Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Eric Church Set For ‘ACM Presents: Our Country’ Special

Performers have been announced for the ACM’s upcoming special, ACM Presents: Our Country, and will include Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Kane Brown and John Legend, Luke Bryan, Brandi Carlile, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Sheryl Crow, Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Old Dominion, Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban.

The two-hour special will air Sunday, April 5 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS and on CBS All Access and will also honor 10-time ACM winner Kenny Rogers with performances by Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker.

Artists will appear from their homes during the special night to share heartfelt thoughts and perform acoustic versions of their hits. Video clips from previous ACM Award shows will also highlight favorite ACM moments from the past during the special, which will be broadcast during the time slot previously scheduled for the 55th Academy of Country Music Awards, which will now be broadcast Wednesday, Sept. 16.

How The $2 Trillion Stimulus Package Will Help The Music Industry

On Wednesday evening (March 25) the Senate approved a $2 trillion stimulus package to help boost the economy that has been shaken in the wake of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic.

The stimulus package received a unanimous vote of 96-0, and goes forward to the House for a vote. It was announced Wednesday evening that the House will convene on Friday at 9 a.m. to vote on the stimulus package and is expected that President Donald Trump will sign the measure.

The stimulus package’s language includes both grants and loans to help songwriters, musicians, sound and lighting professionals, road crews, producers and other music industry members struggling as tours and other music live shows have been canceled or postponed, under the bill’s $300 billion-plus small business section. Those who have had concerts canceled and productions shut down will have emergency access to employment insurance.

Nashville Songwriters Association International’s Executive Director Bart Herbison noted that industry groups including NSAI, NMPA and SONA came together, working with congressional leaders including House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Cong. Ted Deutch, Chairman of the “Songwriter’s Caucus” in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Senator Marsha Blackburn to ensure that language was included in the bill saying that “sole-proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed” individuals were included in different grant and loan programs, including the paycheck protection program and the emergency economic injury disaster loan (EIDL) grants.

According to NSAI, the bill’s language indicates that anyone with an income of less than $100,000, and who can show loss of income can apply for the funds. Herbison also says NSAI will act as a clearing house for information on how to apply for federal grants and loans.

“We will be making details available over the next few days on specifics of the various programs contained in the legislation. NSAI will help direct those eligible to the appropriate resources for relief,” NSAI Executive Director Bart Herbison said in a statement. “In some circumstances relief funds won’t have to be repaid.”

The legislation includes access to small business loans and payment deferrals, making it easier for musicians who are often independent contractors and sole proprietors, to obtain and pay loans. Another provision provides additional funding for the National Endowment of the Arts, which gives grants to arts organizations to offer relief to musicians.

Advocates included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Jim Cooper, Martha Roby, Zoe Lofgren, Sens. Marco Rubio, John Kennedy, Diane Feinstein and others.
“Many music industry professionals are not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits because they are self-employed,” said Herbison. “That’s why is was imperative that the federal stimulus package contain language that made them eligible for relief. Now they will be able to apply for immediate financial help for any income they’ve lost over the past few weeks and income they will lose throughout the rest of this year.”

“Music City was not built by high-powered businessmen, but by a fiercely talented community of independent singers, songwriters, and musicians who are now struggling to keep their heads above water. In this time of fear and uncertainty, it is important that we do not abandon these creators. With that in mind, I led a bipartisan team of advocates to ensure that all music industry professionals will benefit from the provisions of this rescue package. I thank the Nashville creative community for their resilience and am honored to weather the storm alongside such an extraordinary group of Tennesseans,” said Senator Blackburn.

“As Congress intervenes to help Americans struggling from this national crisis, we know Americans will be impacted in different ways. Songwriters and so many in the music industry are self-employed; they’re gig workers, independent contractors, and sole proprietors. That’s why I worked with my colleagues and the creative community to ensure we include language in this economic stimulus package to help them weather the storm and qualify for relief. Music is helping so many of us cope right now; we need to help the people who create it,” said Congressman Deutch.

