Photo Roundup: Carter's Chord; DiPiero and Anderson

KNIX/Phoenix morning show personality Barrel Boy saw that the Robertson sisters of Carter’s Chord tweeted how much they love In n’ Out Burgers so he thought he would surprise them with lunch. The girls are also slated to play the Grand Ole Opry with Toby Keith and Trace Adkins tomorrow (1/29) and they just finished shooting the video for their new single “A Little Less Comfortable,” which is currently at No. 63 on the CountryBreakout Chart. Pictured (L-R): Becky, Barrel Boy, Joanna and Emily.
Songwriters Bob DiPiero and Big Al Anderson were the featured performers at a special client dinner hosted by McKenzie River Broadcasting’s KKNU-FM in Eugene, Oregon, on January 19. The two entertained clients of the top-rated country station with a slew of their hits, including Tim McGraw’s “Cowboy in Me,” Montgomery Gentry’s “Gone,” and George Strait’s “Blue Clear Sky.” Pictured (L-R): KKNU afternoon host Jon Michaels, BMI’s Dan Spears, KKNU morning co-host Bill Barrett, Anderson, McKenzie River Broadcasting owner John Tilson, DiPiero, KKNU morning co-host Tim Fox, and KKNU PD Jim Davis.

Henley Goes Country?

Eagles member Don Henley is reportedly in Nashville working on a solo album of country songs with Stan Lynch of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers fame. The collection would be Henley’s fifth studio album as a solo artist and his first since Inside Job (2000).
“Stan is one of my best friends, my son’s godfather,” Henley tells San Francisco magazine Diablo. “We work together often and are currently co-producing my next album, which will be a collection of country songs – originals and covers.”
Though unconfirmed, Ronnie Dunn and Alison Krauss are rumored to make guest appearances on the project. There is no word yet on a release date. Henley is also slated to appear on the upcoming Brad Paisley album This Is Country Music, which is due out April 19.

Twitter Rankings Back On Track

Click photo to see the chart.

Nashville music trade publication MusicRow and new media marketing group AristoWorks have re-launched a chart to track Country music artists’ popularity among Twitter users.
MusicRow’s Country Twitter Chart first debuted in June 2009 and has consistently been a top traffic destination at Recently Twitter made changes to its Active Programming Interface (API) which temporarily “broke” the chart. The twitter rankings list—alive and well, once again—has returned with plans to introduce new features that will make it even more valuable as an industry tool.
“This system really stems from a simple idea, but gives labels, managers and new media marketers a unique benchmark for where their brands stack up against others,” says AristoWorks New Media Director Jon Walker.
The chart shows the Top 75 country artists ranked by number of followers. Each entry also contains links to the artist’s Twitter page and a graph showing growth and predictions for future progress. Artists who are not listed, but believe they qualify should contact MusicRow Chart Director Jon Freeman. ([email protected]).
“We are excited to get this resource back in the hands of our readers,” said Publisher David M. Ross. “We’re also itching to unveil its next evolution. Stay tuned.”

