Industry Ink: SESAC, L3, Red 11 Music, Deluge Music, PLA Media

SESAC Signs Burna Boy

Nashville-based SESAC has signed Damini “Burna Boy” Ogulu for direct U.S. representation. He recently released his fifth album, Twice As Tall, and is a two-time BET Best International Act honoree and a recipient of the MTV Europe Music Awards Best African act. Twice As Tall, executive produced by Sean “Diddy” Combs, Bosede Ogulu and Damini “Burna Boy” Ogulu, was recorded mostly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and follows his Grammy-nominated African Giant, which garnered hundreds of millions of streams in 2019.


L3 Entertainment Promotes Cody Villalobos

Cody Villalobos

Nashville-based management company L3 Entertainment, which represents artists including Justin Moore, Heath Sanders, Scott Stevens and Leah Turner, has promoted Cody Villalobos to VP, Artist Management. Villalobos joined L3 in 2019 as Digital Strategy/Marketing Manager and will continue to oversee all things media and marketing strategy, content creation, and initiating and designing marketing plans through all the digital platforms.


Texas Artist Hayden Haddock Inks Deal With Red 11 Music

Hayden Haddock

Hayden Haddock has signed with Red 11 Music for exclusive booking representation. Haddock released his sophomore album Red Dirt Texas earlier this year and recently earned his first Top 10 record on the Texas country charts with the album’s title track. He has earned more than 1 million Spotify and Apple Music streams to date and nearly 900,000 YouTube views.


Songwriter Jason Saenz Renews With Deluge Music, Gravity Gone Music

Jason Saenz

Deluge Music and Gravity Gone Music have renewed a global publishing deal with songwriter Jason Saenz.

“We couldn’t be happier to be working with Jason, his talent as a songwriter crosses all genres and 2021 is going to be an exceptional year for him!” says Deluge Music president Mark Friedman.

“I’ve believed in Jason since day one so I’m lucky that I still get to watch him spin words not only in country but also pop. And thank you Deluge for continuing to believe with me.” says Gravity Gone Music’s Stephanie Greene.


PLA Media Adds Shelby Lee Lowe

Shelby Lee Lowe

PLA Media has added Tennessee native Shelby Lee Lowe to its roster as he preps the release of his next project Something in Me (due Oct. 16). The MTSU graduate currently serves as a brand ambassador for Durango Boots, Kyser Capos, PRA Audio Systems, and Tunz by Starkey Hearing Technologies.

Mechanical Licensing Collective Offers Early Look Into The MLC Portal

The MLC user portal. Photo: Courtesy The MLC

On Jan. 1, 2021, the Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) will begin administering the new blanket license available to interactive streaming and individual download services in the United States. The MLC will then collect mechanical royalties from those services and distribute those royalties to musical works copyright holders. All of this will happen in accordance with the Music Modernization Act (MMA) that was signed into law in 2018. The MLC is unique in that it will distribute 100% of royalties collected directly to publishers and songwriters without deducting an administration fee, as digital audio services are required under the MMA to pay for The MLC’s operational costs.

The nonprofit organization, based in Nashville and led by CEO Kris Ahrend, has been preparing for the Jan. 1 start date by developing ways for songwriters, publishers, and other musical works managers of all scopes to submit their musical works data to be collected and administered, by establishing and maintaining an extensive database of accurate copyright ownership information. The MLC will allow users to view and to update the musical works data that is used to pay them via its new online user portal.

“We recognize that songwriting is a creative exercise, not a data collection exercise,” Ahrend tells MusicRow. “We sought to create a user portal that puts songwriters and publishers in a position to manage and control their data to ensure they get paid properly.”

The MLC, which is governed by a board of songwriters and music publishers, has already been working to allow songwriters and publishers to review songwriter, publishing, splits and other information regarding their catalogs of musical works.

At the beginning of the summer, The MLC launched its Data Quality Initiative (DQI), to begin comparing data for millions of works and reporting any discrepancies in the datasets back to songwriters and publishers to be reconciled. Hundreds of users have taken part since then.

“As we are building the portal we have made it a priority to help users who have already registered musical works data find ways to review their data even before the portal was available,” Ahrend says. “The point in having visibility into the data is to make sure the data is accurate.”

To date, Ahrend says The MLC has performed over 14 million works comparisons.

“Until now, that didn’t exist because the parties who collected musical works data to date always maintained that information in private databases because they were private organizations. While you might have some visibility into the data, you couldn’t run that kind of mass comparison. That made it difficult for rights holders or administrators to know where there were issues, or even to assess whether some of those discrepancies mattered in terms of payment,” Ahrend says.

