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PUB CRAWLING: MUSIC CITY IN THE VALLEY

As we document extensively in our Nashville print issue (hitting your desks soon), the Country format, perhaps more than any other, owes its profound appeal to songwriting. And however much the music has evolved, Music City’s tunesmiths have kept the form’s commitment to emotionally direct storytelling alive. Which is why a song about kids fixing up an old RV to make it to Talladega, or about a little Southern girl realizing she’ll never be a beauty queen, can get a Jew from the Valley all choked up. Stay tuned for our roundups of publishers and Music City songwriters, who weigh in on the changing times.


Speaking of Nashville, Warner/Chappell has signed a worldwide pub pact with Lady Antebellum. The deal brings songwriters Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott, as well as the band’s catalog, to W/C. Said the pubco’s Nashville EVP, Ben Vaughn, “Their music touches fans all over the world, and besides their impressive work as Lady Antebellum, they have received numerous songwriting awards including being recognized as NMPA’s Songwriter Icon Award winner this year. The Warner/Chappell family takes great pride welcoming back these amazing songwriters and people.”


Apple Music has launched, and it’s noteworthy that among the musical premieres accompanying the rollout was the digital debut of Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. That seismic release will now rumble through the consciousness of a whole new generation, who’ll simultaneously discover N.W.A. through the forthcoming Straight Outta Compton flick and experience the Good Doctor’s sensibility via Beats 1. I’m calling it the Summer of Dre. Hearing "Let Me Ride" in Zane Lowe's L.A.-based maiden set while rolling through town was frickin' sublime.

 


UMPG has upped Jessica Rivera to EVP/Head of East Coast Operations, reporting to topper Jody Gerson; her signings have included Alex Da Kid, DJ Khalil and Jeremih. In making the announcement, Gerson said: "I’m very pleased to promote Jessica to this new role which will bring even more to the team and our songwriters. Evan has supported and mentored Jessica and she’s developed into a dynamic creative executive. Having known her many years, she has consistently impressed me by her instincts and leadership skills, and I’m thrilled to finally be on the same team with her at this company.” More on this story here

 


Sony/ATV took Publisher of the Year honors at the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards. East Coast Co-President Danny Strick and team saw their writers (led by Drake) win awards for 24 songs. Danny ended the evening by twerking out the door and into his Uber. Click the pics for left-to-rights.

In other Rhythm & Soul Awards news, ole writer Timbaland collected Songwriter of the Year honors.


Kobalt has signed a global admin deal with Blue Mountain Music that includes the complete catalogue of Bob Marley. The latter pubco, founded by Chris Blackwell in 1962, also boasts material by U2, Free and Toots and the Maytals, among other acts. CEO Willard Ahdritz called it a “monumental deal” for Kobalt, which will collect its fees in bales of ganja.

Speaking of which, are you lining up your syncs for the forthcoming boom in legal leaf? Willie Nelson sure as hell is. Just sayin'.


 How big is “Lean On” by SONGS project Major Lazer? The Diplo-driven indie smash is Top 10 at iTunes, Top 15 at Pop radio and Top 5 at Shazam. Matt Pincus and Ron Perry are beaming. Meanwhile, Matt is also celebrating his election to the Songwriters Hall of Fame Board of Directors.


Atlas Music Publishing has inked NYC hipsters Secret Weapons. The pubbery’s Richard Stumpf, Jennifer Blakeman and Molly Seel toasted each other with cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

 

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