The Mechanical Licensing Collective Plans Database Webinar, Toolkit For Educators

The Mechanical Licensing Collective is presenting a webinar about the organization’s Bulk Database Feed at 11 a.m. CT on Thursday, Dec. 17, hosted by Richard Thompson (CIO) and Raphael Amselli (Technical Consultant).

The webinar will provide an overview of the format, timing and pricing of the data feed, which will be a comprehensive and invaluable resource for DSPs, music publishers, CMOs, record labels, metadata companies and others throughout the industry. Individuals interested in participating in this free webinar can register for it here

The MLC has also released its new Educator Toolkit, created to help college educators teach students, particularly those studying music and music business, about the changes to the administration of digital audio mechanical rights in the U.S. that will begin taking effect in January 2021 as a result of the landmark Music Modernization Act. Beginning next month, mechanical royalties from streaming in the U.S. will be processed and paid out by The MLC at no cost to songwriters or music publishers.

The Toolkit offers instructors a range of materials they can incorporate into their existing syllabi or use to create new course modules, including a comprehensive introductory video, a white-label customizable PowerPoint presentation, suggested classroom activities and exam questions, and a list of informational videos, articles, and other resources on copyright and the history of mechanical licensing.

Instructors and educational institutions can find out more about The MLC’s Educator Toolkit here.

Ringing In The Holidays Warner Style

Christmas parties are going virtual for 2020, including these two jolly online festivities hosted by Warner Chappell Music Nashville and Warner Music Nashville.

Warner Chappell Christmas Costume party, click to enlarge.

The Warner Chappell Music Nashville team (above) got creative this year and hosted a virtual Christmas Costume party via Microsoft Teams. While everyone brought their A-game with Christmas sweaters, reindeer ears, and Santa hats, the clear winner was Bethany Mako (A&R/Admin Assistant) who (temporarily) dyed her hair green and turned it into a Christmas tree—with lights, ornaments, and a star on top.

Warner Music Nashville (below) hosted a Radio & Streaming Virtual Holiday Happy Hour on Monday evening (Dec. 14), raising a toast to the holidays in matching shirts.

Warner Music Nashville’s virtual gathering, click to enlarge.

The Other Nashville Society Teams With German Publisher For Virtual Songwriting Camp

Last month The Other Nashville Society (TONS), which promotes Nashville’s multi-genre talent, teamed with leading German publisher Budde Music for a week-long virtual songwriting camp.

Over 40 artists, writers, and producers from both scenes took part in the event. From the TONS camp were writers including Jim Jonsin (Beyoncé, Lil Wayne, Eminem), Nick Bailey (Maroon 5, Marshmello, Demi Lovato), Bailey Bryan (300 Entertainment), and Kyle Kelso (Kygo, Galantis, Lane 8). German collaborators included Steven Bashir (Felix Jaehn, Younotus , Lena), Kelvin Jones (Four Music / Sony), Robin Grubert (Nico Santos, Keri Hilson, Adel Tawil), and Conor Byrne (RCA / Sony).

In addition, major label execs from both sides of the Atlantic, including A&R from Epic Records, Warner Records, RCA Records, Capitol Records, Polydor Records, and Island Records, briefed the camp each morning on their artists’ current song needs.

Head of A&R, Prescription Songs Nashville / TONS Co-founder, Katie Fagan, said, “Our mission at TONS is to not only give a platform to our community of creators here in the U.S., but to help spread awareness across the globe that Nashville is a melting pot of successful multi-genre writers, producers and artists. When it came to international markets we wanted to connect with, Germany was at the top of our wishlist. Our friends at the Music Business Association (Music Biz) connected us to Germany’s top music business conference, Reeperbahn Festival. Through that connection, we met Peer Steinwald at Budde in Berlin. Very quickly, we all realized we were aligned on a camp, and within days we were making plans.”

Those plans for an in-person writing camp were altered due to the pandemic, so TONS and Budde shifted to a successful virtual event.

James Slater Extends Publishing Deal With BMG

James Slater. Photo: Courtesy BMG

James Slater has extended his publishing deal with BMG.

Slater recently celebrated a Top 5 Keith Urban single, “God Whispered Your Name,” that spent seven weeks in the Top 10, as well as the Shy Carter debut single “Good Love.” He has current cuts by Tim McGraw, Trace Adkins, Reba McEntire, and Old Dominion, and his song “Guys Named Captain” (Kenny Chesney) has become a standout on Sirius XM’s No Shoes Radio. The track was penned by Slater as a tribute to his dad and is featured on Chesney’s recent album Here and Now.