The MLC user portal. Photo: Courtesy The MLC

This week, The MLC began giving its first members access to The MLC Portal.

An early look at the portal reveals a clean, minimalist aesthetic. Initially, the portal will allow users to register new works, to search for works that may already exist within The MLC’s data, and to edit their own existing works. Users can see works they have newly registered under a “Pending” tab to help them track which works are in The MLC queue to be processed. A single user can also manage multiple member views.

The MLC will accept files in the CWR format for bulk work registration. Some members might also opt to upload data via an Excel file, while others with smaller numbers of works to register could opt for manual data entry within the portal. They can also save registration drafts for later use. Eventually, users will be able to opt to receive regular updates on the status of recently registered works data if they wish.

“It’s designed for individual users. The MLC Portal is designed for people who want to look up individual works and see the data on those works, so in that way it will be most compelling for those self-administered songwriters, small publishers or those who are used to managing works data individually and up until now have not had that kind of user-friendly interface. At the same time, it will be great for people at larger companies, because they can also look up individual data.” Ahrend says.

The portal also allows users to search for works by alternative titles, such as shortened versions of a composition’s title, or even by common misspellings of titles.

The portal’s sleek layout allows users to quickly enter essential information for each of their works—such as songwriters and publishing companies involved with each musical work, along with options for a song’s international standard musical work code (ISWC), or an IPI number, along with an option to include a proprietary identification number for works that are part of a larger publisher’s catalog.

The MLC user portal. Photo: Courtesy The MLC

The work The MLC will do over the next few months as it continues its intake of musical works data and prepares for the Jan. 1 launch is only the beginning, as it will continue building out features for songwriters, publishers and other users of the portal.

“As we’ve been building the portal, it’s been a very collaborative process. We have a pool of at least 50 people pulled from our board, our advisory committees and other organizations and companies, and we’ve been working with all of them in the development process,” Ahrend says. “We also previewed it for additional publishers and songwriter organizations to receive their feedback.”

The MLC is now building the functionality for rendering statements, which will allow it to begin paying members beginning in Spring of 2021. The portal is being designed to allow users to see their payment statements directly on their individual homepage.

An MLC support team is now in place and will be available to help prospective members six days a week, Mondays-Fridays from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and on Saturdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

“The portal, like everything we are doing, will continue to be built out over time,” Ahrend sums. “The portal is the last step in the membership process for those who are already engaged with us. We have begun inviting those first members into The MLC Portal, and that process will continue to ramp up in the coming weeks.”

Those who want to learn more about becoming a member of The MLC and accessing The MLC Portal can visit

Larkin Poe Explore Some Cover Fun On Upcoming New Album ‘Kindred Spirits’

Larkin Poe are releasing their first-ever covers album, Kindred Spirits, on Nov. 20.

They cover everyone from Robert Johnson and Elton John to Lenny Kravitz and Post Malone on the new project, a collection of stripped-back versions of both classics and new tracks that follows the release of their fifth studio album, Self Made Man, which was released this past June on their own Tricki-Woo Records.

In its first week of sales the album rose to the top of Billboard’s Top New Artists Albums and Current Rock Albums charts, while also climbing to No. 1 on the Blues Albums and  No. 2 on the Americana/Folk Albums charts.

“Music is a bridge that can connect generations across time,” said the duo. “In recording Kindred Spirits, our admiration for the artists who originally wrote and performed the songs blossomed into an even deeper reverence. Coming up in a family of music lovers, a lot of the songs we have always seemed to gravitate towards learning have been with us since childhood; we started a YouTube series dedicated to paying tribute to our musical heroes in 2015 that unexpectedly took off and when fans began requesting recorded versions of the songs, we started daydreaming about how an interpretive album might take shape. Bringing these old friends into the studio, stripping them back to the bones and recording them live and raw, felt like a ritual. We’re grateful for the experience of making this album and grateful to the Kindred Spirits who have come before us and written the soundtrack of our lives.”

Larkin Poe recently shared the first song from Kindred Spirits, The Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin.” They announced several live performance screenings via their all new POECAST. The band will be sharing an acoustic band show (with stories from the road) on Oct. 4. The performance will air twice, first at 2 p.m. ET and then again at 8 p.m. ET.

