Charlie Cook On Air

iHeartRadio v. Pandora

I did not go to the iHeartRadio concert last month in Las Vegas. It would have been fun, and I doubt that anyone will ever put together a show this big again. However, I did read plans are already in place for next year.

You all noticed that it was a RADIO company that was able to pull it off, right? Okay, it was the on-line version of the RADIO company. I read that it cost $10 million but over 10 million people logged on and/or downloaded the new app. It seems to me Clear Channel got a great return for the marketing money.

I do not work for Clear Channel. I have never worked for Clear Channel. But I am pulling for Clear Channel to successfully blunt Pandora. I know that at least half of the people reading this article could not care less who wins this battle because a pipe is a pipe is a pipe.

But that is not true. The obvious advantage that Clear Channel has is that they also have about 1000 radio stations in their stable. They have thousands of boots on the ground. They have long-standing relationships with artists and record company representatives. Clear Channel is in it for the long haul.

They have the ability to impact music on their hundreds of music radio stations. Let’s think about that for a minute. If there are 5 million people using the “create your own station” on iHeartRadio, is that information being made available to their stations? I hope so. I hope that someone will say, “Here is some research about what songs are being marked positive or negative across the platform.”

We know that listeners and viewers are using everything at their disposal when looking for media. I watch HBO GO and Netflix on my Android phone. I use, IHeartRadio, TuneIn Radio and read the Wall Street Journal on my tablet.

We’re not tied to the standard radio any longer but we’re still listening to the radio. I am always going to lean to the players who think enough about the industry to include ‘radio’ in their name. It is NOT a small thing.

Everything at the recent National Association of Radio meeting in Chicago was digital. Bob Pittman, the new CEO of Clear Channel, gave an enthusiastic defense of radio versus Pandora at the meeting. The irony is that this was less than 10 days before Clear Channel touted their digital Pandora fighter in Las Vegas.

I want there to be no question that I see the irony but no hypocrisy. Clear Channel’s foray into that field is a defensive move as much as an attempt to build a new business. Radio should be behind Clear Channel in this effort.

I do not want to give Clear Channel an in against my radio stations. If I compete against a Clear Channel station in market X I am not going to run ads for IHeartRadio, but I would not be running ads for Pandora either. As an aside, do you ever wonder why over the air TV stations run ads for HBO? And then wonder why the audience for over the air TV has decreased year after year? I digress.

Those of us involved in radio or the record industry have a challenge every day to be the most entertaining, most compelling choice for the consumer. Newcomer Casey James is not jealous of Keith Urban (okay bad choice…we’re all jealous of Keith Urban). Casey knows that he has to work hard and find the best music, get out and see station personnel and work his way up the charts.

I have clients that compete directly with Clear Channel stations. I am not jealous or afraid of what these stations do with IHeartRadio. What we try to do is produce a better terrestrial radio station. What we try to do is build websites that are attractive to the listeners. We try to offer information and entertainment that they listeners want.

The bottom line for Clear Channel and all radio stations is that we have the bullhorn. Radio is the big guy in this space. I have an example where David is really Goliath.

A lot of manufacturers have made a run at the iPad. Most have fallen by the wayside: HP, Samsung, Motorola, etc. Why would Amazon think they can make a dent in Apple?

“Amazon has an advantage that other tablet manufacturers don’t have in that millions of people already visit its site on a regular basis,” said Evercore Partners analyst Ken Sena, in the Sept. 28 Wall Street Journal.

Radio has that same advantage over Pandora. It is just that until recently radio companies failed to provide an attractive alternative. It is now in the field. CBS radio will surely come with something similar in the coming months and then some entrepreneur will build something for smaller companies.

But behind it all, the 295 million people who listen to radio each week will know about it.

Curb Records Promotes John Ozier

John Ozier

John Ozier has been upped to VP A&R for Curb Records. He joined the label in 2002 and during his career has placed hits with Lee Brice, Tim McGraw, Heidi Newfield, Clay Walker, Rodney Atkins, LeAnn Rimes, Wynonna and Natalie Grant.