Slater has also had songs recorded by Carrie Underwood, Enrique Iglesias, Hootie & the Blowfish, Willie Nelson, Rascal Flatts and many others. His Grammy nominations include Jamey Johnson’s “The High Cost of Living” and the solely written, Martina McBride single “In My Daughter’s Eyes.”

Pictured (clockwise from top left): James T. Slater; Faith Beller, Creative Admin.; Eli Ponce, Creative Director Latin Division; Courtney Allen, Creative Director; Joe Salvo, Director of Operations; Patricia Wittmer, Director Creative Services; Chris Oglesby, SVP; Katie Kerkhover, Sr. Creative Director

“James is fueled by passion. His love of home, travel and music come together in a way that allow him to create music straight from the heart. We are thrilled to be able to be a part of his story and have him continue his journey with our BMG family.  He makes all of us better,” said Chris Oglesby, SVP Creative, BMG Nashville.

“I’m excited, motivated, and grateful to renew my contract with BMG Music. BMG’s legacy speaks for itself, and the Nashville Creative Team has afforded me the opportunity to write the best songs I’ve ever written,” said Slater. “I believe we’re just getting started.”

BMG Nashville Creative Director, Courtney Allen, adds, “We are so excited to continue working with James Slater. He is the kind of writer who brings out the best in everyone he works with and is always raising the bar with his creativity. We are looking forward to being a partner with him on his next chapter and can’t wait to celebrate more success with him!”

Nathan Barlowe Signs With Spirit Music Nashville/Fluid Music Revolution

Nathan Barlowe. Photo: Kenneth Cappello

Nathan Barlowe, former frontman of the pop rock band Luna Halo, has signed a worldwide publishing deal with Spirit Music Nashville/Fluid Music Revolution.

Barlowe has had songs recorded by Taylor Swift, Steven Tyler, Keith Urban, Newsboys and Jars of Clay, among others. He has had three top 10 Billboard dance singles, a Grammy nomination, and has written songs for movies and TV, including The Voice, American Idol, The Equalizer, Transporter and the theme song for the final season of the hit show King of Queens. In 2016 Barlowe became a member of Keith Urban’s band. In 2017 Barlowe won a CMA Award for Touring Musician Of The Year. He invented an instrument he dubbed “The Phantom,” an electronic sampling machine played like a keyboard.

During his time as frontman of Luna Halo, he was signed by Rick Rubin to his iconic American Recordings label. After Luna Halo disbanded, Barlowe started the band Five Knives, signed with Red Bull Records, and went on to tour with 21 Pilots, Smashing Pumpkins and Icona Pop. They appeared at major EDM festivals such as Electric Zoo and Ultra.

“Nathan and I go back to his early Luna Halo days. We’ve always tried to figure out a way to work together and this year lined up for us. Nathan is a great addition to what we are building at Spirit Fluid,” said AJ Burton, Vice President, Fluid Music Revolution.

“I have known AJ a long time, and everyone in Nashville knows of Frank Rogers. It’s exciting for me to be able to start a new chapter in my writing career with these guys and Spirit/Fluid,” said Barlowe. “I can already tell that we are going to do some great things together!”

Driver Williams Inks Co-Pub Deal With River House Artists, Jody Williams Songs

Pictured (L-R): Jody Williams (Founder, Jody Williams Songs); Nina Jenkins (Creative Director, Jody Williams Songs); Driver Williams, Zebb Luster (Director of Creative/A&R, River House Artists); Lynn Oliver-Cline (Founder, River House Artists); Kayla Adkins (Publishing Coordinator, River House Artists)

River House Artists (in partnership with Sony/ATV) and Jody Williams Songs (in partnership with Warner Chappell Music) have signed Driver Williams to a new co-publishing agreement, uniting Williams’ existing team at River House Artists with the publishing company launched recently by his father, former BMI VP and industry vet Jody Williams.

Driver Williams has spent the last three years as a River House Artists staff songwriter. With the launch of Jody Williams Songs earlier this year, plans developed between River House’s Lynn Oliver-Cline and Jody Williams to share publishing representation.

“It has long been a dream of mine to work with my father in this kind of creative capacity,” shares Driver. “I am very excited to be part of a new ‘song forward’ company whose aim is to move the needle in our genre, coupled with my unflagging partnership with Lynn and the powerhouse crew at River House Artists.”

As the long-time lead guitarist for 2020 CMA Entertainer of the Year Eric Church, Williams has co-written Church’s Double-Platinum certified “Smoke A Little Smoke” as well as songs recorded by artists including Jon Pardi, Jason Aldean, Drew Parker and more.

