Darrell Franklin To Lead Blackbird Music Publishing Group’s Nashville Office

Darrell Franklin

Darrell Franklin has been named Sr. VP, Nashville of Blackbird Music Publishing Group, and will lead the company’s newly-opened office in Nashville’s Berry Hill area. Blackbird also has offices in New York and Los Angeles, and recently announced it had acquired the music catalog of composer Burt Bacharach.

The role reunites Franklin with Lance Freed, who in July was announced as President of the newly-formed Blackbird Music Publishing Group.

“My first boss when I got into publishing was Lance Freed at Rondor Music International,” Franklin tells MusicRow. “Lance approached me about the job at Blackbird and the more I talked to him the more excited I got about Blackbird and what their vision was.”

Franklin previously served as General Manager at 3 Ring Circus. Under Franklin’s leadership, the company celebrated several hits including “Raise ‘Em Up” (Keith Urban), “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” (Tim McGraw), “Yours” & “Blue Tacoma” (Russell Dickerson).

In 2009, Franklin was named Exec. VP for BMG Nashville. He oversaw the purchases of catalogs such as Evergreen, Bug, Chrysalis, Cherry Lane, Stage Three, and added writers including Hillary Lindsey, Rodney Crowell, Darrell Brown, The Civil Wars, Steve Robson, Chris Wallin, Chris Lindsey, Angelo, and Lucie Silvas. In 2013, he formed a publishing joint venture with BMG titled Darrell Franklin Music. The company began developing artist/writer Russell Dickerson, who now is signed with Triple Tigers.

Franklin also spent 14 years doing A&R with producer Dann Huff; along the way, Franklin found hits like “What Hurts The Most”, “My Wish” (Rascal Flatts), “I’m Tryin’” (Trace Adkins), “When The Lights Go Down” (Faith Hill), “Raining On Sunday” and “Making Memories Of Us” (Keith Urban). Early in his career, Franklin served as Sr. VP at Crosstown Nashville, developing writers and artists including busbee, John Paul White, Jonathan Singleton and Neil Thrasher.

“One of the biggest things I learned from those years was that you were hearing every song, every songwriter, all around the world and I felt like I was quickly able to do A&R from a songwriting standpoint because of that,” Franklin says. “It helped me identify people’s strengths and weaknesses and that made be better at setting up co-writes.”

Blackbird Music Publishing Group was founded by The Raine Group, Keith Wortman and Blackbird Presents, which provides production for large-scale concert events, TV series, broadcast specials and more. A few of Blackbird Presents’ well-known specials include “Willie: Life & Songs Of An American Outlaw,” “All In For The Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Farewell Concert Celebration,” “Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard,” “The Life & Songs of Kris Kristofferson,” and more. Blackbird Presents is also creator/producer for The Outlaw Music Festival Tour, in partnership with Willie Nelson, as well as The American Roots Music & Arts Festival, in partnership with Eric Church.

“Music publishing is a natural next step for us given that our work across film, television, concerts, and festivals enables us to offer incredible opportunities to songwriters,” says Keith Wortman, CEO of Blackbird Presents.

Blackbird Music Publishing Group will announce initial Nashville signings in the coming weeks.

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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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