BREAKING: Jennifer Way Promoted To Senior Vice President, Marketing, Sony Music Nashville

Jennifer Way. Photo: Matthew Berinato

Sony Music Nashville Chairman & CEO Randy Goodman announced today (Dec. 9) the promotion of Jennifer Way to the position of Senior Vice President, Marketing, Sony Music Nashville. Reporting directly to Goodman, Way will oversee all marketing efforts, which includes artist team leads, brand partnerships, digital marketing, international marketing, media and creative services for Sony Music Nashville and the roster of its three imprints, Arista, Columbia and RCA Nashville.

“Since joining SMN, Jen has exhibited an understanding of and the ability to adapt to the changing nature of the market and its impact on what marketing needs to look like in the future. That’s never been more vital than it is right now,” said Goodman. “I know Jen and the amazing team she will be leading will ensure our market place leadership in that regard.”

“I’m so thankful to Randy for his belief in me and entrusting me to lead this remarkable team,” said Way. “Under his vision and leadership, Sony Music Nashville has become not only one of the most exciting label groups in music today, but also one of the greatest places to work, with a culture that enables our team to thrive. I love the SMN Family—this team and our roster of artists—and I couldn’t be more honored or excited for this opportunity, as we navigate this ever-changing marketplace and continue to write this exciting chapter for Sony Music Nashville.”

Way, who joined Sony Music Nashville in 2016, has most notably led the marketing campaigns for Kane Brown, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Mitchell Tenpenny and Tenille Townes, among others. In deployment of Sony Music’s international objectives, Way has been extensively involved in SMN’s global artist development efforts and the breaking down of racial and genre barriers for country acts. Following her graduation from Berklee College of Music, she worked at UMG Nashville for over a decade and was integral in launching the careers of such entertainers as Chris Stapleton and Kacey Musgraves.

Way is a a colon cancer survivor, and is passionate about finding a cure for cancer. Blending her personal and professional passions, she helped facilitate Sarah Cannon partnerships with both Brad Paisley and Mitchell Tenpenny. Following Blackout Tuesday, she led the launch of Kane Brown’s “Worldwide Beautiful,” benefitting the Boys & Girls Club of America to advocate for justice and equality for youth.

Way was named part of MusicRow’s 2021 N.B.T. Music Industry list.

She resides in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband Joel and son Liam. Way can be reached at [email protected].

Darius Rucker Joins Effort To Bring Major League Baseball To Music City

Darius Rucker. Photo: Courtesy FINN Partners

Darius Rucker has joined Music City Baseball as an investor and Music Advisory Board member. Rucker joins fellow artists Luke Combs, Kane Brown, and Justin Timberlake on Music City Baseball’s Music Advisory Board in providing deep music industry influence in the plan for bringing Major League Baseball and the concept of a new entertainment district to Nashville.

“I have always been a big fan of Major League Baseball so I’m excited about being part of bringing a team to Tennessee,” said Rucker. “Nashville is already a great home to several professional sports teams, and I believe baseball is the next step in continuing Nashville’s reputation as one of the greatest cities in the United States.”

“We are beyond thrilled to welcome Darius to our growing team,” said Managing Director of Music City Baseball, John Loar. “His star-power and genuine enthusiasm for this effort will be contagious as we expand our reach and generate excitement throughout Tennessee.”

Music City Baseball is pushing to bring a Major League Baseball team to Nashville with private investment and without the help of government funding. In addition to a team, MCB is partnering with Moody Nolan Architects and former Titans running back Eddie George, who is co-leading their real estate development advisory team, to design a family and entertainment district that will intersect with Nashville’s lively music and sports scene.

MCB is committed to bringing a Major League franchise to Nashville that is built on equity and celebrates diversity. The team name would be the Nashville Stars, in honor of several Black baseball teams that played games in Nashville in the 1940s. Additionally, Music City Baseball has established a partnership with the NLBM that includes a net sharing of revenues from the sale of merchandise bearing the name ‘Nashville Stars’ and cooperation between marketing and social media efforts.

