Sony Music Publishing Rebrands, Revitalizes Mission

The Sony Music Publishing name has returned after 25 years, introducing a new brand identity with a redesigned logo and revitalized mission.

Driven by the leadership of Chairman & CEO Jon Platt, the renewal of the Sony Music Publishing name signifies the company’s desire to identify as “A Creative Entertainment Company with a Solid Foundation of Technology.”

The refreshed logo is designed as an abstraction of sound waves—with resonance and vibrations that express infinitely expanding opportunities for songwriters. Complementing the symbol, the Sony Music Publishing ethos is ‘every voice matters’, elevating the vision and goals of songwriters.

Sony/ATV was established in 1995 through a joint venture with Michael Jackson that brought together the original Sony Music Publishing with Jackson’s ATV Music. Jackson had acquired ATV Music, which owned the Northern Songs catalogue, in 1985. Northern Songs owned the rights to all the songs that John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote during their time with the Beatles. In 2016, Sony acquired the Michael Jackson Estate’s 50% share of Sony/ATV making it a wholly owned Sony company.

Sony Music Publishing Chairman and CEO Platt commented, “Sony Music Publishing has always embraced the power of songwriting to connect cultures and bring people together. Since its inception, Sony Music Publishing has supported the careers of songwriters and continues to defend their rights. Returning to the Sony Music Publishing name reconnects us to our legacy and further unifies our mission and culture with the Sony Corporation. Our new brand embodies a modern vision to be an authentic reflection of the music and songwriters we represent.”

Sony Music Publishing Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston spoke to MusicRow about the rebrand and its implications for the company’s Nashville presence.

“Jon Platt came in as a new Chairman and CEO 18 months ago, and he has done such an incredibly terrific job at transforming the entire company’s culture,” Gaston tells MusicRow. “Part of this rebrand is breathing a fresh and new life into what he has done to this company in general; making the focus on relationships and service. When he came in, he was very vocal about wanting this company to be the destination for the world’s greatest songwriters. This rebranding is a natural evolution of the way he is transforming this company and it’s all incredibly positive.”

Gaston, who is also newly at the helm of Sony Music Publishing’s Nashville office, is excited about the company refresh.

“It’s really exciting because I’m brand new here as well. I’ve only been here a year and I walked in with the same passion and enthusiasm that Jon Platt did for the company overall. It was about making the focus of this Nashville office to be on one-on-one relationships with songwriters and about us providing hands-down, the very best service the songwriter could possibly get in Nashville.”

He says that the Sony Music Publishing Nashville office is getting a refresh as well, with the space being renovated.

“I am incredibly excited about when we come out of this pandemic, not only are we going back into a new Sony Music Publishing campus on Music Row, but it’s going to be completely renovated and it’s going to be the actual destination that songwriters want to come to.”

Gaston sums, “It’s a new culture and in Nashville, we’re going to have a brand new space.”

Kane Brown, Sony Music Nashville Launch 1021 Entertainment

Pictured (L-R): Zach Beeken, Garrett Nichols, Colton Pack, and Kane Brown. Photo: Matthew Berinato

Kane Brown and Sony Music Nashville have launched a new record label, 1021 Entertainment, with Restless Road as the first signing. The trio comprised of Zach Beeken, Colton Pack and Garrett Nichols have released their first single via the joint venture, “Took One Look At Her Momma.”

Brown has been mentoring the group for some time, including take them on the road as openers on his Worldwide Beautiful Tour.

Said Brown, “I want to give people chances to succeed. With 1021 Entertainment, I feel like we have a platform and team that can mentor and build up talent in country music. With my own label, I want to use it as an opportunity to shape and promote artists that may not have gotten a chance otherwise, for Restless Road and others in the future.”

“We are excited to welcome Restless Road to the Sony Music Nashville roster. Colton, Zach, and Garrett each bring undeniable talent, dedication, and innovation to this trio. It has also been rewarding to collaborate on this project with Kane and watch him mentor and advise as a label partner in ways only a superstar artist can,” said Margaret Tomlin, Sony Music Nashville Director, A&R.

Restless Road’s self-titled debut EP (released in February 2020 by Sony) was produced by Dann Huff and co-producer Lindsay Rimes. The trio, which is signed to Sony Music Publishing, co-wrote three of the four songs with a roster of hit-making collaborators.