Curb Chairman Mike Curb announced Ozier’s promotion from his former post as Director of A&R. “We’re proud to promote John to VP of A&R,” says Curb. “He’s worked in several divisions of the label and has always shown exemplary leadership skills.”

“I am honored and thrilled that Mike Curb has given me the opportunity to run the A&R Department at a record company that has been successful for over 50 years,” adds Ozier. “We have such a great roster and I look forward to working with every single artist.”

Major Hit Parade

Bentley’s Not The Only One Who Wants To Have Fun
Eight years to the day after his first single “What Was I Thinkin'” claimed the No. 1 spot, Dierks Bentley and co-writers Jim Beavers and Jon Randall were feted by ASCAP and BMI for the success of their chart-topping single “Am I The Only One.” The Sept. 27 party was held on the deck of popular watering hole Loser’s. It is Bentley’s eighth No. 1 and the first single off his upcoming sixth Capitol Nashville studio project.

(L-R): Sony/ATV Publishing’s Terry Wakefield, co-writer Jim Beavers, Dierks Bentley, Wrensong Music’s Ree Guyer Buchanan, co-writer and producer Jon Randall, ASCAP’s Mike Sistad and BMI’s Clay Bradley. Photo: Eric England


Atkins Takes Back Road To Big Hit
Curb Records’ Rodney Atkins scored his sixth No. 1 with “Take A Back Road” recently. Downloads of the track were already past the 600,000 mark when he released the album of the same name this week. For the project, he re-teamed with producer Ted Hewitt. BMI saluted the writers of “Take A Back Road,” Luke Laird and Rhett Akins, who penned the song during their first co-writing session together, resulting in the seventh chart-topper for both.

(L-R): BMI’s Jody Williams, Curb Records’ Kelly Lynn Janson, co-writer Rhett Akins, Rodney Atkins, co-writer Luke Laird, Curb Records’ Mike Curb, producer Ted Hewitt, EMI Music Publishing’s Tom Luteran, and Universal Music Publishing’s Pat Higdon and Kent Earls. Photo: Rick Diamond


Bryan’s Gold Night In Georgia
During last night’s Farm Tour show in Statesboro, Ga., Luke Bryan was surprised in front of a crowd of over 8,000 fans with a Gold plaque for his current album tailgates & tanlines. He also received a plaque for his first Platinum single— the album’s lead smash hit “Country Girl (Shake It For Me),” which Bryan co-wrote with fellow Georgian Dallas Davidson.

(L-R): Red Light Management’s Kerri Edwards, songwriter Dallas Davidson, Bryan, Capitol Records Nashville Director of Marketing Dustin Eichten, producer Jeff Stevens, Red Light’s Waylon Weatherholt

[updated] Keith Case & Associates Rebrands with New Name

Keith Case & Associates, the well-known talent agency representing some of the biggest names in bluegrass, Americana, roots, songwriting and indie rock, is now known as KCA Artists. Owner Keith Case explains, “We’ve been known as ‘KCA’ for years. With this change, we are making it official and have created an updated image that reinforces the brand.”

The new name reflects how the company has grown since its inception more than 30 years ago. “In the early days, we were known for bluegrass music,” says Case. “Today we run the gamut—we still have bluegrass clients, but we are also representing the very best talent in many different styles of music. The lines of these genres cross, yet the agency has remained solid, changing to reflect what our industry looks like today.”

Case started his career in Denver and relocated to Nashville in 1982. As a talent agent, manager and/or promoter he has represented famed musicians including the late Townes Van Zandt, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Robert Earl Keen.

KCA Artists’ current roster includes Guy Clark, Nashville Bluegrass Band, The Seldom Scene, Jesse Winchester, Suzy Bogguss, Sierra Hull & Highway 111, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Matraca Berg, The SteelDrivers, Billy Joe Shaver, Steep Canyon Rangers, Matrimony, Ralph Stanley, The Farewell Drifters, Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, the Fairfield Four and many others.