AIMP Announces 2021-2022 Board Of Directors For Nashville, New York, Los Angeles

Pictured (L-R): Teri Nelson Carpenter, John Ozier, Michael Lau

The Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) has announced its new Board members for 2021-2022, with a new leadership team taking charge at the New York Chapter, and multiple new Board members bringing fresh perspectives to Los Angeles, Nashville, and New York.

In Nashville, Emily Boardman (Hipgnosis Songs) will join the Board as its new Treasurer, while Kendall Lettow (peermusic) will come onboard as Administrative Assistant. The Chapter will also welcome five new Board members: Duff Berschback (Concord), ET Brown (SESAC), Alex Heddle (Big Machine Music), Shannon Sanders (Independent Songwriter & Producer), and Mike Sistad (ASCAP).

“I’m excited to work with our new Treasurer, Board members, and Administrative Assistant, and looking forward to what we hope will be a more traditional 2021,” said John Ozier (Reservoir), AIMP Nashville Chapter President. “We strongly hope we will be able to schedule in-person events to celebrate our Songwriter Series Class of 2020, and get back to the Ryman for our AIMP Nashville Awards. Regardless, we will continue to do everything we can to ensure the Nashville independent publishing community thrives in the new year.”

In New York, long-time Chapter head and President Alisa Coleman (ABKCO Music & Records, Inc. / The MLC) will step down after six years at the helm. Michael Lau (Round Hill Music) takes over as Chapter President, and Debbie Rose (Kokopelli Music Group) is the Chapter’s new Vice President. In addition, Antonella DiSaverio (BMI), Melanie Santa Rosa (Spirit Music Group), and Dana Siegel (Concord) will join as first-time Board members.

In Los Angeles, Frank Handy (Position Music) was elected as the Chapter’s new Treasurer, while Yvonne Drazan (peermusic), Cassie Lord (SyncStories Music), Marla Ludwig (Sony Pictures Entertainment), and Mario Prins (SESAC) will join as first-time Board members. Teri Nelson Carpenter returns as President.

NASHVILLE Board:

Officers:
President – John Ozier* (Reservoir)
Vice President – Ree Guyer* (Wrensong)
Secretary – Chris VanBelkom* (Combustion)
Treasurer – Emily Boardman (Hipgnosis Songs)
Administrative Director – Courtney Kruckeberg (Endurance Music)
Administrative Assistant – Kendall Lettow (peermusic)

Board of Directors:
Duff Berschbeck (Concord)
ET Brown (SESAC)
Mark Brown* (Round Hill)
Robert Carlton* (SMACK)
Courtney Crist* (Mojo Music & Media)
Shannan Hatch* (Fourward Music)
Alex Heddle (Big Machine Music)
Tim Hunze* (Anthem)
Michael Martin* (Endurance Music)
Leslie Roberts* (BMI)
Shannon Sanders (Independent Songwriter & Producer)
Mike Sistad (ASCAP)

*returning board member

Liz Rose Music And Warner Chappell Music Sign Global Co-Publishing Deal With Josh Kiser

Josh Kiser. Photo: Courtesy Warner Chappell

Liz Rose Music and Warner Chappell Music Nashville have signed a global co-publishing deal with Josh Kiser. This year, Kiser released “The F Word,” “God’s Been Good To Me,” and his latest single, “I’m Never Drinking Again.” The rising singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has opened for acts Tracy Byrd and Craig Campbell, among others.

In 2019, Kiser signed with artist development company Starts With Music, run by three-time Grammy award-winning producer/songwriter Nathan Chapman and multi-Platinum producer-songwriter Kevin Kadish. Taking cues from outlaw and ’90s country influences, the Tennessee-native is busy in the studio recording new music.

Warner Music Nashville Signs Country Trio Temecula Road

Warner Music Nashville has partnered with Disney Music Group’s Buena Vista Records to welcome the newest addition to its label family: California-bred, Tennessee-based country band Temecula Road.

The up-and-coming trio—comprised of Dawson Anderson, Emma Salute, and Maddie Salute—has formed a unique sound with its three-part harmony and signature mandolin. The Temecula Road team also includes Champ Management, JRM Publishing/Disney Music Publishing, and WME.

