Belmont’s Curb College Invests $2 Million-Plus In Technology Upgrades for Virtual Access

Belmont University’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business recently invested more than $2 million in technology upgrades. The university’s strategy to augment its facilities for media, motion pictures and entertainment studies will help students stay on track whether attending on campus, remotely or in a hybrid model.

The college also signed a five-year software subscription agreement for Avid’s editing and creation tools (Media Composer and Pro Tools), and the open MediaCentral platform, so that students can access them from any location.

Curb College Dean Doug Howard said, “In the same way that we were the first university to have a full Dolby Atmos mixing stage, we are again leading the field in building a virtual copy of our Johnson Center technology, allowing students and faculty virtual access to our most sophisticated systems from anywhere in the world. I am incredibly grateful to Belmont’s leadership for their commitment to invest in systems that keep our students at the forefront of the industry.”

Among the significant upgrades:

New S6 Mixing Console: A new Avid S6™ control surface, one of the most sought after consoles in sound for film and television, was installed in the Johnson Center Theater. (See time lapse video of the install below.)

Remote Access: Belmont installed 87 computers that are purposely built to be high-end video and audio editing remote workstations. Students can access these systems on their own personal computers from anywhere with an internet connection, providing them access to industry standard editing software Avid Media Composer®, Pro Tools® and Belmont’s Avid NEXIS Server (all connected via LeoStream).

Server Upgrade: The central media server was upgraded to an Avid NEXIS system with 1.6 petabytes of storage space, increasing storage by more than six times. Students in production-oriented classes use the server to store their projects.

The upgrades will continue throughout the spring and summer with the addition of Avid MediaCentral, which allows even more seamless integration with servers from anywhere, and JetStream, which provides a fast and secure way for students to transfer large files to and from the server from any location.

The MLC Receives $424 Million In Historical Unmatched Royalties From DSPs

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) announced today (Feb. 16) that it has received a total of $424,384,787 in accrued historical unmatched royalties from digital service providers (DSPs). The data is presented with corresponding reports that identify the usage related to these royalties.

A total of 20 DSPs separately transferred accrued historical unmatched royalties to The MLC as required in order for them to seek the MMA’s limitation on liability for past infringement. In addition to the accrued unmatched royalties transferred to The MLC, the DSPs concerned also delivered more than 1,800 data files, which contain in excess of 1.3 terabytes and nine billion lines of data.

The transfer of these monies represents the culmination of a months-long effort on the part of The MLC and these DSPs to develop and implement the specifications for these usage reports. With these historical unmatched royalties and usage reports now in hand, The MLC can begin the process of reviewing and analyzing the data in order to find and pay the proper copyright owners.

Going forward, The MLC will provide additional information about historical unmatched royalties on a newly-created page on its website entitled Historical Unmatched Royalties. Below is an initial summary of the historical unmatched royalties separately transferred to The MLC by each DSP:

Read more about the data above here.

NMPA President & CEO David Israelite offered the following about the news:

“Songwriters and music publishers have for years fought to ensure they were paid accurately and fully by digital streaming services. ‘Unmatched money’ has plagued the industry and today, thanks to the Music Modernization Act (MMA), we know that it amounts to just under $425 million—not including money previously paid out in multiple million dollar settlements. This significant amount proves just how broken the system was, how much the MMA was needed, and how much songwriters have to benefit from the protections it has put in place. At long last, that money can make its way to its rightful owners. This is a massive win for music creators and the streaming services themselves. The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) obtaining this historically unmatched money, doing the research to find its owners, and giving copyright owners a transparent process to claim what is theirs is exciting progress that paves the way for the future growth of streaming that will benefit the entire industry.”

Digital Licensee Coordinator (DLC) representative Garrett Levin, offered the following statement:

“Today marks a critical milestone in the new mechanical licensing regime established by the Music Modernization Act (MMA) two years ago. As announced by The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC), 20 digital music providers (DMPs) transferred a combined $424.4 million in historical unmatched royalties and accompanying historical usage information, representing the remaining royalties that have been unpaid to copyright owners after years of concerted effort by the streaming services and their partners. These royalties are a small fraction of the overall mechanical royalties that have been paid out during that time period.

The MLC now has in one centralized operation the usage data and corresponding royalties that are critical components for delivering on the promise of the MMA and allowing The MLC to meet its commitment to efficiently and effectively distribute royalties to those who have earned them.”

The Artist Rights Alliance gave the following statement:

“Today’s historic transfer of almost half a billion dollars in unmatched royalties to The MLC is a great start – but there’s a lot of work still to be done to get that money to the songwriters that earned it. We are grateful to the Copyright Office team that skillfully and doggedly worked through a number of complex issues in the months leading up this transfer, including major disagreements about the proper treatment of past industry settlements.

