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"People will look at these successes and say we’ve had a great fourth quarter, and I'll reply, ‘Yeah, but it took us five years to get here!’ But it’s worked. There's been incredible growth."
——RLG Chairman Joe Galante
RLG CHIEF JOE GALANTE'S FIVE-YEAR PLAN PAYS OFF IN SPADES
Kenny Chesney is Just the Tip of Proverbial Iceberg

RCA Label Group Chairman Joe Galante may be from New York, but he's an honorary native of Music City, falling in love with the town during a two-year “tour of duty” in 1974. Over the last five years, RLG has built one of the most impressive rosters in the business. While the industry's health has been dismal, RLG—where Galante gets as involved with the creative side as he does the business—is in the midst of a great fourth quarter, with Kenny Chesney debuting at #1 this week (outselling 50 Cent by nearly 120k), following spectacular showings by Brad Paisley, Brooks & Dunn, Sara Evans and Martina McBride, who spent the previous two weeks at #3.

 

“Over time, we've built a really solid stable of young artists who are doing everything right, from a musical and touring standpoint,” Galante says of the RLG’s ongoing success. “And we have great partners in our artists and managers. Together, we’ve put together game plans that take these artists to the next level with each new release. We push each other, which makes it work even better because we all have the same goals.”

Galante rates Chesney’s chart-topping The Road and the Radio as “the best album he’s ever made. The same with Brad and Sara. Martina took a huge commercial chance with this new one—and it’s paid off for her in spades. People will look at these successes and say we’ve had a great fourth quarter, and I'll reply, ‘Yeah, but it took us five years to get here!’ But it’s worked. There's been incredible growth—and after working all those years, we're coming off a double-platinum record for Brad and a platinum for Sara. Our goal is to do better than that on their new records.

Galante points out that Alan Jackson and Brooks & Dunn are both on their second greatest-hits volumes, while best-of sets from Paisley and Evans are in the works.  “We've built a catalog,” he points out. “We sow product, and the artists reap the benefits from the sales. And they're able to become headliners because now they have this body of work that allows them to do a two-hour show and still not cover all their hits.

 

“The reality in country is we don't have the same tools other formats have,” he explains We basically have radio, so a lot of this comes back to what these people can deliver live. In our world, the touring business goes hand in hand with record sales. And somebody like Kenny—he lives and breathes his fan base and his audience. If you go to one of his shows, the audience is 75% female and all under 30, and they know the words to every song. On Good Morning America last week, the audience was singing the songs, and the album had only been out for four hours! They’re rabid about him, but he works at it. He gives you everything he’s got. There are a lot of similarities between him and Springsteen. And those shows end up generating great word of mouth.”

 

Galante is proud of the synergy RLG has created. “We've built trust together,” he says, “between the artists and the label, and with the fans.”

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