“We are so excited to join the Warner Music Nashville family and continue working with Buena Vista Records,” the band said. “We truly feel like this is the dream team for us. Although we’ve yet to meet in person, Warner’s passion for our band was so strong we could feel it via Zoom. We can’t wait to get to work and meet face-to-face in 2021!”

Dawson, Emma and Maddie boast stage credits worldwide, from Stagecoach Festival in their home state of California to C2C: Country to Country Festival in London. Temecula Road is planning new music in 2021.

CMA Hosting Informational Webinar On COVID-19 Support And Services

 

The CMA is hosting an informational webinar on Thursday, Dec. 10 at 12:30 p.m. CT to further outline resources and services that are available to the industry affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through its Music Industry Covid Support initiative. Panelists for Thursday’s webinar include CMA CEO, Sarah Trahern; CMA VP of Community Outreach, Tiffany Kerns; and CMA Board of Directors Incoming Chairperson, Mary Hilliard Harrington.

Since March, the Nashville-based trade organization has taken action to support not only its membership, country music base, and those in the music business at large affected by the ongoing health crisis, and is hosting the webinar as a next step to further aid members of the industry during this challenging time. To register for the webinar, and to learn more about the CMA’s COVID-19 resources, visit cmaworld.com.

CMA is prioritizing three critical needs at this time, which include offering numerous mental health resources, aiding those who are food insecure, and providing human services guidance on career and financial direction. Recent efforts include providing Thanksgiving meals and additional food supplies direct to families in need through Second Harvest and Musically Fed, confirming the addition of music industry families to Salvation Army’s annual Angel Tree program and job opportunities around the Red Kettle campaign, as well as offering career support for music professionals through annual memberships to FlexJobs. Additional companies and organizations CMA has funded include The Store, Music Health Alliance, MusiCares, Pinnacle Financial and Career Spa.

The organization is also currently leading the Music Industry Alliance, a group of more than 20 music organizations and associations each involved in efforts to support music professionals. CMA operates as a connector and facilitator to bring these groups together and maintain structure and organization among all individual recovery efforts as the industry begins to reopen.

“The music industry has been silenced, and our people are currently facing something that no one could have ever anticipated having to deal with,” says Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “What we want most is to communicate to any of our colleagues in need that they can reach out to us for direction and support. The music community, regardless of genre, is in this together, and we are ready and willing to help anyone currently struggling.”

WSM To Air Bob Kingsley’s Countdown Classics

Photo: Courtesy WSM

It was announced today (Dec. 8) that a collection of country radio legend Bob Kingsley’s extensive countdown programming, Bob Kingsley’s Countdown Classics, will air on 650 AM-WSM/Nashville and stream worldwide via wsmonline.com, starting Jan. 2, 2021.

Kingsley, who is a member of the National Radio Hall of Fame and the Country Radio Hall of Fame, passed away on Oct. 17, 2019. Following his passing, his wife Nan Kingsley’s KCCS Productions entered into a multi-year deal with Hubbard Broadcasting to create and syndicate Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40 with Fitz. Hubbard radio personality Fitz was appointed as the permanent host for Bob Kingsley‘s Country Top 40 in Dec. 2019.

“I can think of no better holiday gift for Bob than this announcement,” says Nan Kingsley. “The weekends were always special for Bob and me. We’d wake up, walk the dogs, brew some coffee, sit back and listen to the countdown. Every week he would tell me it was the best show he’d ever done. I am so pleased that our friends at Opry Entertainment Group and WSM are not only giving me the chance to relive those moments, but now his many fans across the globe will be able to tune-in and listen again to these great shows each week. In trying times like these, perhaps Bob’s voice can bring a bit of comfort.”

“We began speaking with Bob & Nan and their team about the chance to bring his archives to WSM-AM last year, before Bob passed,” says WSM Director of Content & Programming J. Patrick Tinnell. “He expressed his desire to be able to end his storied career on the station that the Opry calls home. It was a proposition that caused him to light up. Everyone here at WSM Radio is honored to be able to make Bob’s dream a reality.”

Bob Kingsley’s Countdown Classics will air Saturday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. CT, beginning Jan. 2, 2021.