In the months ahead we look forward to engaging further with the Office about efforts by publishers who have already been paid for historical usages via settlement agreements to seek double payment out of these new funds. As we have told the Office in our prior filings, the major publishers that already settled with digital services and received payment from them should not be allowed to claim a further share of the monies transferred to The MLC today.

Today’s news is a huge step forward for songwriters – one made possible by so many stakeholders all across the music community who came together to work for passage of the Music Modernization Act and continue to work in good faith as it is implemented.”

Steven Curtis Chapman, Zach Williams, Casting Crowns Among K-LOVE 2022 Cruise Lineup

The lineup for the 2022 Premier Vacations And Events K-LOVE Cruise has been announced and will include Casting Crowns, Cory Asbury, Crowder, Kari Jobe, Steven Curtis Chapman, Zach Williams, Big Daddy Weave, and many more when it sets sail Jan. 24, 2022.

Following the cancellations of their 2021 cruise due to COVID-19, the fan-centric cruise will depart from Port Canaveral, Florida on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, and visit the ports of Nassau, CocoCay and Freeport, Bahamas, returning on Jan. 29, 2022.

Premier Vacations has produced a variety of events, including the K-LOVE Cruise, Duck Commander Cruise, Sailing with the Scotts from HGTV’s Property Brothers, and the Jesus Freak Cruise, along with land-based events Illuminate at Disney World, the Hillsong Holy Land Experience, Worship Nights in Israel with Chris Tomlin, the Israel Encounter with Zach Williams and other Israel tours.

Warehouse West Expands Team

Kris Marcy, Rafaela Marone

Kris Marcy has been appointed Director of Artist Management and Development at Warehouse West Entertainment. Rafaela Marone has also been promoted to Manager of Creative Services at the independent artist management, publishing, and artist development company.

In his new position, Marcy will assume responsibility for Warehouse West’s day-to-day artist management division, as well as its development roster. Marone will support the releases and publishing activities of the company’s artists.

Marcy’s career includes experience as an artist, artist manager, tour manager, and consultant, working alongside artists such as Brad Paisley, Brooks & Dunn, U2, Chris Stapleton, Matthew & Gunnar Nelson, Keith Urban, John Mayer, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard, among others.

Marone has spent the last year as Management Coordinator at Warehouse West Entertainment. The Brazilian native graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Media Studies, where she interned for several semesters at Crush Music prior to joining WWE.

“We are excited to welcome Kris to the team and to congratulate Rafaela on her new position,” said Warehouse West co-founder Luke Wooten. “As we gear up for live music to start again sometime this year, we’re confident that Kris and Rafaela will bring much-needed experience and enthusiasm to our artists’ programs.”

“This concept has been in the works for quite some time, and it’s a great feeling to have it come to fruition,” said Marcy. “I’m humbled at the thought of working alongside this team for such an incredibly talented artist roster.”

“It’s a great privilege being part of such a fantastic team and working alongside an unbelievably talented roster,” said Marone. “Their passion is the driving force behind my work, and I’m excited to see where this next chapter will take us.”

Soundstripe Paid $2.5 Million To Music Creators Last Year

Soundstripe, a leading provider of royalty-free music, stock video, and sound effects for use in videos, podcasts, and other media projects, has announced that it reached several significant business milestones in 2020.

The company reports paying out over $2.5 million to music creators last year, including 75 unique artists from whom the service sourced content. While a majority of the music is created in Nashville, Soundstripe taps artists from all over the world, spanning 18 different countries.

“2020 was a challenging year for the entertainment business, so we are happy to have done our part to ‘Keep Creatives Creating’ by getting them paid for their work, giving them options to diversify their income, and launching new products that give our subscribers everything they need to make compelling videos, podcasts, Twitch streams, and other great content,” said Travis Terrell, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Soundstripe.

Soundstripe music is created on a work-for-hire basis, but songwriters also receive 100 percent of the writer’s share of performance royalties when their songs are used, according to the company. “It’s called ‘the writers share’ for a reason,” said Micah Sannan, Co-Founder and Co-CEO. This allows musicians to collect recurring revenue from their works when used by Soundstripe customers, in addition to an upfront payment.

Soundstripe also expanded its offerings by adding stock video to its library, with over 70,000 clips currently available.

