BMI Promotes Mason Hunter To Assistant VP/Creative, Nashville

BMI has announced a series of key executive promotions within its Creative team, including Mason Hunter, who has been elevated to Assistant Vice President/Creative, Nashville.

In his role as Assistant Vice President/Creative, Nashville, Hunter will work closely with Jody Williams, Vice President/Creative, Nashville, to whom he will report, to help support the songwriting community and manage Nashville’s team of writer representatives.  In addition, he will continue to identify new partners that align with BMI’s business needs, create new revenue streams to benefit BMI’s affiliated songwriters, composers and publishers, and maximize existing partnerships for mutual brand awareness. Hunter joined BMI in 2000.

Other recently announced BMI promotions include Barbara Cane, BMI’s Vice President of Creative, Los Angeles who has been elevated to the newly-created role of Vice President, Worldwide Creative and Advisor to the EVP of Creative & Licensing. Samantha Cox has also been elevated to Vice President, Creative, New York, and Tracie Verlinde has been named Vice President, Creative, Los Angeles. Wardell Malloy has been promoted to Assistant Vice President, Creative, Los Angeles. These promotions are effective immediately.

[Updated]: Webster Public Relations Shutters

Kirt Webster

[Updated, 2:12 p.m. CT]

Webster Public Relations is set to continue operating under the name Westby Public Relations, according to a statement received by MusicRow.

The company’s work for its clients will continue under the leadership of Jeremy Westby, Webster’s longtime colleague. Meanwhile, Webster will take time away from the business to “focus on combating the egregious and untrue allegations made against him,” the statement says.

An earlier statement had appeared on the Webster PR website Wednesday morning, saying the business was no longer in operation.

The new statement addresses the posting:

Earlier today, it was mistakenly posted on the Webster Public Relations’ website that the firm has been closed. This was stated incorrectly. Webster Public Relations will continue operating – but under the name Westby Public Relations – while Kirt Webster takes some time away from the business to focus on combating the egregious and untrue allegations made against him. The company’s work on behalf of its clients will continue under the leadership of Jeremy Westby, Kirt’s longstanding colleague.

Additionally, former Webster PR staffer Scott Adkins announced the launch of his own PR firm today.

[Updated, 1:30 p.m. CST]

The message on the Webster PR website has been removed.

[Previous story, 12:00 p.m. CST]

According to its website,, Kirt Webster‘s Webster Public Relations has closed for business as of November 1, 2017.

The longstanding PR rep—with a client list including headliners as Dolly Parton, Hank Williams Jr., Kenny Rogers, Justin Moore, Aaron Lewis and many others—was at the forefront of a scandal brought to the national spotlight on October 31 when former artist, Austin Cody Rick, accused Webster of continued sexual assault in 2008. Rick went by the stage name Cody Austin. The accusations were posted in a editorial on and featured by the Nashville Scene.

Kirt Webster denies all allegations. A prepared statement from Webster reads: “As a single adult, Mr. Webster has had multiple relationships over the course of his professional life, all of which have been consensual. This includes a brief relationship with Mr. Rick. It saddens Mr. Webster that nine years later, after Mr. Rick’s music career has been stagnant, Mr. Rick has taken the opportunistic approach of mischaracterizing that relationship and posting untrue allegations.”

According to WSMV-TV, the news organization had spoken with four individuals who claim Webster sexually assaulted them.

All business inquiries are noted to be directed to Jeremy Westby, Sr. VP. Webster sent out a press release to media as recent as Nov. 1.

Attempts to reach Webster PR representatives regarding the firm’s closing went unanswered.

This is a developing story.

A message displayed on Webster PR’s website on Nov. 1.

NewSong And Crowder To Launch ‘Very Merry Christmas Tour’ In December

NewSong and Crowder are teaming up to celebrate the holidays with the “Very Merry Christmas Tour.” Presented by Holt International, the tour, which will also feature Sarah Reeves, is slated to hit 12 cities in December, including Cincinnati; Chesapeake, Va.; and Marion, Ill; among other markets, before wrapping Dec. 17 in Clinton, Tenn.