On The Row: Andrew Jannakos Builds On TikTok Success

Andrew Jannakos. Photo: Matthew Berinato

Georgia-born Andrew Jannakos is among the recent group of viral TikTok stars who are garnering the attention of Nashville labels. Sony Music Nashville announced in November the signing of the talented singer-songwriter to its RCA Nashville imprint, after Jannakos’ breakout single “Gone Too Soon” went viral, at the time having over 10 million views across social media.

Many of Jannakos’ early followers knew him for his run on NBC’s The Voice, but after his girlfriend (now wife), Katie Jannakos, posted a video of him cooking dinner while singing along to “Gone Too Soon” to his TikTok in July 2020, the video racked up 250,000 likes by the next morning, and ultimately earned him more than 700,000 followers on the platform.

@ajannakosI guess cooking and singing have become my thing? ##cooking ##popcountry ##country ##sing ##originalmusic ##burritobowl ##fyp ##foryou ##xyzbca ##GreekFreakOut♬ original sound – Andrew Jannakos

Upon the official release of “Gone Too Soon” to streaming platforms and digital retailers in September, Jannakos debuted at No.1 on Billboard’s Emerging Artist Chart, while the track debuted at No. 12 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart. Now, with a viral hit and a label deal obtained, Jannakos is focused on building on his momentum.

Jannakos grew up in Flowery Branch, Georgia, surrounded by music. His grandfather was a bluegrass player that spent some time playing music with another Georgian, Country Music Hall of Fame member Bill Anderson. Although Jannakos grew up loving music, he didn’t decide to pursue it until his girlfriend encouraged him.

“I was in chorus all through high school, which was amazing because I love to sing, but I was terrified of singing in front of people,” Jannakos said in a recent Zoom visit with MusicRow. “You get out of high school and you kind of have two choices: you can do college or you can just start working. College just wasn’t calling my name, so I just started working as much as I could. I’ve done everything under the dadgum moon. I did restaurant work, construction, landscaping, remodeling homes, and more. But no matter what I was doing, I was listening to music.

“I met my wife four or five years ago, we just got married in September. I never had really done any Instagram stuff until I met her. She was like, ‘I’m not going to let you waste your talent. You’re really good, and I don’t want to see this happen.’ So I listened to her. I started posting covers on Instagram, and soon after, The Voice reached out.”

Jannakos auditioned for season 16 of NBC’s The Voice and was selected to be on Team Adam. When his time at The Voice came to an end, he decided to use the momentum he earned from the show to start building a social media following.

“At the end of it, here comes TikTok,” said Jannakos. “We were doing covers and then we posted a video of ‘Gone Too Soon.’ I was just cooking dinner, listening to a master of the song I had gotten from my producer. My wife was like, ‘I’m going to do a TikTok of this.’ I’m not even going to lie, I fought her on it. I was like ‘No, I don’t think people will like this. I’m just cooking.’ Needless to say, no pun intended, people ate it up.”

Jannakos is now working to fill out his team, taking meetings with publishers, agencies, and more. Andrew Cohen and Anthony Stone of Cohencidence Projects are managing Jannakos. For now, he is focused on writing, making content for his social media community, and eventually moving from Georgia to Nashville.

“It took one post!” Jannakos said. “It’s gotten me to where I am now. We’ve got some songs in the works that we’re really excited about. From here on forward, it’s just time to work. I’m just excited to get to Nashville and meet my people in Nashville and just get to work and see what we can do.”

Leigh Nash Signs Label Deal With Visionary Media Group

Pictured (L-R): Anastasia Brown, Kat Davis, Becky Bushen, Tracy Percival and Leigh Nash. Photo: Tori Ann

Leigh Nash has signed a record deal with multi-dimensional entertainment company Visionary Media Group. She is currently gearing up for a brand new album, slated for a 2021 release.

Front-woman of the famed pop group Sixpence None The Richer, Nash can be heard on iconic and timeless hits like “Kiss Me” which has garnered over 346 million Spotify streams alone, as well as “There She Goes,” among others. The band won numerous awards and accolades throughout their career, including a Billboard Music Award, three Dove Awards, and two Grammy nominations. A native of New Braunfels, Texas, Nash began her music career singing country music and learning old country songs on the guitar when she was just 12 years old, drawing inspiration from the likes of Tanya Tucker and Loretta Lynn.

