NEAR TRUTHS:
ROAD SIGNS


MOVIN’ ON:
Isn’t the Miranda Lambert situation a sign of the times in Nashville? The superstar’s exit from Sony and search for a new deal occurs in the wake of a profound change. This is not unlike what took place in the rock business—artists who didn’t stream as well had their deals modified to fit the new ecosystem. Lambert is a big country star. Her shelves are groaning with trophies from the CMAs, ACMs and CMTs. She’s won three Grammys and earned 25 noms. She fills arenas and does major residencies in Vegas. Her brand outside music is significant, as evidenced by her forthcoming lifestyle/cookbook co-authored with our own Holly Gleason.

While country touring is in general a powerhouse business, the disconnect between ticket sales and streaming has created a conundrum for many of the genre’s established stars and has changed the calculus regarding recording contracts. As the globalization of music continues, country plays a smaller part in the global ecosystem.

Data nerds tell us that country represents about 8% of U.S. streams overall and 3% of global streams at Spotify. But Morgan Wallen, Luke Combs (currently heading for a chart bow in the vicinity of 100k), Zach Bryan, HARDY and other newer country acts are showing that the genre can have real firepower at the DSPs, with Amazon and Apple contributing significantly in the U.S.

Lambert has a strong team to navigate the challenges of the moment. Her manager, Marion Kraft, is highly regarded and came up under the tutelage of über-manager Simon Renshaw (Dixie Chicks) at The Firm. Jess Rosen, Lambert’s attorney for nearly 20 years, is a smart cookie who knows where most of the bodies are buried in Nashville.

ERAS OF CATALOG: Taylor Swift is poised to smash all manner of records with her giant new Eras Tour. In addition to being one of the biggest and most resilient stars of the modern age, Swift is the pop-cultural equivalent of a great general, brilliantly commanding, motivating, mobilizing and manipulating her army of Swifties.

Fascinatingly, the Ticketmaster debacle in the run-up to the tour only seems to have helped her as she shrewdly controls the narrative on the socials and in the mainstream media. Tay's tour has bumped up her streaming (notably of a previously unreleased track she dropped just before the first date), and it’s interesting to note that much of that action is on catalog that was sold by BMLG, first to Carlyle and then (for a reported $300 million) to Shamrock. BMLG remains the distributor for those original recordings, which continue to stream briskly, though lately not as well as the re-recorded versions.

It’s worth noting that while there’s lots of chatter about top artists renegotiating deals to get their recorded catalog back, that isn’t happening. Returning it would run counter to the fundamentals of the rights holders’ businesses. But look for a tremendous valuation spike on recorded catalog, not unlike the huge lift publishing assets have seen over the last few years.

TOP 20: DEATH BECOMES HIM
No lucky 13 for Tay. (7/17a)
NEAR TRUTHS: MIDYEAR MOMENTUM
The score at the half (7/17a)
GRAMMYS GONNA GRAMMY: SADDLING UP FOR AOTY
More musings about Music's Biggest Night (7/17a)
YES, CHEF! EMMY NOMS ARE OUT OF THE OVEN
Sound and vision (7/17a)
EDDIE ROSENBLATT,
1934-2024
Remembering a great record exec (7/17a)
THE GRAMMY SHORT LIST
Who's already a lock?
COUNTRY'S NEWEST DISRUPTOR
Three chords and some truth you may not be ready for.
AI IS ALREADY EATING YOUR LUNCH
The kids can tell the difference... for now.
INDIE DISTRIBUTION'S RISE TO GLORY
The discovery engine is revving higher.
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