“Our ‘Very Merry Christmas Tour’ gives us a great opportunity to remind everyone about the real meaning of Christmas,” said Billy Goodwin, NewSong founding member. “When we do ‘The Christmas Shoes’ live, it’s always a very emotional time in the concert. I think all of us can relate to losing a loved one during the holiday season, and this song points to the hope we have for an eternity in Heaven with Jesus and being reunited with those we loved here on earth.”

During the holiday shows, NewSong will perform favorites from their Christmas albums, 2001’s The Christmas Shoes, and 2006’s The Christmas Hope, and last year’s The Best Christmas Ever!, as well as their hit, “The Christmas Shoes,” which inspired the New York Times best-selling novel of the same name by Donna VanLiere, as well as the CBS television movie, The Christmas Shoes, based on the book.

AIMP Launches New Podcast Series

The Nashville Chapter of the Association of Independent Music Publishers today (Nov. 1) launched its new podcast series, “AIMP Nashville Pubcast.” Hosted by Michael McAnally Baum, President of SMACKSongs and AIMP Nashville Secretary, the weekly series will feature 30-minute interviews with independent music publishers in Nashville discussing how they got into the business, how they achieved success, and their advice for new indie publishers.

The inaugural episode will feature Ree Guyer, Owner and President of Wrensong Music and AIMP Nashville Treasurer, and is available now via Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Google Play, Soundcloud, and YouTube. Subsequent episodes will be released each Wednesday. Future episodes include Carla Wallace from Big Yellow Dog, Rusty Gaston from THiS Music, Beth Laird from Creative Nation, and more.

“We’re excited to give a voice to the independent music publishing scene here in Music City USA, where you can find some of the best of the best in our field,” said AIMP Nashville Executive Director John Ozier, Vice President of Nashville Creative at ole. “As the music business evolves, we will need new voices to ensure that publishers adapt along with changing realities. We hope this podcast will give aspiring publishers the knowledge and inspiration they need to dive into the industry.”

“It’s a thrill to host AIMP Nashville’s first foray into the world of podcasting, and I really hope that our listeners will take something valuable away from the series,” said McAnally Baum. “Each of our guests has a tremendous story and valuable information to share, and it’s been a blast drawing that out of them as we discuss the various issues faced by independent music publishers today.”

Future “Nashville Pubcast” episodes:

  • November 8 – Tim Hunze of Parallel
  • November 15 – Carla Wallace of Big Yellow Dog
  • November 22 – Dale Bobo of Big Deal Music
  • November 29 – Rusty Gaston of THiS Music
  • December 6 – Robin Palmer of SMACKSongs
  • December 13 – Chris Van Belkom “The Falcon” of Combustion Music
  • December 20 – John Ozier of ole
  • December 27 – Beth Laird of Creative Nation
  • January 3 – “Building a Great Team” featuring Brent Daughrity of Anderson Benson Insurance, Trina Smith of Me Gusta Music, and Denise Nichols of The Primacy Firm

NMPA Celebrates Top Writers, Publishers For September 2017

Zac Brown

The National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) has announced its September Gold & Platinum Program features top songwriters, publishers, and 259 certifications of hit songs.

In partnership with the RIAA’s Gold & Platinum Program, NMPA finds and certifies the songwriters and publishers of RIAA-certified singles. RIAA counts both sales and on-demand streams towards its Gold (500K), Platinum (1M) and Multi-Platinum (2M+) thresholds. Thousands of songwriters have been recognized since NMPA’s program began in 2007.

The top songwriter with 16 certifications is Zac Brown (Reach Music). The songs “Chicken Fried,” “Colder Weather,” “Knee Deep,” and “Toes” have been certified multi-Platinum; “Whatever It Is” has been certified multi-Platinum and Platinum; and “As She’s Walking Away,” “Free,” “Goodbye In Her Eyes,” “Highway 20 Ride,” and “Keep Me In Mind” all certified Platinum and Gold.