In 2020, Soundstripe was named to the prestigious Inc. 5000 list, where its growth rate of nearly 5,000 percent over the last three years placed it at No. 68 among the fastest growing private companies in the U.S., as well as No. 5 in the Media category and No. 1 in its home state of Tennessee.

In addition, the company was named to The Tennessean’s Top Workplaces list for the second year in a row, and Co-Founder and CTO Trevor Hinesley was named to the Nashville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list.

Blythe Scokin and John Geraghty Form New Management Company, rogue

John Geraghty, Blythe Scokin. Photo: Lindsey Byrnes

Blythe Scokin and John Geraghty have joined forces to launch a new management and entertainment company, rogue.

With a focus on the development, strategy, and bold storytelling of creators through music, social impact, film, TV and more, the team has been a driving force behind the careers of Ingrid Andress and rising pop star FLETCHER.

In 2020, Geraghty was featured in Billboard’s PRIDE issue as one of their top execs. For the last several years, he has independently developed FLETCHER into a star on-the-rise, with nearly 750 million streams worldwide (with her leak of The S(ex) Tapes immediately reaching No. 1 on iTunes across genres), sold-out global tours, an end-credit title and single from the Margot Robbie-produced Promising Young Woman, and iHeartRadio nomination for Best New Pop Artist in 2020. FLETCHER’s 2019’s breakthrough debut “Undrunk” was the fastest-rising single at pop radio from a new artist in the last five years.

Scokin has been the force behind breakout country star and 3x Grammy nominee Ingrid Andress. Her debut single, “More Hearts Than Mine,” topped the charts and was certified Platinum within a year of her debut. Andress was the first country artist to be named one of Apple Music’s Up Next, and was nominated for two CMA Awards, an ACM Award, and was set to tour with Keith Urban, Dan + Shay, Thomas Rhett, and Tim McGraw in 2020. Prior to Andress, Scokin managed superstar Ciara while working at Friends at Work, brokering her deal with Warner Records and brands like Revlon and Calvin Klein. She started her career at Endeavor working on film, music, and fashion projects for artists from Tyler the Creator to Sam Smith, fashion house Rodarte, and Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton.

“After knowing one another for almost five years now, we knew it was time to come together once 2020 hit,” Geraghty said. “Blythe is the most loyal friend, brilliant manager, and greatest example of integrity I’ve ever experienced in this business. I couldn’t be more excited to “go rogue” and to be developing such important projects together with one team.”

“I’m so proud to join forces with John to bring our artists together under one roof. We’ve been fortunate to work with two groundbreaking artists in both the country and pop genres who have become our family and are always ready and willing to go rogue with us,” said Scokin. “There’s no one with better taste and more heart than John. He’s the best of the best at finding and developing talent from the ground up.”

Since establishing rogue. in 2020, Scokin and Geraghty have added New Zealand’s Thomston to their roster, with other projects in the works.

The company will be based in both Los Angeles, California and Nashville, Tennessee.

Willie Jones Signs With Warner Chappell Music

Pictured (L-R): Will Overton (WCM), Jonnie Forster (The Penthouse), Spencer Nohe (WCM), Willie Jones, and Ben Vaughn (WCM)

Genre-bending singer/songwriter Willie Jones has signed a global publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music (WCM) Nashville.

Jones is already gaining traction with his debut album, Right Now, which has amassed 27.5 million streams and counting on Spotify. He co-wrote the entire project including his thought-provoking single “American Dream.”

“‘American Dream’ is a powerful song with a unique sound that does what country music does best—it tells a story,” said Ben Vaughn, President & CEO of Warner Chappell Music Nashville. “It’s honest yet hopeful, and its message is an important one. All of us at Warner Chappell are excited to work alongside Willie, and we applaud the great work he’s done with the NMAAM to advocate for change.”

Jones is also represented by The Penthouse, EMPIRE, and Creative Artists Agency. The Louisiana native was recently named to Spotify’s Hot Country Artist To Watch list and hosts his own Apple Music show, The Cross Roads Radio.

“As we all watch the evolution of Willie before our eyes, it’s a huge win to have such a passionate juggernaut like Warner Chappell with Ben, Spencer [Nohe], Will [Overton], and the entire team on our side,” said Jonnie Forster, CEO of The Penthouse. “This is a vital piece of the puzzle for Willie’s growth on the national and international level especially as the genre continues to evolve.”

To coincide with the release of “American Dream,” Jones partnered with Nashville’s National Museum of African American Music for the #IHaveAnAmericanDream initiative, prompting fans to share their hopes for change in America and also performed at the museum’s virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony last month.

