Bobby Karl Works IBMA Week

(L-R): Dan Hays, Executive Director, IBMA; Greg Cahill, president, The Foundation for Bluegrass Music; Sam Bush, host of Thursday night’s International Bluegrass Awards Show and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. Photo: Alane Anno

Del McCoury (R) and Jesse McReynolds (L)

Chapter 375

All photos by Alan Mayor

Boy, I sure hope what I witnessed on Tuesday afternoon (9/27) is the beginning of a new IBMA tradition.

Under a cloudless blue sky with temperatures in the balmy 70s, The Del McCoury Band presided over an outdoor concert on the Ryman Plaza. The show was staged to salute the 100th anniversary of the birth of Bill Monroe.

It was a star-dappled event, with several bluegrass celebrities dropping by to pay their respects. It was also a dandy way to publicize and promote the World of Bluegrass conference and Bluegrass Fan Fest now happening in downtown Nashville. The show was free, so lunch-hour downtown workers, music fans and casual passers by could experience the music. Ordinarily, all of the activities are indoors in the Nashville Convention Center.

McCoury with Vince Gill

“Scholars and historians disagree over every other genre and where it began,” said Mayor Karl Dean to the sun-splashed crowd. “We know where bluegrass began. It began right here, in December 1945, at The Ryman Auditorium.” In 2006, a Tennessee state historical marker was erected in front of the venue to commemorate this.

“We can’t have enough live music in Nashville,” Dean continued. “We will do more of this.” I, for one, certainly hope so. Dean’s Music City Music Council supported the free show, as did the Ryman, Metro Nashville Government and 650 AM WSM radio.

The Del McCoury Band opened at noon with a half-hour set of Monroe classics. Then Vince Gill appeared to sing “Rose of Old Kentucky,” and the audience went nuts.

“He had a handle on that tune,” said Del in admiration. “I couldn’t do it.”

Vince and the McCoury band were in perfect harmony on “Crying Holy Unto the Lord.” Before exiting, Vinnie blew a big smooch at the crowd.

Bluegrass Hall of Fame member Jesse McReynolds was next. “Vince Gill is hard to follow, but I followed Dolly Parton the other day, so I guess I can do this,” Jesse quipped. His guest set included an awesome mandolin duel with Ronnie McCoury.

Show performers Dierks Bentley and Sam Bush were chatting at stage left, so I grabbed both for a three-way hug while Jeff White was taking the stage to sing “The Cold Hard Facts.” Dierks, Sam, Tim O’Brien and Larry Stephenson also performed Monroe-saluting guest sets.

McCoury with Sam Bush

The gentle breezes made the weather perfect. The music was beyond perfect. On the edge of the plaza, the Mas Tacos van, the Cupcake Bus and the Grilled Cheeserie bus all had fans lined up for lunches. Spotted in the crowd were Darrell Scott, Harry Chapman, David Scarlett, Dan Hays, Judy McDonough, Steve Lowery, Jim Havey, Pete Fisher and Greg Cahill of Special Consensus.

Del McCoury, by the way, is not only a former member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, he is also this year’s Bluegrass Hall of Fame inductee. He had yet another reason for doing the show. Tuesday (9/27) was the digital release date of his Old Memories: The Songs of Bill Monroe tribute album.

This is one of several CDs commemorating the Sept. 13, 1911 birth date of Monroe. First out was Blue Moon of Kentucky: An Instrumental Tribute to Bill Monroe co-starring all-star pickers Mike Scott, Adam Steffey, Bryan Sutton, Tim Stafford, Rob Ickes, Aubrey Haynie, Mike Compton and Ben Isaacs. It’s on Rural Rhythm Records.

Rebel Records has raided its vaults to compile two volumes of folks performing Monroe’s songs. The first is With Body and Soul: A Bluegrass Tribute to Bill Monroe featuring The Seldom Scene, Tony Rice, Peter Rowan, Don Rigsby, IIIrd Tyme Out, The Lonesome River Band and more. The second is Let the Light Shine Down: A Gospel Tribute to Bill Monroe with tracks by The Country Gentlemen, Reno & Smiley, Ralph Stanley, Lost & Found, Dave Evans and others.

Rounder’s entry is Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration: A Classic Bluegrass Tribute. It features vintage tracks by The Grascals, Dailey & Vincent, Claire Lynch, Michael Cleveland, The Nashville Bluegrass Band, The Johnson Mountain Boys, Hazel & Alice, Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top Express, Blue Highway and more.