The top publishers honored include:

Sony/ATV Music Publishing: 64 certifications
Gold: 18
Platinum: 18
Multi-Platinum: 28

Warner/Chappell: 46 certifications
Gold: 27
Platinum: 9
Multi-Platinum: 10

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG): 32 certifications
Gold: 9
Platinum: 10
Multi-Platinum: 13

Kobalt Music: 21 certifications
Gold: 14
Platinum: 6
Multi-Platinum: 1

Reach Music: 18 certifications
Gold: 5
Platinum: 6
Multi-Platinum: 7

BMG: 15 certifications
Gold: 5
Platinum: 7
Multi-Platinum: 3

Spirit Music Group: 13 certifications
Gold: 5
Platinum: 6
Multi-Platinum: 2

Imagem: 8 certifications
Gold: 7
Multi-Platinum: 1

Downtown Music Publishing: 5 certifications
Gold: 1
Platinum: 4

Atlas/Combustion Music: 5 certifications
Gold: 1
Platinum: 1
Multi-Platinum: 3

Round Hill Music: 4 certifications (multi-Platinum)

Pulse Music Publishing: 4 certifications
Gold: 1
Platinum: 3

Big Deal Music: 3 certifications
Gold: 2
Platinum: 1

Velvet Apple Music: 3 certifications
Gold: 2
Platinum: 1

Horipro Entertainment: 3 certifications
Gold: 1
Platinum: 2

Reservoir Media Management: 3 certifications (Gold)

ole: 2 certifications (Platinum)

Black River Entertainment: 2 certifications
Gold: 1
Platinum: 1

SONGS Music Publishing: 1 certification (multi-Platinum)

The Royalty Network: 1 certification (multi-Platinum)

Big Machine Music: 1 certification (Platinum)

Curb Music: 1 certification (Platinum)

Arthouse Entertainment: 1 certification (Platinum)

PEN Music Group: 1 certification (Gold)

Sea Gayle Music: 1 certification (Gold)

Music Sales Corporation: 1 certification (Gold)

BBR Music Group Promotes Meg Ryan, Adds To PR Team

Meg Ryan, Quinn Kaemmer

BBR Music Group has promoted Meg Ryan as Senior Publicity Manager and added Quinn Kaemmer as Publicity Manager. Both report to Jay Jones, VP of Publicity.

Ryan joined the BBR Music Group publicity team in 2015 as an Associate Publicist. She began her public relations career at NPG PR working with the company’s diverse roster of music and brand accounts like chart-topper Granger Smith and dick clark productions’ Miss America. At BBR Music Group she has worked closely with fast-rising act Lindsay Ell, helping to drive the media campaign behind her No. 1 debut album The Project as well the media launch of Wheelhouse Records’ Runaway June.

Kaemmer joins the team bringing seven years experience in the public relations field, working with an eclectic roster of entertainment, hospitality, corporate, television and event clients. Quinn’s background includes stops at NPG PR, marlo marketing and most recently Reed PR, where she spearheaded the launch of Madame Tussauds Nashville and worked with notable brands like Pancake Pantry, and O’Charley’s.

Ryan can be reached at [email protected] and 615-610-2110.

Kaemmer can be reached at [email protected] and 615-610-2142.

Country Stars Line Up For Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Several country artists, including Lauren Alaina, Cam, Sara Evans, and Dustin Lynch will take to the streets of New York City as part of the upcoming Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The event will air from 9 a.m.-Noon on Thanksgiving Day.

Other celebrities set to perform include 98 Degrees, Sabrina Carpenter, Andra Day & Common, Jimmy Fallon & The Roots, Goo Goo Dolls, Kat Graham, Andy Grammer, Angelica Hale, Olivia Holt, Nicky Jam, Wyclef Jean, Bravo’s Top Chef stars Padma Lakshmi & Tom Colicchio, Miss America 2018 Cara Mund, Leslie Odom Jr. and the cast & muppets of Sesame Street, Bebe Rexha, Smokey Robinson, Jojo Siwa and more.

Since the first march in November of 1924, the Macy’s Parade has captivated audiences and become synonymous with the start of the holiday season. For the 91st edition, the line-up will feature 17 giant character balloons; 28 legacy balloons, balloonicles, balloonheads and trycaloons; 26 floats; 1,100 cheerleaders and dancers; more than 1,000 clowns; 12 marching bands and six performance groups.