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YOUR TOP 20 IS
MUY GRANDE
How will the Grammys affect who follows Ariana? (2/14a)
SONG REVENUE CHART: FEMALE POWER
Ari! Halsey! Billie! (2/15a)
UMG POSTS $7B YEAR,
WITH SALE ON TRACK
Who wants a piece of this? (2/15a)
FLIPOVER FRIDAY: NEW ARRIVALS AT iTUNES AND APPLE MUSIC
A pair of dynamic duos leads the pack. (2/15a)
HITS LIST KEEPS FALLING ON MY HEAD
These rainmakers are anything but all wet. (2/15a)
THE WINNERS
What the Grammys tell us about a changing landscape.
COMMITTED TO ROCK
The biz players who are determined to get the volume back up.
MANAGEMENT DO-SI-DO
Big changes among big acts.
THE NEW SUPERSTARS
The old pop rules just don't apply.
Music City
CRS 2019: BMLG'S LUNCHEON
2/15/19

Offering a star-studded celebration during the final day of CRS, Big Machine Label Group showcased superstars and in-demand newcomers at the Omni hotel in Nashville. 

BMLG President & CEO Scott Borchetta invited the room to preview their eclectic roster of talent alongside imprint leaders Jimmy Harnen (BMLG EVP & Records Prexy), George Briner (The Valory Music Co. GM) and Jim Weatherson (Big Machine GM). 

Performers included Rascal Flatts, Brantley Gilbert, Riley Green, Lauren Jenkins and Noah Schnacky

Pictured above (L-R): Back Row - Riley Green, Rascal Flatts Jay DeMarcus, Noah Schnacky
Front Row - Rascal Flatts' Joe Don Rooney and Gary LeVox, BMLG President/CEO Scott Borchetta, Brantley Gilbert, Lauren Jenkins

CRS 2019: AMAZON BRINGS "COUNTRY HEAT"
2/15/19

On Wednesday night in Nashville, Amazon Music brought their Country Heat playlist to life with a two-hour showcase featuring Calaway, Adam Hambrick, HARDYTenille Townes, and a closing performance by Zac Brown Band. The Grammy-award winning southern rock titans ended the showcase with their own rendition of Queen's legendary "Bohemian Rhapsody."

CRS 2019: WARNER WEDNESDAY
2/15/19

Warner Music Nashville celebrated their inaugural CRS "Warner Wednesday" luncheon on 2/13, where they showcased some of their biggest and brightest talent to a packed ballroom at the Omni hotel. Artists including Ashley McBryde, Chris Janson, Cody Johnson, Cole Swindell, Dan + Shay, Devin Dawson and Morgan Evans performed to multiple standing ovations before country superstar Blake Shelton took the stage to wrap the event. 

Pictured above:
(Back Row, L to R): Kristen Williams (SVP Radio & Streaming, WMN); Devin Dawson; Cody Johnson; Morgan Evans; Tom Martens (VP Radio & Streaming, WMN)
(Front Row, L to R); John Esposito (Chairman & CEO, WMN); Chris Janson; Blake Shelton; Cole Swindell; Ashley McBryde; Scott Hendricks (EVP A&R, WMN)

CRS 2019: UMG AT THE RYMAN
2/15/19

UMG Nashville held their 10th annual "Team UMG at the Ryman" luncheon at the historic Ryman Auditorium. The showcase featured performances by Kassi Ashton, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Jordan Davis, Travis Denning, Vince Gill, Adam Hambrick, Brandon Lay, Hootie & The Blowfish, Little Big Town, Maddie & Tae, Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban

Pictured above after UMG Nashville choir practice:

1st Row L to R: Jeannie Sullivan, Jill Burnett, Mike Dungan, Royce Risser, Sally Green, Anna Johnson, Summer Harlow
2nd Row L to R: Ashley Laws, Mara Sidweber, Katie Dean, Donna Passuntino, Jack Christopher
3rd Row L to R: Charlie Dean, Darius Rucker, John Trapane, Michelle Tyrrell, Mike Krinik, Annie Sandor, Katelyn Lester, Connor Brock
4th Row L to R: Dean Felber, Chris Schuler, Donna Hughes, Brent Jones, Trudie Daniell, Kaileen Mangan, Miranda McDonald, David Friedman, Jackie Stevens, Megan Youngblood, Jimmy Rector
5th Row L to R: Cindy Mabe, Jordan Davis, Kassi Ashton, Caylee Hammack, Adam Hambrick, Brandon Lay, Chris Fabiani
6th Row L to R: Mark Bryan, Briana Galluccio, Nick Kaper, Travis Denning, Jim Sonefeld, Chris Stapleton, Vince Gill

KASSI'S VISUALS FOR "VIOLIN"
2/13/19

 

Rising star Kassi Ashton has released the new music video for "Violins." The visuals, featuring outfits made by the MCA Nashville star herself, showcase Ashton's powerful presence amidst a red-light backdrop in a high school gymnasium. 

First released on 1/25, "Violins" was produced by Luke Dick and Luke Laird and co-written by Ashton, Dick and Natalie Hemby

“Visuals are so important to me, because that’s the way I understand and explain everything in my life,” Kassi said about the video. “It is no different with my music. When I allowed my brain to think of all the possibilities of what this video could look like, a million ideas soaked in red light came out. [Director] Kristin Barlowe, in all her magic, and her entire team perfectly translated my thoughts to the screen.”