The RIAA’s Mitch Glazier commented, “We applaud Leaders McConnell and Schumer, Secretary Mnuchin, and all Members of the Senate and the Administration who worked to include direct financial aid to Americans in need in the stimulus package the Senate passed today. The music community always steps up to help Americans get through trying times and circumstances, and this legislation steps up to help our community face unique circumstances during this national emergency… We know the power of music will help us get through this crisis, but we also know that economic pain will continue to cut even deeper in the weeks and months ahead. We look forward to working with the House to get this relief across the finish line as quickly as possible.”

“Right now, everyone in music is suffering as we all find ways of coping with the effects of Coronavirus,” said NMPA’s David Israelite. “We are greatly relieved that songwriters, composers and musicians across the country will be helped by the emergency stimulus package passed by the Senate today. From paycheck protection and stimulus checks to grants that help with rent and mortgage payments, the legislation will help the creative community – particularly those who qualify as independent contractors, sole proprietors and self-employed – who have been hit hard by this pandemic. We want to thank Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) for their dedication to ensuring this assistance was included in the bill, and we greatly appreciate the work of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) and the Songwriters of North America (SONA) for their tireless work to get this done.”

“ASCAP applauds the Senate for unanimously passing significant relief that aids the creative community and millions of other Americans during this difficult and uncertain time,” said ASCAP’s President and Chairman Paul Williams. “Songwriters are some of America’s most-treasured small business owners, and it’s imperative that we continue to support and assist independent contractors and self-employed musicians whose lives and income have been upended by this pandemic. We look forward to this bill passing the House and being signed by the President.  We are all in this together, and ASCAP will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that music creators can weather this storm.”

Devon O’Day, Chris Kulick Join Main Street Media

Chris Kulick, Devon O’Day

Devon O’Day and Chris Kulick have joined Main Street Media, with O’Day joining the New Business Development Sales Division as New Media Host, and Kulick joining as New Business Development Sales Manager.

O’Day and Kulick will expand Main Street Media’s reach with a podcast network, social broadcasts, brand stories and partnership with Main Street Media’s current digital platforms.

O’Day exited Nashville Today on WSM in February before joining Main Street Media. She spent 18 years in radio work with Gerry House and the House Foundation, five years for WSM, and three with Mix 92.9. She is also an accomplished author for Thomas Nelson, Abingdon Press, and Guideposts. As a songwriter, O’Day’s songs have been recorded by Trace Adkins, Hank Williams, Jr., and Lee Ann Womack. Along with House, she penned a No. 1 song for George Strait, titled “The Big One.” She has also narrated more than 70 audiobooks for Audible, among other endeavors.

“Media must do more to keep engagement with an audience. We have to give them what they can’t get anywhere else,” O’Day said. “We need to work harder for our advertising clients caring that the message works. We need content that is unique and available visually and audibly in many formats. Main Street Media with Dave Gould and Chris Kulick is a place where vision is not only encouraged but applauded. I’m thrilled to join this incredible team to tell our hometown stories.”

Kulick, who was voted one of Radio Ink’s 2018 Best Managers, has built a reputation in radio and marketing while working in sales and promotions at 99.7 WTN, the Titans Radio Network, and 104.5 The Zone. Both 99.7 WTN and 104.5 The Zone became the number one billing stations in the market with Kulick’s influence. While at WSM, he created and monetized WSM Roadshow, Music City Mentors, Music for Kids, Route 650 Americana streaming station, and the Opry Radio streaming station. Additionally, he co-created Music City Sports Festival and the Peachtree Sports Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, both of which are focused on youth sports clinics.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with Dave Gould. From the day I met Dave, I felt a special chemistry that I believe will allow us to continue to grow Main Street Media’s vision, while allowing me to bring my unique skill set to the daily operations,” Kulick said. “I am grateful for the 18 cumulative years I spent with Gaylord Entertainment, Ryman Hospitality, and WSM. I would like to thank the CEO, Colin Reed, and all of the great people I met for treating me so well throughout the years. I wish them all the best.”

Nashville Music Industry Leaders Detail Best Practices Working Through Pandemic

17th Avenue South. Photo: Sherod Robertson

On Sunday (March 22) Nashville Mayor John Cooper issued a ‘safer at home’ order for all of Davidson County for two weeks, which prohibits groups of more than 10 people from gathering, leaving Music Row virtually empty and music business professionals working from home.

