-host the CMAs.

His story feels iconic from the outset. The son of a Mississippi sharecropper, he picked cotton to earn the money for his first guitar. His father’s aversion to the culture surrounding the blues steered him to the music of Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb and other country legends. Even so, he at first seemed destined for a career in baseball, and played with the Negro League for a few years prior to a stint in the military. An arm injury put an end to his dreams of glory on the diamond, but his first Nashville demos caught the attention of Chet Atkins, who inked him to RCA. He released a string of singles during the mid-'60s, during which time few if any listeners had an inkling he was Black. Then came his debut album, Country Charley Pride, which went gold.

Pride withstood untold racial antagonism stoically and still managed to conquer his chosen genre. He earned no fewer than 29 Country #1s, including "Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’” and “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me).” He released dozens of albums during a career that saw him become the top-selling RCA artist since Elvis, culminating in 2017's Music in My Heart.

In addition to his achievements behind the microphone, Pride notched numerous successes in business, including his management and booking company, Chardon, and his participation in Pi-Gem Publishing. He became a Grand Ole Opry cast member in 1993.

“To say Country Music has lost a trailblazer is an obvious understatement, but in fact one of the biggest losses is Charley’s definitive Country voice,” reads a statement from CMA chief Sarah Trahern. “I remember working with Charley in 2009 on ‘Country Music: In Performance at the White House’ when Barack and Michelle Obama invited several Country artists to perform. He was a trailblazer in so many ways. It was a special night and Charley was telling amazing stories. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife, Rozene, and the rest of his family and friends at this sad time.” 

“Music is about breaking barriers. As one of the first Black superstars in country music, Charley Pride did just that,” proclaimed Recording Academy chief Harvey Mason Jr. "A three-time Grammy winner and 13-time nominee, the Recording Academy feels this loss deeply. During his nearly five-decade long career, Pride inspired artists and paved the way for so many in the industry, which is why the Academy honored him with our Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. He'll be sorely missed, but we are grateful for the remarkable legacy he leaves behind."


 Photo Credit: Joseph Llanes 


EMI Nashville’s Eric Church shares his gratitude to those who have stood by his side with his latest release, “Doing Life With Me.”

Written by the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year and current Grammy nominee, along with Casey Beathard and Jeffrey Steele, “Doing Life With Me” follows Church’s critically acclaimed 2018 album, Desperate Man, and is one of 28 songs recorded over the last 28 days as part of a marathon writing session in rural North Carolina.

Previous releases include Church’s current single “Hell Of A View,” the Grammy-nominated “Stick That In Your Country Song,” which is up for Best Country Solo Performance, as well as “Bad Mother Trucker,” “Crazyland” and “Through My Ray-Bans.”

Additionally, the four-time CMA and seven-time ACM winner has shared previews of unreleased music with performances on ACM Presents: Our Country and Stagecouch

Stream “Doing Life With Me” here and watch the lyric vid below.


Dan + Shay, who recently helped open new homes for deserving families prior to the holidays in Nashville, will perform their original holiday song, “Take Me Home For Christmas,” on Tuesday’s finale of NBC’s The Voice.

Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney recently spent a weekend in Nashville alongside members of Middle Tennessee’s shelter-to-housing program, Safe Haven Family Shelter, creating new homes for three local families. Ashley HomeStore provided interior design services and new furniture.

The duo wrote: “This was the highlight of our year. With the help of our friends at Safe Haven Family Shelter and Ashley HomeStore, we were able to provide homes and furniture to three families who have never had homes before (yes, how about that for perspective). Seeing the look on their faces when they walked in the door was something we’ll never forget, and reminded us of all the blessings we can take for granted, especially this holiday season as the weather turns cold. We also got to start the day by singing songs at the shelter, and that reminded us how truly powerful music can be. These families have been through SO much, but seeing the children sing and dance with us was EVERYTHING.”




Sony Music Nashville has upped Jennifer Way to SVP, Marketing. Way will report directly to SMN Chairman & CEO Randy Goodman, who made the announcement.

