Nashville’s leading music industry publication MusicRow Magazine has released its 2022 Country Radio & Streaming Issue, with BBR’s Dustin Lynch gracing its cover.
Inside the issue, MusicRow profiles Warner Music Nashville’s CEO John Esposito. Titled “Becoming Espo,” the feature highlights the powerful label-head’s entry into the music business and his meteoric rise to the top of one of country music’s most successful record labels.
“I had no plan other than just keep being successful at what you do so that they’ll keep paying me so I can keep getting tickets,” Espo shares in the article. “[My former boss] Lyor Cohen had a big impact on my life. One of his expressions that I use all the time is: I’ve worked my entire life for an all access backstage pass. That’s the only thing I work for.”
Elsewhere in the Country Radio & Streaming Issue, MusicRow catches up with Amazon Music’s country team to talk about the last year. Principal Programmer Emily Cohen and new Head of Country Music, Michelle Tigard Kammerer, spoke on the success of Amazon’s Country Heat brand, the Country Heat Weekly podcast, and the upcoming ACM Awards, which will livestream exclusively on Prime Video.
“My goal is to continue to build on the foundation that the Amazon Music team has already built in the country music space,” Kammerer shares with MusicRow. “For 2022, I am most excited by two new developments: The ACMs on Prime Video and the Country Heat Weekly podcast.”
UMG Nashville’s Exec. VP of Promotion, Royce Risser, and Sr. VP of Streaming Marketing, Annie Ortmeier, shared their expertise on the skill set needed in the radio and streaming spaces in 2022. The two executives spoke about TikTok, promotion philosophies, and the challenges and opportunities that arose while promoting music in a pandemic.
MusicRow also investigated the rise in country collaborations over the last two years, tapping into the knowledge of BBR Music Group’s VP of A&R, Sara Knabe, who says she cleared over 40 collaborations for her label group in the last 18 months. She shed light on the influx of country collaborations, why they’re advantageous for artists, and the ins and outs of making an all-star collab work.
Also spotlighted in the Country Radio & Streaming Issue is a look at secondary market radio with KZPK and KYCK’s Brook Stephens, and a feature on the new entertainment and cashless tipping platform, PickleJar, “the world’s biggest tip jar.” Additionally, MusicRow celebrated the 20th anniversary of the CountryBreakout Radio Chart.
Finally, the Country Radio & Streaming Issue includes the winners of MusicRow’s 20th Annual CountryBreakout Awards, which honors the artists who earned the most spins on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart in 2021. The 2022 winners include Male Artist of the Year Luke Combs, Female Artist of the Year Miranda Lambert, Group/Duo of the Year Dan + Shay, Breakout Artist of the Year Priscilla Block, and Independent Artist of the Year James Robert Webb. Capitol Records Nashville was honored with Label of the Year for the 18th time, while SMACK Songs/Sony Music Publishing’s Josh Osborne was named Songwriter of the Year for the third time. This year’s Reporter of the Year is WDHR’s Jeff Meek.
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