Reservoir Signs Brooke Eden to Worldwide Publishing Deal [Exclusive]

Pictured (L-R): Chandler Cunningham (Reservoir Creative Coordinator), Brian O’Neil (Brooke Eden’s manager, Constellation Management), Brooke Eden, John Ozier (Reservoir EVP Creative), Greg Gallo (Reservoir VP Creative). Photo: Haley Crow

Reservoir announces the signing of country singer-songwriter Brooke Eden to a worldwide publishing deal. The deal includes Eden’s future works and most notably a trio of new singles including “No Shade,” which was released on Friday (Feb. 5).

“I had one Zoom meeting with the Reservoir team and just knew they had to be my new publishing family!” says Eden. “Working with [Reservoir VP, Creative] Greg Gallo in the past through co-writes, I knew his passion for songs and songwriters, and I knew I needed that fire from my publishing team. Then I met [Reservoir EVP, Creative] John Ozier and he put the icing on the cake. This team is fierce, and we all love what we do so much that it makes the whole creative process a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see what we will accomplish together!”

Ozier adds, “Brooke is a powerful storyteller, and it is an honor to support her creatively as she shares new music with the world. We are so happy to add her remarkable talent to the Reservoir roster.”

Eden also recently announced her partnership with Brian O’Neil‘s newly formed Constellation Management & Consulting company.

ACM Announces Radio Awards Nominees for 56th Awards

The Academy of Country Music is announcing today (Feb. 9) its Radio Awards nominees for the 56th ACM Awards, including double nominations for KATI-FM in Jefferson City, MO, KKNU-FM in Eugene, OR; KNIX-FM in Phoenix, AZ; KSOP-FM in Salt Lake City, UT; KUZZ-AM/FM in Bakersfield, CA; KXKT-FM in Omaha, NE; WQDR-FM in Raleigh, NC; and WXBQ-FM in Bristol, VA.

The Radio Awards winners will be announced ahead of the 56th ACM Awards in April. The 56th Academy Of Country Music Awards will broadcast live on Sunday, April 18 (8:00-11:00 PM ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network and will stream live and on demand on CBS All Access.

Two MusicRow reporting panel stations are among the nominees, WPAP’s ‘Dr.’ Shane Collins and Tess Connell for Small Market On-Air Personality of the Year, and WCOW in Sparta, WI for Small Market Station of the Year.

The full list of 56th ACM Awards nominations will be announced in the coming weeks.

56th ACM Radio Awards nominees are:

NATIONAL ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Big D and Bubba – Big D and Bubba
Cody Alan – CMT After MidNite
Kix Brooks – American Country Countdown with Kix Brooks
Lorianne Crook, Charlie Chase – The Crook & Chase Countdown
Paul Koffy, Jasmine Sadry, Josh Jensen – Morning Koffy

ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR – MAJOR MARKET
Broadway – WDRQ-FM, Detroit, MI
Chris Carr & Company – Chris Carr, Kia Becht – KEEY-FM, Minneapolis, MN
McKaila Poppen Double-L – Lois Lewis – KNIX-FM, Phoenix, AZ
Tanner in the Morning – Rob Tanner – WSOC-FM, Charlotte, NC
Catherine Lane, Chris Allen, Captain Jim
The Morning Bull – George, Mo, Cowboy Dave – KILT-FM, Houston, TX

ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR – LARGE MARKET
Dave & Deb – Dave Gunderson, Deb Turpin – KSOP-FM, Salt Lake City, UT
Lexi & Banks – Lexi Papadopoulos, Jared Banks – KUBL-FM, Salt Lake City, UT
Mad Dawg – WQDR-FM, Raleigh, NC
Obie & Ashley – Obie Diaz, Ashley Morrison – WWKA-FM, Orlando, FL
The Wake Up Call – Kelli Green, David Bugenske – KFRG-FM, Riverside/San Bernardino, CA

ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR – MEDIUM MARKET
Buzz Jackson – KIIM-FM, Tucson, AZ
Geoff Emery – KUZZ AM/FM, Bakersfield, CA
Mo & StyckMan – WUSY-FM, Chattanooga, TN
Scott & Sarah in the Morning – Scott Wynn, Sarah Kay – WQMX-FM, Akron, OH
Steve Lundy & Gina Melton – KXKT-FM, Omaha, NE

ON-AIR PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR – SMALL MARKET
Barrett, Fox & Berry – Bill Barrett, Tim Fox, Tracy Berry – KKNU-FM, Eugene, OR
Dr. Shane and Tess in the Morning – ‘Dr.’ Shane Collins – WPAP-FM, Panama City, FL
Tess Connell
Erin and Matt In The Morning – Erin Hart, Matt Sharp – KATI-FM, Jefferson City, MO
Steve, Ben and Nikki – Steve Stroud, Ben Walker, and Nikki Thomas – WXBQ-FM, Bristol, VA
The Philip Gibbons Show – Philip Gibbons – WGSQ-FM, Cookeville, TN