1. Hellhound On My Trail (Robert Johnson)
2. Fly Away (Lenny Kravitz)
3. Rockin’ In The Free World (Neil Young)
4. (You’re The) Devil In Disguise (Elvis Presley)
5. In The Air Tonight (Phil Collins)
6. Nights In White Satin (The Moody Blues)
7. Who Do You Love (Bo Diddley)
8. Take What You Want (Post Malone)
9. Ramblin’ Man (The Allman Brothers)
10. Bell Bottom Blues (Derek & The Dominoes)
11. Crocodile Rock (Elton John)

Reservoir Nashville Signs Jake Mitchell

Pictured (L-R): Pat Higdon, Jake Mitchell, John Ozier (Reservoir EVP Creative), Greg Gallo (Reservoir VP Creative), Kent Marcus (Partner & Co-Owner, Marcus & Colvin)

Reservoir Nashville has signed country songwriter Jake Mitchell to a global publishing deal. The deal, made together with music publishing veteran Pat Higdon, includes Mitchell’s future works plus his catalog of songs, including “Ain’t A Bad Day” and “One Beer,” both included on HARDY’s latest album A Rock, as well as “Rolling Rock Rolling Stones,” and “Some Girls,” both recorded by Jameson Rodgers.

California native Mitchell currently sits at No. 3 on MusicRow‘s Top Songwriter Chart and at No. 8 on Billboard‘s Country Songwriters Chart.

“John Ozier and Greg Gallo have always been champions of my work and I feel so blessed to have the Reservoir team in my corner, joined by Pat who has been a believer in me for years now,” Mitchell says. “I am as excited and inspired as I’ve ever been because of all this.”

Reservoir EVP of Creative John Ozier says, “Jake is such a naturally gifted songwriter. His thorough understanding of the genre and where it can go has resulted in hit after hit for some of the biggest names in country music today. It’s a pleasure to welcome him to the Reservoir family.”

Higdon adds, “Jake is one of the most talented young writers I’ve ever worked with! He brings excitement and enthusiasm into every co-write. It’s going to be really fun working with John, Greg and the entire Reservoir team. We mean to kick ass!”

Brett Kissel Inks Deal With Verge Records

Brett Kissel has signed with Verge Records.

In 2013, Kissel inked a record deal with Warner Music Canada and went on to release four albums, earning Canadian Country Music Association awards and JUNO awards along the way, a trend that continued at the recent CCMA’s where Kissel won four awards, including his third win for the Fans’ Choice Award, as well as wins for Album of the Year (Now or Never) and the coveted Male Artist of the Year.

In September of last year, Kissel released his first American single, “Drink About Me,” off his latest album, Now or Never, and caught the ear of Cones and Verge Records. “Drink” has earned 32 million streams, while Brett’s CMT video debut featured his friends Kaitlyn Bristowe and Jason Tartick of Bachelor Nation.

“Kissel is a smooth singer, gifted writer, and an incredible entertainer,” said President and COO of Verge Records, Mickey Jack Cones. “He has proven that he can build a strong fanbase in Canada and the United States, and we can’t wait to work with him!” commented Cones.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the team at Verge and ONErpm. After performing over the past few years with my heroes Brad Paisley and Garth Brooks – and cutting my teeth on songs penned by Nashville royalty – I’m ready to jump into the American market and bring my music stateside,” Kissel said.

Verge Records was founded in 2006 and was the genesis for music company ONErpm; Verge relaunched in 2019 with producer, publisher and manager Cones leading the Nashville-based operation.

Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen, Riley Green To Play Country Stampede 2021

Country Stampede has announced it will return June 24-26, 2021 to the Country Stampede festival grounds in Topeka, Kansas, following its cancellation this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The 2021 lineup will include Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen, and Riley Green, with additional artists to be announced in the coming weeks.

A two-day airshow at the neighboring Topeka Regional Airport will be held in conjunction with the festival. “Thunder Over the Heartland” will take flight June 26-27, 2021 and will feature a special night show on Saturday. Stampede attendees will be able to enter the airshows at no additional cost with a festival pass.

“Stampede-goers are in for a treat,” said Wayne Rouse, president of Country Stampede. “’Thunder Over the Heartland’ airshow is a perfect way to punctuate a memorable weekend of great country music and summer fun.”

Tickets for Country Stampede are $115 for a 3-day general admission pass, $55 for children (ages 6-12). Additional VIP and premium seating packages are also available through the festival website. Campsites start at $125 for the weekend, with additional amenities and RV packages also available at the festival website

TuneCore Promotes Two On Executive Team

Andreea Gleeson, Matt Barrington

TuneCore has promoted Andreea Gleeson to Chief Revenue Officer and Matt Barrington to Chief Operating Officer.

Gleeson joined TuneCore in 2015 as head of marketing and rose to Chief Marketing Officer. In her expanded role as Chief Revenue Officer, Gleeson will oversee Marketing, Artist Support, Artist and Partner Relations and International. She is also spearheading the company’s international expansion into key music markets, both established and emerging.