Case also praises his staff: “We feel that we have the strongest team in the agency’s history. As the industry changes and evolves, we grow with it while remaining steadfast.” On board are agents Logan Bosemer, John Everhart and Lee Olsen; GM and artist manager Claire Armbruster; contract administrator Marilee Chipoletti; and agent assistants Jessi Shores and Brian Solomon.

KCA Artists can be reached at 1025 17th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37212 and (615) 327-4646.

Eric Church, Brett Eldredge, Jason Sturgeon

Eric Church

Eric Church’s new video showcases his fans and live show. “Drink In My Hand,” written with Michael Heeney and Luke Laird, was inspired by Church’s fans, so fittingly he taped the video at a concert in Council Bluffs, Iowa with director Peter Zavadil. See it here. Church has played more than 1,000 shows since he began touring in 2006. One devoted fan, Aaron R. Shriver, recently attended his 100th Church show, where the star presented him a guitar on stage.

In more Church news, he and wife Katherine welcomed their first child, Boone McCoy Church, on Mon., Oct. 3 in Nashville, weighing 7 lbs. and 11 oz.

Brett Eldredge

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Brett Eldredge’s new web series “Couch Sessions” features the singer doing acoustic performances in various locations, such as the recent one shot at Steeplechase. In the new installment he sings “Lose It All,” written with Brad Crisler.

Jason Sturgeon on set.

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Jason Sturgeon‘s new video “The Cover” debuted with 19,000 first-week views, to be the largest video debut ever on The autobiographical song is inspired by the Bible that his mother gave him when he was a teenager. He shot the video in his hometown Petersburg, Indiana with director Flick Wilshire.


Superstar Returns To CMA Awards Stage

Faith Hill

The star-packed lineup for The 45th Annual CMA Awards shines even brighter with today’s announcement that Faith Hill will give her first performance on “Country Music’s Biggest Night” in five years. Hill will debut the new single from her forthcoming album due out early next year.

Hill has won three CMA Awards, including Female Vocalist (2000), Music Video (1998 for “This Kiss”), and Vocal Event of the Year (1997 for “It’s Your Love” with husband Tim McGraw). Her last performance on the CMA Awards was in 2006. Her last appearance at the event was in 2009, when she co-presented the Entertainer of the Year Award with McGraw.

The 45th Annual CMA Awards, hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, airs live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Wednesday, Nov. 9 (8:00-11:00 PM/ET) on the ABC Television Network. Previously announced performers include Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban, plus Paisley and Underwood in their first live televised-performance of their No. 1 song “Remind Me.”

The Hot Seat Launches

Webster and Associates has added a new division called The Hot Seat, specializing in satellite media tours, and national radio promotions. Here’s the staffers:

Jason Turner, Vice President of Radio Services—Turner will oversee all national radio promotion efforts involving terrestrial and nationally syndicated programs. Turner spent 10 years in terrestrial radio with companies like Cumulus and Clear Channel. Before joining the company he served as General Manager of Impact Radio Networks in Nashville, where he oversaw the daily operations of syndicated radio programming. [email protected] or (615) 690-7384

Brittni Talley, Vice President of Television Services—Talley will head up the television division, overseeing satellite media tour booking and coordination with regional, national, and syndicated outlets. Originally from Illinois, she has spent the past two years in Nashville coordinating regional and national publicity for numerous events and festivals. [email protected] or (615) 690-7386

Kelli Reiff, Sr. Director Television Booking—Reiff joins the team specializing in national television bookings, bringing experience from her previous positions with The Ellen DeGeneres Show as a member of the Human Interest Department, and E! Entertainment where she served as Talent Coordinator. [email protected] or (615) 690-7388

Garrett Mathison will work primarily within the radio division assisting promotion efforts. The Indiana native is a recent graduate from Millikin University. [email protected] or (615) 690-7385

Aldean Will Party Into 2012

CMA Entertainer of the Year nominee Jason Aldean’s My Kinda Party Tour will party on into 2012, with several new tour stops scheduled beginning in January. Aldean’s friend Capitol Records artist Luke Bryan will join the tour as special guest. The only date announced so far is Feb. 24 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, which sold out in minutes.