It won’t be Bill Monroe’s 100th anniversary next year, but I still think the free outdoor show is a splendid idea. First of all, bluegrass is accustomed to being performed outside, usually at one of the 500-some bluegrass festivals that take place each year.

Second of all, it exposes the public to the conference/fest. By the way, this is not the only way to experience the IBMA event for free. Inside the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center, there is lots of common space where people make music constantly. If you’re a night owl, no wristband or badge is required at most of the After Hours showcases in the hotel. Just go up in the elevator and disembark when you get to a floor where you hear music. Also, the Exhibit Hall is open to one and all for free on Wednesday (9/28).

Let’s do this again, next year.

McCoury and band with Dierks Bentley

iTunes Crowd Continues To Swell

NPD’s latest research reports one in four U.S. Internet users now use iTunes—almost 51 million people—and an increase of 3% since last year. Music remains the primary activity of iTunes users, although app downloads is also seeing growth. 54% of iTunes users downloaded or listened to music this year and 28% downloaded a free app (up 4% over last year). 16% downloaded a paid app (also up 4%).

NPD’s report aptly titled, “iTunes User Report 2011” shows that the total number of U.S. consumers purchasing content of any kind from Apple’s store grew by over a million this year. Of that consumer group a growing number of purchases are coming from app buyers. Last year 82% of iTunes buyers bought music and 31% purchased apps. In 2011, however those levels have changed. This year only 75% of iTunes content buyers chose music and 39% purchased apps. Video purchases declined from 20% to 19%.

“The beauty of the iPad is that it brings together social media, access to artist websites, apps from IMBD, and Flixster, and Pandora and other streaming radio sites, all of which can be cross-leveraged to foster more awareness of movies and music,” says Russ Crupnick, Sr. VP and Entertainment Analyst for The NPD Group. “There is a continuing opportunity to build video and music revenue by creating a linear path from content discovery to content purchasing.”

The survey was based upon over 4,000 interview from respondents 13 and older that reported using iTunes and least once in the past three months.


Make It 10 For Chesney

Kenny Chesney has reached another significant milestone with his latest album, Hemingway’s Whiskey (BNA), being certified platinum by the RIAA, making it the 10th platinum album for the country star. The CD has spawned three No. 1 singles as well as current hit “You and Tequila,” featuring Grace Potter, which has been certified gold and hit No. 2 on MusicRow’s CountryBreakout Chart.

These milestones come on the heels of the 2011 Corona Presents Kenny Chesney’s ‘Goin’ Coastal’ Tour, which made its mark as one of the year’s biggest tours, selling more than 1.3 million tickets. Chesney performed more than 60 shows including a performance at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field and at the landmark New Meadowlands Stadium which was the biggest ticketed country event in NY/NJ history.

Chesney recently performed on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio Festival in Las Vegas alongside acts Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Coldplay and others.

Chesney will release the rocking, introspective “Reality” as the fifth single from Hemingway’s Whiskey, with the song shipping to radio on Oct. 3. “Reality” was co-written by Brett James, with whom Chesney teamed to write the hits “Keg In The Closet” and “Out Last Night.” Chesney is nominated for four awards at the Nov. 9, 2011 CMA Awards, including Song of the Year and Musical Event of the Year nominations for “You and Tequila.”

Highest Paid Country Stars

*Urban wasn't ranked in 2011, and Sugarland wasn't ranked in 2010.


Forbes latest list of “Country Music’s Highest Paid Stars” was released this week, covering gross income earned between May 2010 to May 2011. Major revenue streams for most of the acts on the list includes sponsorships/endorsement deals, touring, publishing income and album sales.

For comparison, MusicRow looked back to the 2010 rankings. Most of the same stars are on both lists, though the graph above shows fluctuations in gross earnings. Ranking for the first time in 2011 is Sugarland.

Forbes reports, “We talked to agents, managers, publishers, lawyers and others in the know to come up with our estimates, which are gross earnings. We do not deduct for taxes or things like agent and manager fees.” See full story here.