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR – MAJOR MARKET
KKBQ-FM – Houston, TX
KNIX-FM – Phoenix, AZ
KSON-FM – San Diego, CA
WKLB-FM – Boston, MA
WXTU-FM – Philadelphia, PA

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR – LARGE MARKET
KSOP-FM – Salt Lake City, UT
KNCI-FM – Sacramento, CA
WDSY-FM – Pittsburgh, PA
WSIX-FM – Nashville, TN
WQDR-FM – Raleigh, NC

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR – MEDIUM MARKET
KSKS-FM – Fresno, CA
KUZZ-AM/FM – Bakersfield, CA
KXKT-FM – Omaha, NE
WHKO-FM – Dayton, OH
WIVK-FM – Knoxville, TN

RADIO STATION OF THE YEAR – SMALL MARKET
KATI-FM – Jefferson City, MO
KCLR-FM- Columbia, MO
KKNU-FM – Eugene, OR
WCOW-FM – Sparta, WI
WXBQ-FM – Bristol, VA

Rhonda Vincent Inducted Into Grand Ole Opry

Rhonda Vincent. Photo: Chris Hollo for Grand Ole Opry

Rhonda Vincent became an official member of the Grand Ole Opry Saturday night (Feb. 6) with Opry member Dierks Bentley doing the honors. Vincent’s invitation was first delivered in February of 2020 by Opry member Jeannie Seely, and she was originally supposed to be inducted on March 24, 2020, prior to the pandemic.

“It’s been 343 days, seven hours, three minutes and five seconds,” Rhonda said laughing, sharing how many days it had been since the Opry invitation came last year. “This is a night I will never forget and will cherish the rest of my life. I am proof that dreams really do come true.”

“I’ll never forget the night that our mutual friend Marty Stuart made me an official member of the Opry and I’m so pleased to get to do the same for you tonight,” said Bentley during the induction. “Rhonda, you are now an official member of the Grand Ole Opry! I know you will carry the Opry banner proudly wherever you go.”

Rhonda Vincent performs Merle Haggard’s “Momma Tried” with Dierks Bentley. Photo: Chris Hollo for Grand Ole Opry

“It’s great to have the supremely talented and very patient Rhonda Vincent as an official Opry member,” added Dan Rogers, Vice President and Executive Producer, Grand Ole Opry. “She brings with her countless fans, industry respect, and heartfelt passion for keeping the Opry vibrant and entertaining for generations to come. We look forward to Rhonda spending the rest of her career with us as part of the Opry family.”

Additional performers during the special evening included Opry members Riders In The Sky, Jeannie Seely, and Mark Wills as well as special guests Don Schlitz and Parker McCollum, who made his Grand Ole Opry debut.

Emmylou Harris Inks With Sheltered Music Publishing

Emmylou Harris

Emmylou Harris has signed a long-term administration deal to the newly formed independent publishing company, Sheltered Music, a division of All Clear Music, LLC.

Harris has been awarded 14 Grammy awards, the Polar Music Prize, a NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award and her induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

“We are honored and consider it a rare privilege to represent Emmylou Harris’ music,” said Sheltered Music’s EVP Darrell Franklin. “Her iconic contributions to country music are documented and celebrated by fans everywhere, and her songwriting has been a cornerstone to quality that continues to inspire.”

“There is no one more passionate about the song or more committed to the songwriter than Lance [Freed]” Harris said. “ I am so grateful to have him not only as my publisher, but as a longtime friend.”

Said Freed, “She is the embodiment of all things good about music and great songwriting. We all owe her a huge debt of gratitude, and we are extremely proud to represent her songs.”

Sheltered Music is the Nashville Division of All Clear Music. LLC. In its first year, the company has completed deals with music icons Burt Bacharach and Rodney Crowell, and has established a creative development partnership with superstar producer, Dann Huff.

Brett Young Peaks On CountryBreakout Radio Chart

Brett Young’s “Lady” reaches the chart pinnacle this week, marking his 7th No. 1 on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart. Young co-wrote the single with Ross Copperman and Jon Nite shortly before his first daughter’s birth in October 2019.

Young’s “Caliville Weekend” is slated to take place this June in Palm Springs, California. The experience will feature daily live performances, wellness activities, pool parties and more.