EMI—The Hands Saga Continues

Guy Hands with EMI artist Katy Perry

The ongoing dysfunctional financial relationship between Guy Hands’ Terra Firma and Citigroup Inc., has been well documented. Hands purchased EMI in 2007 for about $6.67 billion dollars. As part of that transaction, Hands borrowed about $4.79 billion from Citigroup.
Almost immediately after the deal was completed, Hands began to cry foul, complaining that the bank had not acted in good faith in its dealings. However, after losing an extremely public court trial late last year, the Terra Firma leader’s alternatives are narrowing. Financial analysts believe that there is a strong likelihood that Hands/EMI will be unable to produce the $200 million necessary to satisfy the company’s agreements with Cititgroup at the end of March 2011. If that shortfall does indeed occur, then the music business would default to Citigroup. And here is where the plot gets thicker…
According to reports in the Wall Street Journal, the bank is already actively exploring options it might choose if/when the default takes place and “has already made contact with parties that could quickly snap up the historic music company—and Mr. Hands himself is even among them.” The publication asserts that Citigroup will price the sale of its foreclosed asset at around £1.8 billion.
It is confusing to imagine Hands losing the company for lack of $200 million, then circling around and buying it again for £1.8 billion pounds, but the resourceful Mr. Hands is strategizing a possible scenario whereby with help from CPP Investment Board, a Canadian pension fund firm, he might combine a bid for Warner Music Group with the EMI repurchase. Perhaps, in such a situation, Citigroup might also consider a new loan. WSJ speculates however, that odds are against Hands owning EMI a second time.
There are numerous other suitors for EMI, such as Sony Music, Universal Music Group, KKR, TV personality Simon Cowell and even Warner Music that are likely to complicate Hands’ plans. Warner announced last week it was looking to either buy EMI or sell itself. An EMI purchase would likely include a sale of Warner Chappell Music in any case to avoid regulatory concerns if WMG was to gain EMI Music Publishing.
While the winner of this complicated chess game to control EMI and possibly Warner Music Group is too cloudy to peg, its certain the value of these once-giant music industry titan companies is dropping like the proverbial rock rolling downhill.

Artist News: Carrie Underwood To Sing National Anthem

Carrie Underwood To Sing National Anthem At CRS • Luke Bryan Prepares For Spring Break • Lyda Offers Music For Free
>>Carrie Underwood will perform the national anthem to officially open Country Radio Seminar 2011 on Wednesday, March 2. This marks the first time she has performed the national anthem at CRS, which runs March 2-4 at the Nashville Convention Center. “Wow. What else can I say?” says CRB President Mike Culotta. “What a way to kick off Country Radio Seminar 2011! We are very appreciative and very excited to welcome one of the biggest superstars in Country music to our event. Carrie is certainly going to get us started in style!
>>Luke Bryan and CMT are hosting the “Luke Bryan Spring Break Sweepstakes” to support his 3rd Annual Spring Break shows at Spinnaker’s in Panama City March 8 and 9. One lucky winner will receive hotel accommodations for seven days and nights (3/5-12) in Panama City. The contest runs through February 23 and details are here. Bryan’s EP Spring Break 3…It’s A Shore Thing will hit iTunes on March 1 and features four previously unreleased songs.
>>Davis Music Group artist Jacob Lyda is offering an free download of an exclusive acoustic track for fans who visit his Facebook page and “Lyke Lyda.” Visitors to the page will also be able to hear Lyda’s single “I’m Doing Alright,” currently at No. 73 on MusicRow’s CountryBreakout Chart, as well as selected other tracks.

Weekly Chart Report (1/28/11)

CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan recently celebrated its 500th broadcast on-air from the CMT headquarters in Nashville. Joining host/executive producer Cody Alan in the studio to commemorate this occasion was Dierks Bentley, who was Alan's first interview on the show two years ago.

The battle for CountryBreakout No. 1 song is heating up, but Luke Bryan’s “Someone Else Calling You Baby” remains on top for a second consecutive week. But a trio of superstar hits—Blake Shelton’s “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking,” Lady Antebellum’s “Hello World,” and Taylor Swift’s “Back To December”—is right behind Bryan, and will soon be competing for No. 1 bragging rights. That is, of course, if Brad Paisley’s “This Is Country Music” doesn’t leapfrog them all. “This Is Country Music” gains 258 spins and leaps up to No. 7.
One of this week’s big surprises is Englishman David Bradley’s “Hard Time Movin’ On,” featuring guest vocals by Rodney Crowell. The song has clearly won some fans in the programming world, as it gains 137 spins to earn our biggest debut at No. 69. Also making an impressive debut is Davis Music Group’s Jacob Lyda with “I’m Doin’ Alright.” Reporters gave it an extra 157 spins and propelled it on the chart at No. 73.

