The Music Business Association trade organization moved its Music Biz conference to Nashville five years ago, however, some of its long-standing awards stretch back to 1964.
This year’s honors went to the charitable entertainer Darius Rucker, Sony Nashville Chairman/CEO Randy Goodman, the man-of-few-words Kane Brown, the ailing but joyous entertainer Peter Frampton, the bold Bebe Rexha, the illustrious The Orchard partner Richard Gottehrer, the respectively charming and indelible Record Archive store owners Alayna Alderman and Richard Storms, and Hall of Fame inductee the late producer George Martin.
The longest running of these awards is the Chairman Award For Sustained Creative Achievement—evolved from the organization’s previous name, NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers)—which went to an emotional Frampton.
“It’s not been an easy last couple of months,” confessed the Nashville resident, who previously announced he suffers from the inflammatory muscle disease Inclusion-Body Myositis (IBM). “The support and love I have received since I announced my health issue has been absolutely overwhelming. My band and I have been in the recording studio with co-producer Chuck Ainlay and recorded four albums. I’ve never recorded this much in my life, but I have to do that because this year will be my final tour, unfortunately not because I want to stop playing…It’s not my choice.”
Capitol Records Nashville recording artist Rucker accepted his Harry Chapin Memorial Humanitarian Award with a playful dig. “I would thank my manager but the last thing Clarence [Spalding] would want me to do is to go play some show for some cause on a Friday night,” teased Rucker, who turned the tone to gratitude. “To my mother who taught me at a young age, although we didn’t have a lot, you could help anybody.”
Brown’s acceptance for a Breakthrough Artist Award on stage was heartfelt and brief. “To everyone in this room who gave me a chance, it’s opening the doors for other people who don’t think they belong in country music,” thanked the Sony Music Nashville recording artist.
Sony Music Nashville was well-represented at the event, seeing a two-song acoustic set from it’s breakout artist Luke Combs, including his impactful “She Got The Best Of Me.” Combs was showered with plaques by his management and label team including Chris Kappy, Lynn Oliver-Cline and Goodman.
That Sony Nashville exec, Goodman, formally read his acceptance for the Presidential Award for Outstanding Executive Achievement. A video of his revitalized Sony Nashville saw remarks from the likes of Maren Morris and his ex-employer Spalding. “To all the artists I have worked with over the years—particularly at Sony Music Nashville—you give meaning to my work…to our work.”
Breakout smash co-performer with Florida Georgia Line, Rexha, offered candid remarks for another Breakthrough Artist Award. “We need more women executives in the music business,” said Rexha. “Only 15 percent of women in the music business run labels. I think 86 percent of the songs on radio in the U.S. are men. Women deserve a chance. One day I will be running one of the biggest record labels…I’ll see you in the future when my artists win this award.”
The show also honored non-Nashville affiliates.
The late George Martin was honored by his induction in the Hall of Fame. Martin’s son Giles Martin accepted from the UK. “It would make him laugh that he was in the Music Business Hall of Fame because he was terrible at the music business,” said the young Martin. “He managed to sign away royalties…but he was a great man and what he had was inspiration and innovation and would take risks all the time.”
Songwriter-turned-executive, The Orchard distribution co-founder Gottehrer charmed as only a songwriter can for his Outstanding Achievement Award. “As we go through the craziness in the business that’s happening now, you have to respect the songwriter and make sure they are compensated beyond anything else,” he advised.
Rochester, New York’s Alderman and Storms offered respective heartfelt and poetic gratitude for the recognition of their store Record Archive with the Independent Spirit Award.
Music Biz continues through May 8, 2019, and will return to Nashville’s J.W. Marriott Nashville hotel from May 11-14, 2020 and May 10-13, 2021.
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