“I never want this year to end,” said Aldean. “This has been the best year of my career, and our shows just keep getting bigger and better, so we’re just going to take the party on into the new year. Luke and I are really good friends…we hang out on our off days, we hunt and fish together, and we love to play music to our fans. It’s gonna be a blast.”

Aldean is currently finishing up the Fall leg of his 2011 My Kinda Party Tour, with the final show scheduled for October 28 in San Diego, Ca. During his break from touring, Aldean will perform on the CMA Awards Nov. 9, where he is tied for the most nominations with five.

First announced cities on 2012 My Kinda Party Tour:
Cedar Falls, IA
Champaign, IL
Charlottesville, VA
Dayton, OH
East Rutherford, NJ
Fayetteville, NC
Green Bay, WI
Greenville, SC
Huntsville, AL
Jonesboro, AR
Kansas City, MO
Nashville, TN — Feb. 24 @ Bridgestone Arena
Oklahoma City, OK
Orlando, FL
St. Paul, MN
Tupelo, MS
Wichita, KS

New Nashville Developments Nurture Artists

Artist rendering of the Ryman Lofts.

A groundbreaking ceremony for Nashville’s first affordable community designed for artists was held downtown yesterday (10/5). The Ryman Lofts are scheduled to open in 2012, and will include 60 apartments for a range of creative types. The $5.289 million endeavor will include meeting spaces that are conducive to artistic endeavors. A focus group of local artists helped with the design.

The idea for Ryman Lofts grew from the Music City Music Council, which recognized that making quality affordable urban housing available to emerging artists can spur small business development, reduce transportation demands and nurture the city’s creative workforce. The architect is Smith-Gee Studio and the contractor is R.G. Anderson.

“Nashville is known around the world for the work of our creative community and each year more people move here to Music City to pursue careers in the arts,” Mayor Karl Dean said at the groundbreaking. “The Ryman Lofts speak directly to the uniqueness of the Music City identity and will continue to help cultivate the city’s culturally rich and diverse community by creating affordable urban housing opportunities for artists.”

Entertaining the crowd was The Collective, an a cappella group made up of some of Nashville’s independent singer-songwriters currently competing on NBC’s The Sing-Off.

The Ryman Lofts are part of the Rolling Mill Hill neighborhood, which also includes the Historic Trolley Barns, an 80,000 sq. ft. space being renovated for non-profit and creative companies. Moving in will be Emma, the Center for Nonprofit Management, Hands On Nashville, The Entrepreneur Center, Centric Architects and Metro Development Housing Authority, some as early as this year.

The Entrepreneur Center recently received a $2.5 million grant from the Economic Development Administration—the largest EDA grant in state history—for its renovation of Trolley Barn #1, a 22,000 sq. ft. facility that will house 72 incubation spaces, education facilities, office space, expected to launch 40 to 70 companies annually.

Rolling Mill Hill already includes the Art Deco, Victorian, Metro Building and Nance Place apartments.

Rendering of the Historic Trolley Barns.

Loeb & Loeb Expands Entertainment Practice

John Strohm

Loeb & Loeb LLP has added attorney John P. Strohm to its Nashville office as senior counsel in the Music Industry Practice. He has extensive experience negotiating agreements related to music publishing, recording, distribution and emerging media, including numerous transactions with major and independent record labels and music publishers.

Loeb & Loeb’s Nashville office was founded more than 15 years ago by John T. Frankenheimer. “John’s experience as a recording and touring artist will greatly inform his work for our clients based in Nashville and around the world,” says Frankenheimer. “Our team in Nashville is poised to handle almost any legal or business matter that arises in the music industry and John will be a great asset to that practice, as well as becoming an integral part of our national entertainment and media practice.”

Strohm joins Loeb & Loeb from Alabama-based Johnston Barton Proctor & Rose LLP, where he practiced in the firm’s Business and Tax Group. In addition to his music practice, Strohm handles a range of intellectual property, real estate, and general corporate matters for an array of clients. He graduated from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and went to law school at Samford University.