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A LEGENDARY START (UPDATE)
Posthumous release looks massive. (7/13a)
CHART STORY: POP SMOKES THE COMPETITION
A "Moon" shot. (7/10a)
PHOEBE BRIDGERS LOOKS AT LIFE FROM BOTH SIDES NOW
Is a Best New Artist nom in the cards for acclaimed writer/artist? (7/13a)
JHENÉ AIKO'S REIGN
The gradual ascent of a gifted, prolific artist. (7/13a)
TOP 50 STREAMED SONGS AT MIDYEAR
IGA is on a roll. (7/10a)
THE 2021 CONCERT RUSH
Would you like some Swiss cheese with your nachos?
ALEXANDER HAMILTON
Oh, sorry--we were just singing to ourselves.
MARY TRUMP
Family is everything.
K-POP STANS
Are they coming for Kanye? Yes.
Pub Crawling
NOT THE SAME OLD SONG: KENT EARLS
7/13/16

EVP, Universal Music Publishing, Nashville

What do you see as the primary opportunities and challenges of the immediate future?  
The primary opportunity for Nashville is that the country marketplace is relatively new to streaming and remains untapped. Similarly, the streaming services have not yet aggressively targeted the country fan. The challenges are twofold: One, the country market needs to break more global artists; and Two, the subscription services need to relay a greater sense of urgency to earn the country fan.

Earls with breakout star Sam Hunt. Later, the pair attended the pubco’s version
of a house party, which involved a very informative talk about the outdated provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

 What do you consider the most promising new revenue streams for publishing, especially from a Nashville perspective?
From the Nashville perspective, if the streaming services can work more to embrace and earn the country fan, it will greatly benefit the Nashville publishing community.

 Nowhere is songwriting more essential to the DNA of a musical community than with Nashville. How do you see the craft evolving in the current climate, both musically and thematically?
While Nashville continues to be the go-to place to learn the true craft of songwriting, the evolution in the last five years has mirrored the pop market with the inclusion of track writers. Our market is relying more on track writers to bang out a track the same day, so our song-pluggers can run with the song and get it covered. Also, artists who write with our track writers can walk out the door from a session with a presentable recording.

Several top Nashville acts began behind the scenes as writers. What’s involved in helping them make that transition?
At Universal Music Publishing we’re focused on artist development and invest both money and time, and in many cases we develop artists before the labels discover them. One of the ways we help in the transition is by being hands-on in developing their songwriting, which in turn helps artists develop their sound. We also help with rehearsals, showcases, and image building. With the best A&R and song-plugging team in music publishing, we can often quickly help land some hits, which builds the artist’s resume. It gives the artist another talking point while shopping for a label deal, and even on a radio tour if they’ve written a hit for a fellow major-label artist.

For example, we helped develop and had major covers and #1 hits with our artists such as Hunter Hayes, and, more recently, Ryan Hurd. With Striking Matches, we landed close to 20 film and TV syncs, which gave them exposure and kept our deal straight. The support we give our writers allows developing bands to continue to work on their artistry.