“I joined TuneCore five years ago because I connected with the company’s mission and wanted to be a part of an organization that not only empowered independent artists but advocated for their needs and interests,” Gleeson said. “I look forward to new countries, new partnerships, new employees, and new artists, yet the same artist first independent spirit as we continue to build the best independent music distribution platform in the world.”

Barrington, most recently Chief Financial Officer of TuneCore, will oversee the Finance, Data, Technology, Product, Operations and Legal Departments. Over the course of Barrington’s decade-long leadership, TuneCore has become recognized as the most trusted, consistent and transparent place for independent artists to earn money from their music. In his new role, Barrington will further optimize distribution product to offer the best services for artists.

“My time at TuneCore has been immensely fulfilling, having helped build the company from a start-up to where we are now,” said Barrington. “It’s an extremely exciting time as we continue to refine our best in class technology and practices in order for TuneCore artists to receive maximum benefits as we scale, innovate and embark on TuneCore’s next chapter.”

Announcing the new corporate structure, Denis Ladegaillerie, CEO of Believe Group said, “The elevation of Andreea and Matt to oversee the company as Coheads affirms their contributions in strengthening TuneCore’s services and growth in order to best serve artists at all stages of their careers on a worldwide basis.”

TuneCore and Believe together distribute close to one third of the world’s digital music. So far in 2020, TuneCore is in the midst of an upward trajectory with exponential growth in new clients and distribution across all markets around the world.

Kris Truelsen, Annie Savage Among IBMA Momentum Awards Honorees

The International Bluegrass Music Association has revealed the honorees for the 2020 Momentum Awards, as part of this year’s virtual World of Bluegrass conference.

The Momentum Awards, hosted this year by Stephen Mougin, and sponsored by the California Bluegrass Association and Canadian Consulate, focus on artists and industry professionals who are in the early stages of their bluegrass music careers. There are four performance awards: one each for Band and Vocalist, and two for Instrumentalist. Two more awards recognize industry achievement: Industry Involvement, and Mentor.

The Mentor Award is the one Momentum Award that recognizes veteran bluegrass professionals, where they have made significant contributions fostering excellence in young bluegrass performers and members of the industry.

The 2020 Momentum Awards recipients:

Industry Involvement
Kris Truelsen

Annie Savage

Instrumentalist (two recipients in this category)
Thomas Cassell
Tabitha Agnew

Melody Williamson

The Slocan Ramblers

Nominees and recipients are selected by a multiple, committee-driven process. Regional and local associations — as well as all IBMA members — are encouraged to identify serious emerging artists and leaders for consideration. With the exception of the Mentor category, anyone previously nominated for an IBMA Music or Industry Award may not be considered for a Momentum Award.

Pilgrimage Music Festival To Return In 2021

The Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival will return next year, following a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event is set to return on Sept. 25-26, 2021 to its regular venue at the Park in Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin, Tennessee, and the announcement was made as part of a retrospective video that is available to view at

The festival also announced the launch of a special vintage merchandise sale on the website for a limited time with net proceeds to benefit MusiCares.

“We are looking forward to gathering back with our Pilgrimage family at The Park at Harlinsdale in 2021. It will be here before we know it and once again the air will be filled with great music and our fans will be enjoying the local food, artisans and flavor that is unique to Franklin,” said festival producers.

The Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival was founded in 2015 and in just five short years has evolved into a boutique festival institution receiving national acclaim. It was nominated in 2019 by Pollstar as one of the nation’s best small festivals, and past headliners have included Wilco, Willie Nelson, Eddie Vedder, Justin Timberlake, Foo Fighters, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Mavis Staples, Beck, Chris Stapleton, The Killers, Avett Brothers, Hall & Oates, Steven Tyler, and many more. The festival is also known for its arts and cultural exhibits and for the year-round community works and support provided by the Pilgrimage Foundation.

Bonnaroo To Be Held Sept. 2-5, 2021

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival has shifted its 2021 dates to Sept. 2-5, 2021. Organizers for the Manchester, Tennessee music festival previously announced that the event would be held June 17-20, 2021. The event’s dates for 2020 were canceled earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic; instead organizers held the virtual “Roo-Ality” festival last weekend.

“We want to thank you for being a loyal Bonnaroovian, and we appreciate your patience as we navigate the best options to ensure we can be together on the Farm in 2021,” Bonnaroo organizers said in a statement.

Tickets will rollover to the new 2021 dates, and refunds will be available for those who cannot attend. For more information, visit