Laura Bell Bundy on How I Met Your Mother

Laura Bell Bundy and Cobie Smulders

On Monday, October 25th, Mercury recording artist Laura Bell Bundy will make her second appearance on the hit CBS show How I Met Your Mother. Bundy will reprise her role as “Becky,” Robin’s (Cobie Smulders) new co-anchor on the fictional news show Come On, Get Up New York!

“I love it! These people are amazing – from the writers, producers, director to the cast and crew,” Bundy enthuses. “They are all very easygoing and they do great work. It’s a harmonious environment. I have felt very welcomed. It’s a lot of fun.”

Bundy, a Tony-nominated actress, is best known for originating the role of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: The Musical. She also appeared as Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray and as Glinda in Wicked. She recently released a country album, Achin’ and Shakin’.

Black The New Red Backstage At CMA Awards

Lady Antebellum being interviewed backstage on CMA's 2009 red carpet.

“Black” will be the new “Red” backstage at the 44th Annual CMA Awards Nov. 10. The CMA Awards Black Carpet presented by Jack Daniel’s will be the official kick-off for “Country Music’s Biggest Night” and portions of the carpet will be auctioned to benefit music education.

“We are thrilled to have Jack Daniel’s partner with us for this year’s Black Carpet,” said Sheri Warnke, CMA Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. “We had such a great experience with them at this year’s CMA Music Festival and we look forward to another successful collaboration.”

“Jack Daniel’s has long played an important role in the lives and songs of country music artists, and the CMA Awards Black Carpet is an exciting way to celebrate these honorees,” said Mark Grindstaff, U.S. Marketing Director for Jack Daniel’s. “The prestige of the CMA Awards and the popularity of Jack Daniel’s go hand-in-hand.”

This year’s Black Carpet will be positioned on Demonbreun Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. Portions of the carpet featuring Jack Daniel’s insignia will be signed by artists and included in the CMA Awards Post Party silent auction to benefit CMA’s Keep the Music Playing, which supports  music education in public schools. The Gibson Foundation has donated a 10-foot Gibson Guitar Les Paul guitar sculpture signed by artists participating in this year’s Awards that will be positioned on the Black Carpet and then also placed in the Post Awards Party silent auction.

Jack Daniel’s will also co-present the CMA Awards Post Party which this year will feature live music and dancing. There will also be intimate lounge areas where party-goers can take a break from the dance floor, a VIP room, delicious delicacies, and a signature Jack Daniel’s beverage.

Tickets for the 2010 CMA Awards can be purchased at Prices begin at $110 for Upper Level.  In 2009, the CMA Awards sold out in advance.

Key A&R Hires at EMI Music Publishing Nashville

Laura Wright

EMI Music Publishing Nashville announced two new hires today: Missy Wilson and Laura Wright. Wilson and Wright join the A&R team led by Ben Vaughn, EMI Music Publishing Executive Vice President and General Manager, Tom Luteran, Vice President of A&R, and Josh Van Valkenburg, Director of A&R.

Missy Wilson

Both Wilson and Wright will work with EMI Music Publishing’s songwriter roster, which includes Rhett Akins, Guy Clark, Kelley Lovelace and Tom Shapiro. They will also be responsible for discovering and developing new talent.

Missy Wilson (formerly Roberts), A&R Director, recently worked with Stage 3 Publishing and Disney Music Publishing. Laura Wright, A&R Manager, was formerly with publishing veteran Bobby Rymer at The Writer’s Den.

Blake Shelton is Up All Night in Los Angeles

Pictured (L to R): Chelsea Handler, Kelly Clarkson, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton

Four-time CMA Award Nominee Blake Shelton threw an all-night party for a capacity crowd at Club Nokia in Los Angeles last night as part of his first-ever headlining tour, All About Tonight Tour. Shelton played hits “Hillbilly Bone” and “All About Tonight” and was joined by fiancee Miranda Lambert for their duet, “Draggin’ the River.”

“You don’t know how nervous I’ve been about performing here in LA,” Shelton told the crowd. “I’m glad that there’s some hillbillies like me out here!” Among the “hillbillies” in the audience were friends Kelly Clarkson and Chelsea Handler.

Shelton will perform on “The 44th Annual CMA Awards,” which airs on Wednesday, Nov. 10 live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on the ABC Television Network.

Pandora Eyes the “Holy Grail” of Radio

In an interview with the L.A. Times Music Blog “Pop & Hiss,” Pandora founder and CEO Tim Westergren talks about future plans for the trailblazing media company.

“Simply put, half of radio listening happens in the car,” Westergren says. “People spend 20 hours a week listening to music; 17 hours of that is from radio. About half of that radio listening, or 8.5 hours, occurs while they’re in a car. So that’s the holy grail.”