CUTTING-EDGE COUNTRY, GRAMMY'S NEW REALITY
2/12/19

By Holly Gleason

While the Country radio dilemma for female artists remains, the Grammys broke much ground in the name of artistic achievement. Not only did Kacey Musgraves sweep the Country Solo Performance (“Butterflies”), Song (“Space Cowboy,” written with Luke Laird and Shane McAnally) and Album (Golden Hour), but the 30-year-old singer/songwriter from Golden, Texas, also took the night’s top prize: Album of the Year.

Her slightly genre-blurring third album soft-focused on good feelings, stretching outside influences beyond her hard-roots foundation to include traces of dance, trance, pop, adult contemporary and all things in between. The result shimmered when you listened and pulled you away from your tension if you’d just surrendered to it.

Musgraves’ major win is an extension of a yearlong domination of the media and tastemakers. She’s where all the cool kids are, touring with Harry Styles and tributing Dolly Parton. But just as importantly, the girl with a strong sense of performance art also took this moment to strip things back.

For the Grammy performance, it was all white—piano, clean lined dress, staging—that gave up a rainbow-colored strip near the song’s end. As much in solidarity to her LGBTQ fan base as a literal cheery on top of “Rainbow,” it was tasteful, tuneful and emblematic of her finding the happy ethos.

The only award Musgraves didn’t win was Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group. Though nearly as ubiquitous as Florida Georgia Line with Bebe Rexha’s “Meant to Be,” “Tequila” was a breakout moment for a duo that’s been slowly simmering. After a black-and-white performance—and a big note held for a full 20 seconds—Dan & Shay announced their presence to the industry with authority.

An award later, Jason Owen’s duo was picking up the Grammy for Duo/Group giving Sandbox Entertainment a country sweep, plus the night’s top honor. With Little Big Town supporting Dolly Parton on “Red Shoes,” her solo turn in the MusiCares tribute, it seems Owen’s artists all have an unfailing uniqueness that allows them to—as Musgraves sings—follow their musical arrow.

And in some ways, that is also the uber-manager’s secret sauce. Or as he says, “I let my artists be who they are, and leave the music to them. My role is to support their vision and to give them the opportunities to win.”

Indeed, it seems singularity rules. Whether it’s Randy Goodman’s turbo-good ole boy Luke Combs, who was up for Best New Artist; super-streamer Kane Brown, who helped present Country Album; thumping, Coors-leaning duo Brothers Osborne; working-class female songwriter Ashley McBryde; or Third Man’s Margo Price, it is the unique artists who get the breaks. When so much of country sounds like it came straight from the Xerox machine, the Grammys leaned into the artists daring to be different.

Even Brandi Carlile, who, in many ways, is anything but country, electrified America with a heart-outside-the-body reading of “The Joke” that was built on Nashville’s core values of good songs, real musicianship and an artist who means it. At a time when Jed Hilly’s Americana is gaining traction, the question begs asking: is there a place on country radio for the more C&W-leaning Americana artists?

With so much real creativity coming from the above, plus fellow nominees Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris, country as its defined by radio, is more poised than ever to play women. Beyond Miranda and Carrie, there’s some amazing music being made. All the genre has to do is quite swallowing its own tail—and inhale some fresh air. Who knows where it might come from.

Sturgill Simpson famously loves to rail about being excluded, and Jason Isbell drives forcefully in a more rock direction. But what about Price? Carlile? McBryde? Hayes Carll? Is there an Americana act that could split the difference? Could a Lindsey Ell or Carly Pearce actually break through? As the gap between what’s on the radio and what’s streaming widens, can Americana artists have a place in the gray area? Or can women be more than clichés with pop beats? Given how much is up in the air right now—and the much-moaned-about “girl problem” on the dial—this is fixing to be a fascinating Country Radio Seminar.

As Musgraves and Carlile both lit up both iTunes Track and Album charts, it’s obvious—regardless of what “the research” says—if you expose people to great, they will respond. Maybe not since Bonnie Raitt have two true artists emerged from the quiet and dug into the sales universe like these two. As Beyoncé says, “Who rules the world?”

WME INKS MAT KEARNEY
2/12/19

WME has signed award winning singer/songwriter Mat Kearney for representation in all areas. 

Touring for over a decade, Kearney has brought his songs to fans across the globe and has released three Top 20 albums and notched five Top 40 hits along the way. 

With previous albums issued by Columbia and Republic, Kearney's breakthrough single "Nothing Left to Lose" has been ceritified Gold. His latest effort, CRAZYTALK, was independently released. 

The Triple 8 repped troubadour has shared the stage with John Mayer, Florence + The Machine, Train and Kelly Clarkson

 

SIDOTI EARNS SENIOR STRIPES AT VALORY
2/12/19

The Valory Music Co. has announced that Ashley Sidoti has been promoted to Senior National Director, Promotion & Marketing. Most recently serving as National Director, Promo/Marketing, she will continue to build relationships between radio and the label's talented roster, including Brantley Gilbert, Thomas Rhett, Justin Moore, Aaron Lewis, Eli Young Band and newcomers Tyler Rich and Delta Rae

“We are pleased to announce the promotion of Ashley to Senior National Director,” said The Valory Music Co. GM George Briner. “She came into the Valory Music world as an intern back in 2008 and since then has grown through the ranks, continuing to contribute to the success of The Valory Music Co. and Big Machine Label Group every day.”