Tall Tree Records new duo Jenny and Ashley recently visited Glen Lance at WSKR/Pulaski to promote their new single “Indescribable.” (L-R): Jenny, Lance and Ashley.

A series of new 2011 singles are all rapidly gaining momentum. Miranda Lambert’s “Heart Like Mine” charges up to No. 19, followed by Zac Brown Band’s “Colder Weather” at No. 20. Label cousins Rascal Flatts and The Band Perry are also on the move with “I Won’t Let Go” (No. 28) and “You Lie” (No. 31), respectively. And rounding out the Top 40 after only two weeks on the chart is Reba’s “If I Were A Boy.”
Frozen Playlists: KSED, KYKX, KYYK, WBKR, WBYZ, WQNZ
Sean Kelly will take over MD duties at OMNI Media Group’s KWOX/Woodward, OK effective January 31. Kelly fills the slot being vacated by previous MD David Wayne, who is leaving radio to work on his family’s farm. Reach him at [email protected]

Upcoming Singles
January 31
Carter’s Chord/A Little Less Comfortable/Show Dog-Universal
Jacob Lyda/I’m Doin’ Alright/Davis Music Group/Nine North
Jamey Johnson/Heartache/Mercury
Jenny & Ashley/Indescribable/Tall Tree/Lofton Creek
February 7
Joanna Smith/Georgia Mud/Columbia
David Nail/Let It Rain/MCA
• • • • •
New On The Chart—Debuting This Week
Artist/song/label — chart pos.
David Bradley feat. Rodney Crowell/Hard Time Movin’ On/Gecko – 69
Daniel Smith/Until I Close My Eyes for Good/DLS Records – 71
Jacob Lyda/I’m Doin’ Alright/Davis Music Group/9 North – 73
D.J. Miller/Whatever It Takes/Evergreen – 75
Randy Montana/1,000 Faces/Mercury – 78
Kate Russell/Damned If I Do/Urunga – 79
Emma King & The Heartsets/I’m Not Forgotten/PLC – 80
Greatest Spin Increase
Artist/song/label — spin+
Zac Brown Band/Colder Weather/Bigger Picture – 336
Rascal Flatts/I Won’t Let Go/Big Machine – 312
Reba/If I Were A Boy/Starstruck/Valory – 305
The Band Perry/You Lie/Republic Nashville – 293
Jason Aldean w/Kelly Clarkson/Don’t You Wanna Stay/Broken Bow – 259
On Deck—Soon To Be Charting
Artist/song/label — spins
Matthew Huff/As TIme Goes By/MGH Records – 166
Lathan Moore/Love In Your Life/Blue Steel Records – 157
Sean Patrick McGraw/My So Called Life/Little Engine Records – 142
Jamey Johnson/Heartache/Mercury – 125
The Grascals/I Am Strong/BlueGrascal – 118
Most Added
Artist/song/label — New Adds
Reba/If I Were A Boy/Starstruck/Valory — 17
Ashton Shepherd/Look It Up/MCA — 15
Carter’s Chord/A Little Less Comfortable/Show Dog – Universal — 15
D.J. Miller/Whatever It Takes/Evergreen — 15
Jacob Lyda/I’m Doin’ Alright/Davis Music Group/9 North — 13
Steel Magnolia/Last Night Again/Big Machine — 10
The Band Perry/You Lie/Republic Nashville — 10
Rascal Flatts/I Won’t Let Go/Big Machine — 10

David Nail stopped by WPOC in Baltimore last Friday (1/21) for a station visit with listeners and to play his new single “Let It Rain.” (L-R): WPOC Baltimore/WMZQ Washington PD Meg Stevens, WPOC’s Bob Delmont, Nail, WPOC’s Laurie DeYoung and WPOC News/Producer St. Pierre.

The Dirt Drifters helped the morning show babysit during their stop at WMAD in Madison.(L-R): WMAD PD Mike Ferris, Matt Fleener, Jeremy Little, Nick Diamond, WMAD's John Flint, the "baby," WMAD's Tammy Lee, Jeff Middleton and Ryan Fleener.