MusicRow Magazine talked to several small business leaders in the Nashville music industry about operating their companies with their teams spread out and working remotely.

Working from home, and out of your usual routine, can come with a lot of challenges. Many music business professionals who are also parents described keeping their children busy while schools are closed as a huge challenge.

Children can add challenges when in the workplace.

“Finding a balance between three kids at home and work has been challenging,” says Founder & CEO, Music Health Alliance, Tatum Hauck Allsep. “After the first two days we’ve found our groove. It was an adjustment for me more than for them. I’ve been working since I was 15 years old, and I had to give myself permission in a strange way to be present and to stop for a little while and build a fort with our 9 year old. It is an unexpected gift in this unusual season.”

Creating routines in a non-routine world is key.

Many have also found that keeping a routine, getting outside, enjoying the time home with loved ones, and checking in on your team’s wellbeing is essential.

“I think trying to maintain a routine can be helpful. Shower, get dressed, have a separate room or part of your house/apartment that is your work area, and don’t forget about self-care. Sometimes you need a walk/break/fun movie or glass of wine,” says Co-Owner of The GreenRoom, Kristie Sloan.

Loeb & Loeb’s Partner and Co-Manager, Derek C. Crownover suggests making sure your work space is efficient. “Take the time, if you can, to get your small organized efficient office set up away from the family so you can not only focus on work, but focus on them later too.”

The best trick is knowing there are no tricks.

Reviver Entertainment’s Founder/President/CEO, David Ross, says, “[There are] no tricks. Be true to yourself. Show and communicate true concern and have patience.”
Allsep further drives home that point of having true concern for your team members.

“I learned a lesson this week and believe that it is important to share,” Allsep says. “I was NOT sensitive to the fact that many of our younger music industry professionals have not been faced with the magnitude of change that we are experiencing right now with the impact of COVID-19 on our lives. I was sharing too much clinical information about the capacity of COVID-19, and having no idea that it was negatively impacting the mental health of some of my closest associates. The lesson: Everyone processes information differently. Many music industry professionals live alone, away from loved ones, etc. Too much information can be harmful. Be sensitive to your teams in the coming weeks. The mental health of our music community is important right now and there is not a one size that fits all. Try to get to understand where they are coming from emotionally and be considerate of their age and life experience.”

Being present in the moment can offer inspiration and creativity.

As for managing songwriters and artists, many have let the creatives lead the way on their use of this uncertain time. Some creatives are taking this time to hunker down with family and friends, to be present in the moment that will ultimately inspire music in the future. Others have hardly missed a beat, moving their writes to video chat and staying active on social media.

“During the first week we unfortunately had many cancellations because we had several writers traveling in from out of town who needed to cancel their travel plans,” says Tree Vibez Music’s General Manager, Leslie DiPiero. “Once everyone got their ‘Quarantine Legs’ many writers have been video conferencing and/or been sending ideas and tracks then jumping on calls and video conferencing to finish their songs.”

“Everyone is doing the best they can but mostly they are creating by themselves or we are setting up FaceTime, Zoom or Skype co-writes,” says Creative Nation Co-Founder/CEO, Beth Laird. “Lori McKenna is a pro at this because she has been Skype writing from Boston for years.”

Make Wake Artists’ Founder/Owner Chris Kappy knows that this unprecedented period of time will inspire meaningful music.

“I don’t know if they are creating, as much as they are pre-creating, by getting ideas and inspiration for future pieces of work,” Kappy says. “By keeping up with social distancing measures, they aren’t writing, but I know how they are, and I know they are thinking of new ideas as they have so much free time to just, think. I bet this time that is so dark right now, creates some beautiful songs in the coming months and years.”

Stay connected with people in innovative ways.

To stay connected, many are turning to video chat systems to communicate effectively with their teams, listing Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype and FaceTime as essential video-chatting programs.

Others are implementing project management systems like Slack, Asana and Wunderlist.

With the cancellation of many live appearances over the next few months, a lot of artists have turned to social media and live-streamed performances to generate fan connection.

“The majority of our artists have been utilizing social media, including Facebook Live, IGTV, and TikTok, to continue to perform and connect with their fans,” says AristoMedia President, Christy Walker-Watkins. “Not only have they been able to entertain fans with music, but they have been able to bring fans into homes, giving them a closer look at their hobbies and/or interests outside of music, and in some cases, appear to be connecting with fans on a whole new level.”