Leigh Nash. Photo: Courtesy Visionary Media Group

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to partner with Visionary Media Group and their team of esteemed talent among the Nashville and global music communities. I could not ask for a more robust, enthusiastic and brilliant partner to share the hope, unity and beauty that is coming out of my creativity this season,” Nash said. “As I reflect, Sixpence None the Richer and our music together comes with such warm memories and nostalgia and I intend to continue to honor and celebrate that, as those songs and moments mark a place and space in time that is unforgettable to me. My hope is that this new evolution of what I have to offer marks another place and space in time that is unforgettable to those of you who have loved me well along my journey, so far.”

Under the direction of Anastasia Brown, Chief Content Strategist, Tracy Percival, Chief Operations Officer, and Founding Managing Partners Ron Zamber, M.D. and Nick Sciorra, Visionary Media Group, based in Nashville, Tennessee, has engaged a team with over 100 years of expertise in high-level entertainment and digital media initiatives, including in-label operations, music supervision, music publishing, sync licensing, strategic business design, streaming and distributive content platform development, business and legal affairs, and media-technology asset financial modeling.

IBMA Executive Director Paul Schiminger To Retire In May

Paul Schiminger

Paul Schiminger, Executive Director of the International Bluegrass Music Association, is retiring from the organization when his contract ends on May 31, 2021.

Board Chairman Ben Surratt informed IBMA board members of Schiminger’s retirement this week and announced that he would assemble a search committee and engage an executive search firm to assist in finding a new Executive Director.

“When Paul was selected to be our Executive Director in 2015, the organization was in a time of transition,” said Surratt. “He hit the ground running, and brought much-needed, systemic change to many areas of IBMA. There’s no doubt that the organization has flourished under Paul’s leadership; the list of the organization’s accomplishments during his tenure is long. Paul has been a steady hand at the helm for the last 5 and a half years. Paul’s commitment to our music is strong; I know we will benefit from his expertise in many ways in the years to come. Though Paul will be retiring from our organization, I don’t expect to see him disappear from bluegrass. I hope you all will join me in thanking Paul for the tremendous work he has done for IBMA, the IBMA Trust Fund, and the IBMA Foundation.”

During the nearly six years that Schiminger oversaw the organization, the team’s many accomplishments included converting the IBMA to a 501(c)(3) organization; creating greater awareness for IBMA’s Trust Fund and Foundation; increasing awareness of, and programming for, greater diversity and inclusion in bluegrass music; continuing to work with the city of Raleigh, North Carolina to improve and build on IBMA World of Bluegrass; improving IBMA’s visibility and communication through greater online reach; a new website; new e-newsletter; a new membership portal, and more cohesive branding for all events during IBMA World of Bluegrass. Also under his leadership, the organization quickly adapted to COVID-19 by creating an online resource page and streaming calendar for the bluegrass community, mobilizing the IBMA Trust Fund to help those in need during the crisis, and moving the full IBMA World of Bluegrass event onto a virtual platform for the first time, with over 120 sessions, meetings, and performances.

“I was honored and humbled by my selection in early 2015, and I feel more so today knowing the true weight of the responsibilities in my role,” said Schiminger. “It was impossible to foresee the incredible experiences and friendships I have gained throughout this time. I arrived embracing the challenges facing all of us to build upon the IBMA’s successes and make impactful progress to strengthen and move the association forward for even greater future success.  I could not be more proud of the achievements we have all made together. This was a difficult decision, but one I feel is best for my family and me. I also feel this is excellent timing for the IBMA to make a transition to a new Executive Director. I want to make this process a smooth and successful one, so I am offering a six-month notice and will assist in any way possible with the coordination of the search and transition.”

“IBMA World of Bluegrass gives Raleigh the opportunity to host many of the best and most talented bluegrass musicians, fans and industry trailblazers each year, and that is thanks in large part to Paul Schiminger,” said Executive Vice President of Visit Raleigh, Loren Gold. “We will truly miss his strategic vision, collaboration and leadership in planning next year’s conference and festival but wish him the best in his retirement and are confident in the foundation he has set for IBMA’s future success.”