Wyatt McCubbin Signs With Tape Room Music, 50 Egg Music

Pictured (L-R) Top row: Kelly Bolton, Ashley Gorley, Joey Harris; Middle row: Blain Rhodes, Tali Canterbury, Jonathan Singleton; Front row: Wyatt McCubbin

Wyatt McCubbin has signed a joint publishing deal with Tape Room Music and 50 Egg Music. The partnership marks the first joint venture for the two companies, which collectively have 33 No. 1 hits.

Since moving to Nashville from his native Ohio, McCubbin has had songs recorded by Tracy Lawrence, Brent Cobb, John Schneider, Josh Ward, Jake Worthington, Drew Parker and others. He has also opened for artists including Merle Haggard, Charlie Daniels, Dwight Yoakam, Easton Corbin, The Kentucky Headhunters, Josh Turner and more.

“I’ve been a fan of Wyatt’s for a long time and I am glad to finally have him in the Tape Room family. He is one of the best young songwriters in town and can flat out sing!” said Blain Rhodes, General Manager of Tape Room Music. “We look forward to working with 50 Egg to help him bring his music to the world.”

“Wyatt is the real deal—incredible singer, songwriter, and human being. We are so excited for the world to hear his music and for this collaboration with Tape Room Music,” said Tali Canterbury, President of 50 Egg Music.

“Working with this team is such a full circle moment because I’ve known several members of the team for years now. They’ve seen me grow over that amount of time as an artist and a writer and have always encouraged me to be me,” said McCubbin. “It’s inspiring to get to work with such a talented group of people who truly get who I am and believe in what I do.”

BREAKING: 56th ACM Awards To Be Held In Nashville

The Academy of Country Music, dick clark productions, and CBS announced today (Feb. 16) that the 56th ACM Awards will be heading back to Nashville, Tennessee.

The televised event will broadcast live from three iconic country music venues: the Grand Ole Opry House, Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe on Sunday, April 18 at 8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network.

“We’re thrilled to return to Music City’s most iconic venues as we come together on April 18th to celebrate the best in Country Music, back in our normal awards cycle,” said Damon Whiteside, CEO of the Academy of Country Music. “A huge thank you to the city of Nashville, Grand Ole Opry House, Ryman Auditorium and Bluebird Cafe for welcoming us back to Nashville, where we can look out for the safety of our artists while shining a spotlight on this vibrant city after a tough 2020.”

Last year marked the first time in Academy of Country Music Awards history that the show was held in Nashville. More details regarding performances will be revealed in the coming months.

In support of the city of Nashville, ACM Lifting Lives®, the charitable arm of the Academy of Country Music, will donate $25,000 to the Music City, Inc. foundation for their Nashville Christmas Day Explosion Relief Fund, with funds earmarked for local musicians out of work due to damage to venues.

“ACM Lifting Lives is proud to support the city of Nashville, our home of the 56th ACM Awards, through a $25,000 donation to Music City, Inc foundation for the Nashville Christmas Day Explosion Relief Fund,” said Lyndsay Cruz, ACM Lifting Lives Executive Director. “The impact of the explosion was felt throughout the music community, and we hope this donation can help alleviate some of the burden on the community.”

The ACM will follow guidelines set forth by national, state and local health officials during the production of the ACM Awards, along with additional safety measures to be instated by dick clark productions and the Academy of Country Music.

Track45 Plots ‘Big Dreams’ For New EP Out February 26

Track45 is set to release the second of their introduction EPs, Big Dreams, which follows their fall debut, Small Town, on February 26 via Stoney Creek Records/BBR Music Group.

Big Dreams combines tracks from Small Town with one new original and a special cover of Dolly Parton’s “Light Of A Clear Blue Morning.” The five-song collection also features the sibling trio’s debut single “Met Me Now,” set to impact country radio on March 1. The following day, the band will be featured as Facebook’s Artist of the Day.

Fresh off the heels of their six-week radio tour, the band will kick off their first official Country Radio Seminar this week performing as part of Amazon Music Presents: ‘Country Heat’ at CRS. They will also be performing an industry-wide live show this Friday after CRS concludes at 4 p.m. CT.

Big Dreams Track Listing:
1. “Met Me Now” (Ben Johnson, KK Johnson, Jenna Johnson, Jonny Price, J Hart)
2. “Little Bit More “ (Ben Johnson, KK Johnson, Jenna Johnson, Audra Mae)
3. “Come On In” (Ben Johnson, KK Johnson, Jenna Johnson, Gabby Mooney)
4. “Me + You” (Ben Johnson, KK Johnson, Jenna Johnson, Hunter Phelps, Charlie Handsome)
5. “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” (Dolly Parton Cover)