Ultimately, Nashville music business leaders are striving to stay energized and encouraging.

“Between the tornado and Coronavirus, we have been hit by a lot lately but we are the most connected music community in the world and we will support one another and get through this together,” says Laird. “Also we have great resources available through Music Cares, Lifting Lives and Porter’s Call if anyone needs extra help. I look forward to hearing all the new songs that will come from this and can’t wait to get back to greeting my friends with hugs in person!”

“Nashville and the music community here that has enjoyed a way of life from music, unlike any other city, is going to have to lock arms with our live show community whether it’s downtown Nashville live players, venues and staff, touring musicians or even top-tier touring artists to ride this one out,” Crownover says. “The city and state leaders will need to step in quickly to help. The music community leaders will need to step up and give to those in need whether that’s cash, food, a place to stay, babysitting, option money or advances on upcoming work or even helping those out of work find an interim project outside of the music business. Time for some sheer humanity to kick in the same way we do when a tornado hits.”

Know this truth: We will get through this (even if we don’t feel it at times.)

“We are going through a tough time, the toughest our entire industry has ever seen… we will get through this,” Kappy says. “If you need help, ask. If you are in a depressed state, reach out. This is hard and scary, don’t try and fight it alone. Ask for some love, as we have it to give. That’s why I love Nashville.”

Lee Brice, Rob Hatch Form Pump House Records

Pump House Records team breaks between recording sessions at Southern Ground Studios, Nashville. Pictured (L-R): Lee Brice, Kristi Hutchins, Derek Hutchins, Nick Norman, Rob Hatch, Elisha Hoffman. (Photo by Chase Lauer)

Lee Brice and songwriter Rob Hatch are joining forces to open a new artist development collective, Pump House Records. The company offers A&R, promotion and other label services. Years after co-writing the No. 1 hit “I Don’t Dance” together, the two entrepreneurially-minded artists are collaborating the artist “launch pad,” founded by Brice, Hatch, producer/engineer/songwriter Elisha Hoffman, and veteran business leaders Derek and Kristi Hutchins.

The name is a nod to the pump house behind his family church-turned makeshift recording studio where Brice first began making music.

“We are all, and have been, artists and have seen that side of the relationship between label, publisher and artist,” Brice says in a statement to MusicRow. “So I guess it’s natural in our hearts to want the best for the artist, what the artist really wants, and how the artist really feels. It’s just important to us.”

The company’s first project will be a new album by singer/songwriter Nick Norman, due out later this year. Recorded at Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Studios in Nashville, the project was produced by Brice, Hatch, and Hoffman, and is just the latest collaboration between Norman and Brice, who practically grew up together and have been making music together for decades.

“We all love making music…creating…working in the music business,” Brice adds. “But the bottom line is Nick is someone we all believe in, so the idea of all working together to let the world hear Nick just seemed like something we all just really wanted to dive into.”

“It is just a collection of talented friends from different parts of the music business working together to help create the best Nick Norman record we possibly can,” says Hatch, whose handful of No. 1 hits include Justin Moore’s “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” and Randy Houser’s “Goodnight Kiss.” “We’re looking forward to sharing his music, and the music of other great artists we believe in, in the coming months and years.”

Hatch adds, “It was basically a result of being super impressed with Nick, his voice, songwriting and point of view. He’s a true American original and it would be a shame for the world not to get to hear him and his music.”

As a songwriter, Brice has co-written hits including Garth Brooks’ “More Than A Memory” and Eli Young Band’s “Crazy Girl,” and as an artist has notched several hits including “I Drive Your Truck,” “A Woman Like You,” and his latest, “Rumor.” He is currently on the radio as part of “I Hope You’re Happy Now” with Carly Pearce.

Austin City Limits Offers Free Streaming Of Video Archives During Pandemic

Austin City Limits is helping break up the boredom of sheltering in place for people by offering up some of the contents of the iconic show’s archives for free. Beginning now, the last two seasons and some of the current season’s shows are available for streaming, and include performances by Willie Nelson, Billie Eilish, Vampire Weekend and many others.