Skyville's First Promotion Team Hire

Theresa Ford

Theresa Ford is joining Skyville Records as the label’s first promotion team hire. A former Lyric Street promo rep, Ford has more than fifteen years radio promotion experience. She will help the label establish a top promotion team to work with Stealing Angels and all future Skyville artists.
Ford’s new role at Skyville Records has her rejoining Kevin Herring, President Skyville Records, whom she worked with for more than twelve years when she served as Senior Director of Southeast Regional Promotion for The Walt Disney Company’s Lyric Street Records. She’ll continue to be based out of Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Theresa is the most thorough, dedicated, and passionate promotion person I think I’ve ever worked with,” shares  Herring. “Skyville is instantly a great promotion staff with her on board!”
Ford can be reached at 704-543-1002 or [email protected]

McSpadden Re-Ups with Red Light

Shawn McSpadden Photo: JC Johnson

Manager Shawn McSpadden has re-signed with Red Light Management/Nashville and will oversee the careers of Universal Recording artist Kip Moore, Ryder Lee and Reunion/Provident Label Group artist Kerrie Roberts. McSpadden will also work alongside Red Light Management owner Coran Capshaw managing the group Third Day.
McSpadden has worked with GHM/Red Light Management for the past six years, managing artists both in the Country and Christian industries. Prior to joining the company, McSpadden held positions such as VP/GM at Word Music Publishing and Senior VP, A&R, Word/Warner Bros. Records.
McSpadden began his career in the late ’80s with a company that grew to become McSpadden-Smith Music, a management company and publishing entity with  over 20 staff songwriters and  3,500 copyrights. The catalog contained thirty No. 1  songs in both the Country and Christian Billboard charts, and included songs recorded by artist such as Faith Hill, Vince Gill, Amy Grant and more.
McSpadden will be based in the Red Light Management office, 124 12th Ave. S., 6th Floor, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 279-3784.

Capitol Adds Bannen; James Joins Sugarland Tour

Kelleigh Bannen is the newest artist on Capitol Nashville. Produced by Paul Worley and Jerry Smith, Bannen recently (1/18) performed a set of her music in front of music publishers and fellow BMI songwriters.

(L-R) Capitol Records’ Mike Dungan, producer Jerry Smith, Capitol Records’ Melissa Spillman, Bannen, and BMI’s Jody Williams and Beth Laird.

Casey James

>> American Idol 2010 finalist Casey James has been signed to BNA Records and will join Sugarland on the March leg of its The Incredible Machine tour. “It’s an awesome opportunity to play in front of people that love great music,” says James. “I can’t wait to get back out there and share new music with the fans.” James is currently in the studio creating his debut album set for release later this year.
Tour Dates
¾—North Little Rock, AR
3/5—Tulsa, OK
3/10—Greenville, SC
3/11—North Charleston, SC
3/12—Jacksonville, FL
3/17—Grand Rapids, MI
3/18—Bloomington, IL
3/19—Sioux City, IA Traffic Bustin' Loose

MusicRow’s digital content distribution engine [web site] has been enjoying a steady surge in traffic thanks to our dedicated readers. The above graph, compiled by Google analytics, compares traffic from Dec. 27, 2010 to Jan 26, 2011 with that of the same period one year ago.
As the report shows, all key indicators are growing rapidly. Visits are up over 60% and Pageviews have increased almost 73% for the period.
The graph’s blue line (current period) and green lines intersect during the holiday period (Dec. 27-Jan. 2) when the industry is enjoying holiday season vacations. After the holiday, the current (blue) traffic dominates the graph. The 204,580 pageviews shown over the 31 day period averages about 7,000 per day.
Recently, the readership has been accelerating even faster. The lower graph shows pageviews for Jan. 24, 25 and 26. All three days passed the 10,000 per day mark escalating all comparisions.