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SIX QUESTIONS FOR CINDY MABE

From your perspective, what are the biggest changes in the Nashville landscape over the past few years?

The number of our partners that have opened up shop here within the last few years has been pretty amazing. Amazon, Spotify, Pandora and Apple, among others, are adding staffs and work spaces here to make sure they are part of what’s happening in Nashville.

What are you doing to adjust your game?
We’re always learning, brainstorming, asking a lot of questions, talking to smarter people, studying, listening, trying new things and continuing to try to figure out what works and how we can be everywhere fans of music are. One thing is for sure—if you stand stagnant, you will be left behind. It’s an exciting time to be in music.

What are you doing to expand the growth of country music globally?
Streaming opportunities have been the best method of global expansion for us. Playlisting combined with new touring opportunities and festivals like C2C have redefined our artists to a global audience and shown that country music can find audiences outside of North America.

What can the biz do to further expand the streaming market, particularly in country music?
It has taken a while for the streaming companies to target country music listeners. They’ve targeted millennial audiences, but hadn’t spoken directly and specifically to the country audience until recently. Country brings a broad audience; they don’t just listen to one format. They tend to be a little older than the millennial targets, though there is overlap. Once country fans learn to enjoy and trust streaming and the multiple platforms, they will be there. This year we’ve seen the biggest percentage shift in the growth of streaming with our country consumers.

In terms of crossing over to other formats, what are the characteristics of these projects that set them apart? What can be done to solidify the base when they do cross?
There have been country songs that have crossed over to other formats since the beginning of country music. Songs that have a wider appeal, sound or message drive themselves to a broader audience. Those songs don’t come along every day, and they cannot be forced, but you know when you have something. That was Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” and it’s Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road.” These songs were getting pop airplay without us asking for it. They just couldn’t be held back. When songs like that happen, they will find their audience. They’ll start with Country radio, and the base understands that, but as Pop radio adopts them, these songs will help widen our genre. 


Which of Mike’s golf shirts is your favorite?
He doesn’t own one that I’m aware of, but he has an amazing collection of shoes.

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