Available concerts in the long-running popular series can be found here.

Concord Inks Co-Pub Deal With Andrew Petroff

Andrew Petroff. Photo: Courtesy Concord

Concord has inked a co-publishing deal with Nashville-based songwriter, producer and musician Andrew Petroff. The new agreement includes his full catalog going forward.

Petroff has worked with Sheryl Crow, Phillip Larue, Devon Gilfillian, David Nail, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, LANCO and Kevin Griffin, among others. His synch work has been heard on Grey’s AnatomyThe BlacklistHow to Get Away with MurderFox Sports, NashvilleRiverdale, and advertisements for brands including Dignity Health, Beyond Meat and Coca Cola.

“Coming to Concord feels like coming home,” said Petroff. “The people here feel like family and everyone has a passion for truly great music.”

“As a writer, producer, and human being, Andrew operates with integrity and authenticity as his guiding light,” says Brad Kennard, SVP A&R at Concord Music Publishing in Nashville. “Anyone who has worked with, or knows Andrew, loves him. We’re proud and humbled to be his publishing partner.”   

New Dates Set For Tin Pan South

Songwriter event Tin Pan South has set new dates for the popular gathering, after it was previously postponed due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Nashville Songwriters Association International has revealed the organization’s Tin Pan Week has been rescheduled for Oct. 19-24, 2020, where the 28th annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival presented by Regions Bank will welcome a slew of songwriters performing their top hits. The organization states it is working to bring back as much of the originally scheduled programming as possible. Details on new venues, times, performers, and more will be announced in the coming weeks.

Ryman Hospitality To Suspend Operations At Gaylord’s Opryland Resort, Four Other Properties

Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. is preparing to suspend operations at its five Gaylord hotel properties including Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, to help mitigate the operating and financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are working with our management company, Marriott, to temporarily suspend operations at our five hotels that comprise the Gaylord Hotels convention network,” said Colin Reed, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc, in a statement. “After taking into account the recommendations of local health authorities and expected demand levels over the upcoming weeks, we have determined that a temporary suspension of operations is in the best interests of the employees in our hotel properties, the local communities in which our hotels operate, and our shareholders. We will assess hotel demand levels throughout the month of April and in consultation with local health authorities determine an appropriate reopening date for the facilities.”

Ryman will hold a conference call tomorrow (March 26) to discuss the company’s action plan and its cost-containment efforts with its investors.

Icon Entertainment Launches Information Portal, Food Service For Employees

Pictured (L-R): House of Cards Operating Partner Blake Miller & Icon Entertainment’s Director of Culinary Operations Chef Gannon Leary

Icon Entertainment, the parent company of the House of Cards, Johnny Cash’s Kitchen & Saloon, the Johnny Cash Museum, Nudie’s Honky Tonk, the Patsy Cline Museum, Skull’s Rainbow Room and the forthcoming Sinatra Bar and Lounge, has launched an employee portal to connect with their staff and bands during the coronavirus pandemic. Among the many services they are providing through the portal is a complimentary meal service for its over 300 employees to ensure food security for their entire team.

“There is a long tradition of showing love and comfort to friends and family alike through sharing a warm and delicious meal with them,” says Icon Entertainment Founder & CEO Bill Miller. “While we can’t all gather at the family table right now, we will provide great hot meals to our entire Icon company staff and our bands. Acclaimed Executive Chefs and managers from our restaurants are in the kitchen personally preparing meals themselves. They stepped up beyond the call of duty. They are there because they care. I could say I’m surprised, but the opposite is true. Icon is a true family and it’s one for all and all for one.”

Icon Entertainment has established this online portal for all its employees to utilize to communicate with each other and with staff at all levels. A variety of resources are made available and updated numerous times daily.

“The portal is a crucial tool for every one of our 300 employees,” says Miller. “We update, support and communicate constantly so that no one feels disconnected or alone. Our HR department has taken no time off and directly assisted every employee to file for unemployment including handling the actual filing for everyone affected. In times like these, people want to know someone cares about them. We are blessed to have the best employees in the world at all levels.”

The Icon Entertainment establishments are currently closed to help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19, but gift cards, tickets and merchandise to their attractions and restaurants can still be purchased online.