Westergren founded Pandora Media in 2000, born out of the Music Genome Project, an experiment that analyzed the attributes of all genres of music. In 2005, he launched Pandora’s Internet Radio, introducing listeners to different bands and songs deemed similar to their designated tastes. After overcoming a near collapse due to the retroactive increase in performance royalties in 2008—alleviated by the subsequent reduction in fees after the successful SaveNetRadio campaign—Pandora conquered the mobile world, garnering over 40 million listeners on mobile devices alone.

In addition to enabling Pandora for over 200 unique devices, including Blu-ray players and flat-screen TVs, Westergren told the L.A. Times that the company is “actively developing” products with car manufacturers. He mentioned Ford and Mercedes and after-market stereo companies such as Pioneer, stating that the goal is to “be in every new car that rolls off the  manufacturing line.”

What does this mean for terrestrial radio? Well, Westergren touts a better listener experience, pointing out that Pandora has 45 seconds of advertising—three 15-second commercials—every hour, while broadcast radio typically has 12-14 minutes of ads per hour. While Pandora is currently a free streaming service, users can opt into a subscription service at $3 per month, allowing them to bypass ads and benefit from a higher-quality stream. At this time, Westergren admits that “only a tiny number of people subscribe,” and that the majority of the 48 million Pandora users are exposed to advertising.

Westergren stresses the easily customizable aspect of his product, opening the door for local businesses to advertise. “When ad buyers think of the Internet, they think it has to be national. But that’s not necessarily true. Every ad we do can be narrowed by age, gender, ZIP Code and musical taste.”

While Pandora could be viewed as a threat to terrestrial and satellite radio advertising revenue, Westergren believes that Internet radio is actually helping artists and labels. “For years, broadcast radio collected billions of dollars every year in advertising. Almost none of it goes to the labels, and a small amount of it goes to composers. It was the biggest part of the music business, and all the money was quarantined from the rest of the industry. Every hour that goes from broadcast radio to Internet radio means more money for artists. That’s because Internet radio, unlike broadcast, pays performance royalties [to recording artists as well as songwriters. Over the air radio is not required to pay royalties to bands that recorded the music.] Last year, we made $50 million in revenue, and $30 million of that went to [recording] artists.”

Westergren says that users of Internet radio tend to purchase more music—43% of Pandora users purchase more music than they did before they signed up, while only 1% purchase less music. “We’re promotional, not substitutional.”

So, what does this mean for broadcast radio? Video didn’t succeed in killing the radio star, but it remains to be seen what Internet radio can do, once it’s available in our cars.

Weekly Chart Report (10/22/10)

Mercury's Easton Corbin (R) at the KSSN/Little Rock studios with morning man Bob Robbins (L).

His latest album Charleston SC 1966 was released last week, and Darius Rucker’s “Come Back Song” is still the CountryBreakout Chart’s No. 1 song for a fifth consecutive week. Taylor Swift’s new album Speak Now streets next Tuesday (10/25), and its first single “Mine” is perched at No. 2. Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue” slips slightly to No. 3, followed by The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” and Rascal Flatts’ “Why Wait.”

It’s still a very tight chart, with Justin Moore’s “How I Got To Be This Way” the only new song in the Top 10 and Tim McGraw’s “Felt Good On My Lips” the only new entry to the Top 20. But that should be changing soon, as a group of superstar singles is rapidly climbing through the 20s. Toby Keith’s “Bullets In The Gun” moves 26-22 after a gain of 271 spins, followed by Lady Antebellum’s “Hello World” at No. 25, and Blake Shelton’s “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking” at No. 26.

As older singles begin to drop out of sight, space should start to open up for the latest releases. Look for chart appearances soon from Ashley Gearing’s “What Do You Think About Us,” Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Country Strong,” The Dirt Drifters’ “Something Better,” and Josh Turner’s “I Wouldn’t Be A Man.”

Frozen Playlists: KYEZ, WBRF, WCMS, WHWK, WOGT, WPPL

Upcoming Singles
October 25
Todd O’Neill/Cry No Mississippi/Aria
Lee Brice/Beautiful Every Time/Curb
Matt Gary/I’m Just Sayin’/17/Quarterback
Josh Turner/I Wouldn’t Be A Man/MCA

November 1
Randy Rogers Band/Steal You Away/MCA

•  •  •  •  •

Josh Abbott recently visited KPLX/Dallas. The Josh Abbott Band is currently on their "Set The World On Fire" tour and promoting their new single "Oh Tonight." (L-R): KPLX’s Paul Koffy and Abbott.