“Bringing us all together for a weekend in one of my favorite places in the world is definitely a dream come true for me,” Young said. “I can’t wait for everyone to see what we have planned for them next summer!”

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Are You InCharge? Applications For MusicRow’s 2021 InCharge Print Directory Now Open

MusicRow is currently accepting applications from candidates for its annual InCharge print issue, the published directory of Nashville’s music industry decision makers. Now in its 34th year, InCharge serves as the April/May issue of MusicRow Magazine and slated for an April release.

Applications are now closed. All applications will be reviewed by committee to determine the candidates chosen for this year’s edition of InCharge.

For advertising opportunities, please contact Sherod Robertson at [email protected].

For questions regarding the directory, please contact LB Cantrell at [email protected].

Brothers Osborne Frontman T.J. Osborne: “I’m Very Comfortable Being Gay”

T.J. Osborne (left) with bandmate and brother John Osborne.

Brothers Osborne’s T.J. Osborne sat down with TIME magazine recently to publicly discuss his sexuality for the first time. In the thoughtful article written by Sam Lansky and titled, “T.J. Osborne Is Ready to Tell His Story,” Osborne shares that he is gay, and has been out among close friends and family for years.

“I’m very comfortable being gay,” he tells TIME. “I find myself being guarded for not wanting to talk about something that I personally don’t have a problem with. That feels so strange.”

The article expresses the support of his brother and bandmate, John Osborne, despite the fact that coming out publicly could potentially have professional risks to their successful careers. “If I had to have all my money and success erased for my brother to be truly fulfilled in life,” John said, “I wouldn’t even think about it. Not for a second.”

T.J. added that he looks forward to making music without creative boundaries.

“I want to get to the height of my career being completely who I am,” T.J. tells TIME. “I mean, I am who I am, but I’ve kept a part of me muted, and it’s been stifling.”

In a video posted to his Instagram, T.J. said, “the person you know is me, now you just know more about me.”

 

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A post shared by @tjosborne

Artists including Kacey Musgraves are standing with Brothers Osborne in support. “Others will now feel invited to the country music party for the first time,” Musgraves told the magazine. “Country music deserves a future even more honest than its past.”

More of T.J.’s peers have come out in support of him, including the following:

Video Surfaces of Morgan Wallen Using N-Word, Issues Apology

Morgan Wallen. Photo: John Shearer

In a video obtained by TMZ and posted late Tuesday (Feb. 2) night, Morgan Wallen is seen coming home from a night out when he uses a racial slur while speaking to his friend. The video was reportedly shot Sunday (Jan. 31) night outside Wallen’s Nashville home by neighbors and shows him yelling profanities, including the N-word.

Big Loud Records has suspended Wallen’s recording contract indefinitely. Wallen has also been dropped from WME’s talent roster.

Wallen issued an apology to TMZ, “I’m embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.” MusicRow has confirmed its authenticity.

The video has surfaced following weeks of a very successful launch of his sophomore album, Dangerous: The Double Album. The Big Loud/Republic Records artist is unquestionably the biggest breakout star in the country format this year, with Dangerous garnering accolades including being the first country album to spend three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in eight years; as well as debuting at No. 1 atop the Billboard 200 Albums chart and earning the largest streaming week for a country album in history.

Wallen’s music has notably disappeared from Spotify’s Hot Country and Apple Music’s Today’s Country playlist. Variety reports that his music has been removed from Cumulus Media 400-plus stations, with a directive to the program directors from Brian Philips, EVP of programming for the chain, and John Dimick, the company’s head of programming operations. iHeartMedia has also pulled his music from their stations, MusicRow has confirmed.

The Academy of Country Music announced they will halt Wallen’s potential involvement and eligibility for this year’s ACM Awards.

On Feb. 4, BMI issued the following statement: “BMI condemns the hateful and offensive racial slur recently used by Morgan Wallen. While unacceptable, under the terms of our consent decree, BMI is mandated to accept all songwriters who want to be a part of our organization. We have asked BMI’s Advisor and Gospel legend, BeBe Winans, to reach out to Morgan to help him understand the gravity and impact of his words. Our hope is that BeBe’s outreach can help Morgan become a more inclusive and empathetic person.”

In a Tweet, CMT announced that they will be removing his appearances from all their platforms.

The CMA announced they, to, would be removing his digital content from their platform

 

Wallen’s country music peers Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Mickey Guyton, Will Hoge and more have issued early reactions about the incident.