Hard 8/Working Group Announces New Hires, Office Move

Dirk Hemsath, Rich Egan

In November of last year, music industry entrepreneurs Rich Egan and Dirk Hemsath joined forces with their respective management companies, Hard 8 and Working Group, and created Hard 8/Working Group. While the rosters of each company remain under their group with Egan and Hemsath heading up their respective rosters at the time of merging, all new clients and new managers coming in will sit under the new company as will the combined support services.

As part of the new venture the pair purchased a historically significant building in downtown Nashville’s exploding SoBro neighborhood. Just two blocks from Music City Center, the building is known as the Workmen’s Circle Hall. It was constructed in 1859 and at one time served as home to a Jewish Community Center. The building was designated as one of Nashville’s most endangered historical properties in 2010 and by 2015 had been fully restored by the previous owners and won a preservation award from the local historical commission.

The building will house the combined management group as well as their respective record labels, Folsom and Doghouse as well as an eventual recording studio and multi-media rooms.

Joining the management group in the new Nashville office as of the beginning of this year is Kyle Griner, a recent transplant from Orlando, Florida, with 20 years of experience in the industry. He started as a concert promoter in central Florida right out of high school and quickly realized he had a passion and skillset for being an advocate for artists and bringing their visions to life. He has been serving artists ever since.

Griner says, “I feel like I’m cut from a similar cloth as both Dirk and Rich, the three of us are life-long independents in the industry and have very similar backgrounds in that regard so this felt like a natural fit for me when considering my next move. I’m excited to bring my current management roster with me here as well as seeking out and breaking new artists together.” Griner brings clients Copeland, Anberlin, Run River North, Mona Haydar, Jerrod Bettis, and From Indian Lakes, among others.

Also joining the team in Nashville is Dave Hopper. Hopper has an extensive background in management, publishing and live events. He has most recently been managing the careers of record producers, songwriters and recording & mix engineers as well as offering publishing / A&R consulting services. His current clients include Tony Esterly and John Rausch and have credits with artists including: Taylor Swift, Sia, Niall Horan, P!nk, BTS, Florence + The Machine, Andra Day, Raekwon, Yo Gotti, Moon Taxi, Dierks Bentley, Daughtry, Gavin Degraw and others.

Prior to that he held the position of VP Business Development & Creative for publishing company Words & Music until it was sold to Big Deal Music Publishing.

Says Hopper, “I’ve been a huge fan of Dirk, Rich and their companies for years. Over the past few we’ve realized we have many common goals and I’m very excited for myself and clients to be part of the new joint team at Hard 8 Working Group!”

Says partner Dirk Hemsath, “Rich and I are beyond excited to be moving into such a unique and historically significant building as this one. The minute we walked through it in October we both just looked at each other and knew this was the place that we would build something special in this great music city. We have also been looking for the right partners to help build that something and both Kyle and Dave fit the bill perfectly and I’m proud to have such a high caliber of people wanting to come work with us. These are people that have been able to succeed in their individual endeavors yet want to be part of something special that we will all participate in building here in Music City and beyond.”

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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