New On The Chart—Debuting This Week
Artist/song/label — chart pos.
Kenny Chesney/Somewhere With You/BNA — 64
Lucy Angel/Only Woman Left/GForce — 77
Scott Lindsey/Get To Her In A Hurry/Gray Trailer — 78
Margaret Durante/Mississippi’s Cryin’/Emrose/Nine North — 79
Ken Domash/Ding Dang Darn It/Thunder Mountain/Spinville — 80

Greatest Spin Increase
Artist/song/label — spin+
Kenny Chesney/Somewhere With You/BNA — 402
Toby Keith/Bullets In The Gun/Show Dog – Universal — 271
Billy Currington/Let Me Down Easy/Mercury — 256
Tim McGraw/Felt Good On My Lips/Curb — 241
Little Big Town/Kiss Goodbye/Capitol — 241

On Deck—Soon To Be Charting
Artist/song/label — spins
Chris Filer/John Deere, John 3:16/Lofton Creek — 180
Braden Gray/A Little Less Lonely/ATP Records — 156
Ashley Gearing/What Do You Think About Us/Curb — 149
Gwyneth Paltrow/Country Strong/RCA — 148
The Dirt Drifters/Something Better/WMN — 148

Two Week Most Added*
Artist/song/label — New adds
Kenny Chesney/Somewhere With You/BNA — 32
Little Big Town/Kiss Goodbye/Capitol — 18
Billy Currington/Let Me Down Easy/Mercury — 13
The Dirt Drifters/Something Better/WMN — 12
Braden Gray/A Little Less Lonely/ATP — 11
Jerrod Niemann/What Do You Want/Sea Gayle/Arista — 10
Josh Turner/I Wouldn’t Be A Man/MCA — 10

Gwen Sebastian and Margaret Durante On the Road

Gwen Sebastian has been “road tripping” introducing media gatekepers to her music. A week ago she sang at Nevada Wild Fest in Las Vegas joining artists such as Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers and Lonestar. Wayne Newton served as host. Sebastian also performed on KTNV-TV’s morning show, The Morning Blend. The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently said, “her EP shows a sweet voice and penchant for self-consciously clever turns of phrases.”

(L-R) Idaho Falls, Idaho KTHK's PD/MD Dale Desmond, Gwen Sebastian and Dale's wife, Melinda Desmond.

(L-R) WQYK's Jay Roberts enjoys a ride with Margaret Durante.

Emrose/Stroudvarious/Nine North recording artist Margaret Durante takes the wheel with WQYK’s Jay Roberts (to her left) as she continues her radio tour in support of her new single “Mississippi’s Crying”.

Montgomery Gentry Builds Playground

2010 Home Depot Humanitarian Award winners Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry helped build a playground at the Booker T. Washington Academy in Lexington, KY. They teamed up with over 250 volunteers from Home Depot, The Academy of Country Music, KaBOOM! and community supporters to complete the entire playground on October 20th.

KaBOOM! is a national nonprofit with a mission to create great playspaces through the participation and leadership of communities.

Nashville Lands 73rd National Folk Festival

The National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) announced that the 73rd National Folk Festival will take place Labor Day Weekend (September 2-4, 2011) in Nashville, TN. The NCTA made this announcement with Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Compass Records Group on October 20th.

Nationally known as one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious celebrations of traditional music and culture, The National Folk Festival will take place in downtown Nashville from 2011-2013. This event is free to the public and is expected to draw upwards of 100,000 people to Nashville, with a projected economic impact of $10-15 million for the city.

“You can’t have too much live music in Music City,” Mayor Dean said. “The National Folk Festival is going to be a great addition to the music festivals already held in Nashville. It’s a chance to display not only the traditional cultures and art of our city, but also the growing diversity of musical genres that call Nashville home.”

The NCTA created the National Folk Festival in 1934 and is presenting the 2011 event in partnership with Nashville’s local National Folk Festival group, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville, the Community Foundation, the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and the Compass Records Group.

Braddock Helps Fete Legendary Newsman

(L-R) Bobby Braddock and Bob Schieffer.

Songwriter Bobby Braddock made a special appearance on Friday (10/15) to honor legendary CBS newsman, Bob Schieffer at the National Press Club’s annual Fourth Estate Award Dinner. Schieffer was honored for his lifetime contribution to American Journalism.

Appropriately Schieffer, a native Texan and avid country music fan chose country music as a theme for the event, which featured a reception, dinner and roast, with entertainment from Braddock’s catalog including “He Stopped Loving Her Today”. The band Honkey Tonk Confidential accompanied Braddock as well as Scheffer, who also stepped in to perform songs of his own.

Among others in attendance were Schieffer’s wife Pat, Sen. Lindsey Graham, former senator Sam Nunn, CBS News President Sean McManus, former White House Press Corp reporter Helen Thomas and syndicated columnists David Broder, and William Raspberry.