In her new position, Way will oversee all marketing efforts, including artist team leads, brand partnerships, digital marketing, international marketing and media and creative services for SMN and the roster of its three imprints, Arista, Columbia and RCA Nashville.

“Since joining SMN, Jen has exhibited an understanding of and the ability to adapt to the changing nature of the market and its impact on what marketing needs to look like in the future,” shared Goodman. “I know Jen and the amazing team she will be leading will ensure our marketplace leadership in that regard.”

“I’m so thankful to Randy for his belief in me and entrusting me to lead this remarkable team,” added Way. “I love the SMN Family - this team and our roster of artists - and I couldn’t be more honored or excited for this opportunity, as we navigate this ever-changing marketplace and continue to write this exciting chapter for Sony Music Nashville.”

Way, who first joined the label in 2016, has led marketing campaigns for Kane Brown, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley and Tenille Townes, among others. She’s also been involved in SMN’s global artist development efforts and the breaking down of racial and genre barriers for country acts.

The Berklee College of Music alum previously worked at UMG Nashville for over a decade, where she helped launch the careers of country stars like Chris Stapleton and Kacey Musgraves.


The holidays are shaping up to be very merry for Warner Music Nashville’s Dan + Shay as “Take Me Home For Christmas” climbed to the top of iTunes’ all-genre Top Holiday Songs Chart this week.

Amassing 10m global streams RTD, the single arrived last month alongside “Christmas isn’t Christmas” and marks the two-time Grammy winners’ holiday music debut. They first performed the track during NBC’s Christmas In Rockefeller Center.

The duo also spoke with Zane Lowe for Apple Music’s At Home with Dan + Shay about the songs inspiration and more. Listen to it here.

Dan + Shay are currently nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance—a title they’ve held for two consecutive years—at the 2021 Grammy Awards for their smash “10,000 Hours” with Justin Bieber.  The track has notched over 1.4b streams to date with multiple platinum and gold certifications.

Their current Top 5 and climbing single “I Should Probably Go To Bed,” which took home Duo Video of the Year at the CMT Awards, has earned 130m+ global streams and garnered their highest first-week equivalents for a duo-only release.

Put yourself in the holiday spirit and watch the music video for “Take Me Home For Christmas” below.


The Academy of Country Music’s reigning New Male Artist Riley Green and New Female Artist Tenille Townes announced the Industry Award and Studio Recording Award winners via the ACM’s Facebook page.

The 2020 Industry Awards, 2020 and 2021 Studio Recording Awards along with Special Award recipients will be honored during the 14th ACM Honors on 8/25 at the Ryman Auditorium. The evening is dedicated to recognizing the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 55th & 56th ACM Awards. There will not be 2021 Industry Award recipients as eligibility requirements were unable to be met due to the live entertainment shutdown caused by the pandemic.

"Never has there been a more important time to recognize these individuals and highlight our industry’s on-going dedication and innovation throughout this difficult year,” said ACM CEO Damon Whiteside.

Here are the winners for the 55th Academy of Country Music Awards:

Casino Of The Year – Theater: The Joint: Tulsa – Tulsa, Okla.
Casino Of The Year – Arena: Mgm Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas
Fair/Rodeo Of The Year: Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo – Houston
Festival Of The Year: Tortuga Music Festival – Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Club Of The Year:
Joe’s Live – Rosemont, Ill.
Theater Of The Year:
The Beacon Theatre – New York
Outdoor Venue Of The Year:
Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, Colo.
Arena Of The Year:
Madison Square Garden – New York
Don Romeo Talent Buyer Of The Year:
Gil Cunningham – Neste Live!
Promoter Of The Year:
Brian O’Connell – Live Nation

Bass Player Of The Year - Jimmie Lee Sloas
Drummer Of The Year -
Miles McPherson
Guitar Player Of The Year -
Rob McNelley
Piano/Keyboards Player Of The Year -
Gordon Mote
Specialty Instrument(S) Player Of The Year - Jenee Fleenor
Steel Guitar Player Of The Year - Paul Franklin
Audio Engineer Of The Year -
Justin Niebank
Producer Of The Year –
Busbee (awarded posthumously)