“We feel very fortunate to partner with Lynn’s team at River House for this next season of Driver’s songwriting career,” says Jody Williams. “Driver’s determination and skill, coupled with the synergy of our two companies, feels like a perfect storm. Zebb Luster and Kayla Adkins are in it to win it, just like me and Nina Jenkins. And on a personal level, I’m thrilled the time is finally right to get to work with my son. This is going to be fun!”

“I am thankful for the intro to Driver from Jody just a few short years ago,” adds Oliver-Cline, who first formed a close friendship with Jody Williams when the two were BMI writer reps in the late ’90s. “Driver has such depth and a unique perspective. I always look forward to hearing everything he writes. His passion for music is contagious and RHA couldn’t be prouder to continue our relationship with him and his talents as a songwriter.”

“Driver has been a huge asset for the River House family from the beginning,” notes Zebb Luster, RHA Director of Creative/A&R. “His dedication to the team and his ability to help artists and writers really find what they are trying to say in a song is what I love most about him. Driver really gets behind the people he believes in and pushes them to be the best they can be. I couldn’t be more excited to have him around!”

“Driver is a master collaborator,” adds Nina Jenkins, JWS Creative Director. “His daily objective is the relentless pursuit of quality music, brought to fulfillment through thoughtful songwriting and an ever-present positive attitude. He is a team player who lifts up his co-writers and publishers alike.”

In addition to the new publishing deal signed with Driver Williams, Jody Williams Songs represents Ashley McBryde, Nathan Chapman, Jeremy Spillman, Greg Bates, Jason Nix and Pat McLaughlin. Jody Williams Songs is a co-publishing partnership with Warner Chappell Music.

Launched in 2016, River House Artists recently became a joint venture with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Along with Driver Williams, their roster also includes artist writers Drew Parker, Jordan Rowe, Luke Combs’ longtime cowriter Ray Fulcher, as well as Nicolette Hayford, a frequent co-writer of McBryde.

Rakiyah Marshall Launches Music Publishing, Artist Development Company Back Blocks Music

Rakiyah Marshall

Music publishing executive Rakiyah Marshall has launched the independent music publishing and artist development company, Back Blocks Music. The Nashville-based company will announce its roster in the coming weeks.

Marshall previously spent three years at BMG; her career also includes time at Republic Records in New York and Nashville’s Cornman Music. She was named a 2020 Billboard Power Player.

“Throughout my time in Nashville, I have been continuously inspired by independent entrepreneurs, especially in the independent music publishing and artist development space. Having the time that 2020 has afforded us all to be home has allowed me to realize that now is the time to chase my dream of owning my own business,” shares Marshall. “I am so thankful for my time at BMG and all of the relationships I have developed through the experience. I will miss my writers immensely and know they all have bright futures ahead.”

Marshall can be reached at

Concord Music Publishing Signs Chris La Corte To New Hillary Lindsey Joint Venture, Hang Your Hat Music

Chris La Corte. Photo: Ashtin Paige

Chris La Corte is the first signing to a new joint venture between Hillary Lindsey and Concord Music Publishing, Hang Your Hat Music. Jake Gear has also joined Hang Your Hat Music as GM/Exec. VP and previously worked with Lindsey at BMG.

La Corte most recently worked with Sam Hunt on his album Southside, including his chart-climbing single “Breaking Up Was Easy in the 90’s.” He has collaborated with Zach Crowell and Peer Åström for artists such as Sam Hunt, Adam Sanders, Cash Campbell and John Gurney, among others.

The new venture combines Lindsey’s songwriting talent and collaborative relationships with Concord’s broad resources, creative services and first-class administration. Gear will lead in pitching songs, heading up the creative direction and developing writers, artists, and staff.

Prior to serving as the Senior Creative Director for BMG, Gear was Creative Director for Nashville independent publisher, Sea Gayle Music. Throughout his career, he has helped place hit songs with Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, and Morgan Wallen, among others.

“We’re incredibly fired up to work with Hillary and Jake as we all collaborate to develop the next generation of talent, and Chris is a great example of that talent,” said Brad Kennard, Sr. VP, A&R at Concord Music Publishing in Nashville. “We’re eager to pool the resources of our team in Nashville and around the globe, combined with Hillary and Jake’s expertise, to bring opportunities to the Hang Your Hat roster, whether it’s country, pop, synch-focused and beyond.”

