IT'S OFFICIAL: GASTON TOPS SONY/ATV NASHVILLE

Sony/ATV has made it official: THiS Music co-founder Rusty Gaston will head up the Nashville operation, replacing Troy Tomlinson, who left the company in June to become Chairman/CEO of UMPG Nashville.

In addition, Sony/ATV has acquired Gaston’s company whose roster includes Ben Hayslip, Emily Weisband, Jessi Alexander and co-founders Connie Harrington and Tim Nichols.

As CEO of the Nashville operation, where he’ll be responsible for the signing of songwriters and catalog development strategies, he will report to Sony/ATV Chairman/CEO Jon Platt.

“Rusty is one of music’s most influential executives today, and his success in developing game-changing opportunities for songwriters makes him the perfect leader to step into this important role at Sony/ATV,” Platt said in a statement. “I’m excited to work alongside Rusty and our Nashville team on nurturing the next generation of music’s hitmakers.”

Prior to THiS Music, where he was GM, Gaston held the same post at Byron Gallimore’s Song Garden Music. He also did a stint as Creative Director for the Warner Chappell JV Smith Haven Music.

“The Sony/ATV Nashville catalog is the undisputed greatest collection of country music on the planet,” Gaston said. “As a music lover, I am in awe of the legacy of the songs and the songwriters past, present and future, and I look forward to working with this amazing team and roster.”

Like Tomlinson, who came from Acuff-Rose, Gaston is a from-the-roots up publishing exec who grows budding writers and helps them find their own voices rather than having them crank out what's already working. He's a Texan and a man of faith—which is why he's gotten so man Christian cuts.

Gaston recognizes both what makes a song work and how to take a song and use it to elevate the person recording it. He was so good at working with songs and songwriters that Gallimore pirated him for his pubco, and in a year, he tripled the number of cuts.

So this is a good get for Platt, who locked in Gaston last July, as we reported at the time.

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