“I couldn’t be more excited to get to work with a team that I know so well,” La Corte said. “Each player has a crucial role. I’ve gotten to know Jake over the last year—he’s respected throughout the writing community as a song guy and a champion for writers. It has been a true pleasure having him create opportunities for my songs, manage my writing calendar, and guide my career. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend some time in a writer’s room with Hillary, and she puts on a humble masterclass in songwriting every single time. The knowledge and opportunities I’ve gained working with her are absolutely priceless, and our newfound friendship I hold even more dearly. Getting to partner with Hillary and Jake as the first signing to their new publishing venture with Concord is better than I could have ever planned or imagined. I’ve gotten to know Brad and the Concord team in Nashville over the last couple months, and I’m excited to plug in with the creative teams around the world. I know they have my back with their global influence and reach. I also want to shout out Zach Crowell, whose hands-on mentorships has been monumental in my development as a producer and writer and we’ll continue to create great songs together. This ‘dream team,’ as I refer to it, is going to do some really big things, and I couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of it!”

“So excited to have Chris La Corte as our first signing. He backs up his dynamic talents as a writer and producer with an incredible work ethic and character,” Gear said. “I also look forward to continuing to build relationships across Concord to create opportunities for our writers, artists, and songs.”

EXCLUSIVE: Sony/ATV Nashville Acquires River House Artists Catalogue, Signs Joint Venture

Pictured (L-R): Sony/ATV Chairman and CEO Jon Platt, River House Artists Founder Lynn Oliver-Cline, Sony/ATV Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston.

Sony/ATV Nashville has acquired the River House Artists’ catalogue of top-charting country songs, which includes Luke Combs’ No. 1 hits “Forever After All,” “Beautiful Crazy,” “When It Rains It Pours,” and “Lovin’ On You.” The company also signed a joint venture with River House Artists to provide creative services to its talent.

Indie record label and publishing company River House Artists launched in 2016 under the leadership of veteran industry executive Lynn Oliver-Cline, and is home to some of today’s top country hitmakers, including Combs’ long-time friend and collaborator Ray Fulcher, well known for co-writing beloved songs such as  “Does To Me,” “Even Though I’m Leaving” and “When It Rains It Pours” by Combs.

River House Artists also represents Drew Parker, rising artist-songwriter and Sirius XM’s latest Highway Find who has co-written hits including Combs’ “1,2 Many” and “Nothing Like You,” as well as No. 1 single “Homemade” by Jake Owen.

Sony/ATV Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston said, “Lynn’s intuition for identifying singer-songwriters who speak right to the heart of country music is second to none, and she knows how to turn their dreams into reality. We’re proud to partner with Lynn and the River House team as we build a long and successful future together.”

River House Artists Founder Lynn Oliver-Cline said, “When I moved to Nashville in 2013, I wanted to be Rusty Gaston! So being able to ink a deal with him and Sony/ATV, who are already my family, is a dream come true. I can’t think of our writers and artists being in better hands. Rusty’s passion for songs, songwriters and his team is inspiring on every level. I can’t thank Jon, Rusty and Cam [Caldwell] enough for making this happen!”

River House Artists’ roster also includes powerhouse songwriters such as Driver Williams, who has crafted popular hits such as “Smoke A Little Smoke” by Eric Church and “Call Me Country” by Jon Pardi; Nicolette Hayford, best known for co-writing certified gold singles “Little Dive Bar In Dahlonega” and “One Night Standards” by Ashley McBryde; and Jordan Rowe, known for his latest single “Good For Nothin.”

Amy Cranford Elevated To Sr. VP, Administration At Sony/ATV Music Publishing

Amy Cranford. Photo: Ed Rode Photography

Amy Cranford has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Administration at Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Based in Nashville, Cranford reports to Dale Esworthy, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Administration.

In her new position, Cranford is responsible for overseeing Sony/ATV’s administration initiatives to better support its songwriters, including the client portal SCORE and its app, and she will continue leading the company’s audit team. In addition, she will serve as the business liaison for the global publishing system TEMPO and work to create and implement strategies to further advance its capabilities.

Since joining Sony/ATV in 1994, Cranford has spearheaded numerous efforts which have strengthened the company’s administration services, including the “Cash Out” feature, which enables songwriters to request some or all of their current royalty balance to be paid immediately. Under her watch, Sony/ATV also introduced real-time processing for all its foreign earnings. As a result, foreign earnings will now be reported and paid in the same period in which they are collected.

“Amy’s ability to generate ideas, build consensus and implement new initiatives makes her a key leader and trusted colleague,” said Esworthy. “We are grateful for her selfless dedication and many contributions.”

“I am proud to be a part of Sony/ATV, where our mission is to deliver best-in-class services to our songwriters,” said Cranford. “I look forward to working with Jon, Dale and the entire leadership team in this new role, and I’m excited to further expand our administrative efforts and build upon our success.”