2011 Highest Earners
1. Toby Keith $50 million
2. Taylor Swift $45 million
3. Brad Paisley $40 million
4. Tim McGraw $35 million
5. Rascal Flatts $34 million
6. Kenny Chesney $30 million
7. George Strait $24 million
8. Alan Jackson $22 million
9. Carrie Underwood $20 million
10. Sugarland $18 million

2010 Highest Earners
1. Kenny Chesney $50 million
2. Toby Keith $48 million
3. Taylor Swift $45 million
3. Rascal Flatts $45 million
5. Tim McGraw $30 million
6. Keith Urban $28 million
7. George Strait $25 million
8. Brad Paisley $22 million
9. Alan Jackson $15 million
10. Carrie Underwood $13 million

CBS Radio Snubs CMA Awards Coverage

CBS Radio stations are withdrawing from the upcoming CMA Awards radio remotes, MusicRow has confirmed. CBS-TV was in a bidding war against ABC and NBC for broadcast rights to the CMA Awards. The Hollywood Reporter has predicted that CMA is renewing its longstanding contract with ABC, much to the dismay of the other networks, which could explain the CBS backlash. Possibly related is the CMA Board resignation this week of VP/ CBS Country Programming Operations, KMLE/Phoenix Jeff Garrison.

CMA and CBS have a decades-long relationship, with the Awards airing on that network from 1972-2005.

The radio remotes are part of Premiere Radio’s coverage of the CMA Awards, which typically includes a preview special, red carpet coverage, live broadcast of the Awards telecast, live post-Awards broadcast with the winners, and a look-back special.

CBS Radio’s country stations, many of which are major market signals, include:

WDSY-FM/Pittsburgh, PA
KMPS-FM/Seattle, WA
KFRG-FM/Riverside, CA
KILT-FM/Houston, TX
KMLE-FM/Phoenix, AZ
KNCI-FM/Sacramento, CA
KXFG-FM/Riverside, CA
WYCD-FM/Detroit, MI
WUSN-FM/Chicago, IL
WSOC-FM/Charlotte, NC
WIRK-FM/West Palm Beach, FL

Country Singing A Pretty Sales Tune

Lady Antebellum performed at Irving Plaza in New York City on Tuesday night as part of their "Own The Night: Unplugged" concert series which also featured plays in Chicago and Los Angeles. (L-R) Charles Kelly, Capitol Nashville Chief Mike Dungan, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood


Lady Antebellum comes roaring out of the physical and digital bins this week to dominate the Nielsen SoundScan sales sphere. The trio’s newest, Own The Night, racked up over 347,000 units (25% digital) giving it the No. 1 position on both the country albums and Top 200 albums charts. The new collection’s performance weighs in a bit light compared with its previous 1/26/10 outing which scanned 481k units, however, at that time the group was enjoying a “perfect storm” single—”Need You Now”—which was exploding across multiple formats on the radio dial. Regardless, with a tour primed to start Nov. 11, and the 4th quarter selling season in front of us, look to see this Capitol Nashville release grow legs and walk out of the stores…

Next as we travel down the dirt road of country sales, we must applaud Big Machine’s “butt kicking” job in taking Brantley Gilbert Halfway To Heaven and reaping almost 51k in the process. Gilbert, who co-wrote Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem,” sold 32.5% of his album in digital format. Other new offerings included Kristin Chenoweth at No. 14 with sales of 9k and Reckless Kelly at No.20 with 6k (51% digital) units.

Topping the county digital tracks pile this week was Blake Shelton who reportedly has just renewed his agreement with Warner Music Nashville. Shelton’s “God Gave Me You” was the most downloaded country track with fans clicking almost 55k copies onto their hard drives and MP3 players. The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young” refuses to die, holding down the No. 2 spot with over 53k downloads. Lady Antebellum’s “Just A Kiss” is No. 3 with about 44k clicks. For those who would like to be able to easily integrate their iTunes music with the Android world check out It’s free and easy.

Looking at country music from across the universe, we see YTD the format’s album sales are up a robust 9.8% while all genre sales have pushed ahead a more modest 3.4%. Look for country’s lead to erode as we move into the all-important fourth quarter since we don’t seem to have enough superstar product to match up against all last year’s offerings. However, we do expect releases from LeAnn Rimes (9/27), Scotty McCreery (10/4), Lauren Alina (10/11), Toby Keith (10/25), Miranda Lambert (11/1) and a Taylor Swift live package (11/21).

DISClaimer Single Reviews (9/21/11)

Let’s take a break from the Music Row mainstream and listen to some platters that have, shall we say, a little more class?

I refer to records like the new ones by the likes of Matraca Berg, Jeff Bridges and Glen Campbell. Glen brings his Goodbye Tour to the Ryman for shows on Nov. 30 and Dec. 5. Based on his touching musical eloquence on The Tonight Show last week, those should be pretty emotional occasions.

For profoundly moving musical moments, Matraca Berg’s The Dreaming Fields and Glen Campbell’s The Ghost on the Canvas are sharing today’s Disc of the Day award.

The newcomers this week were Taylor Made, Krysti Worley, James Justin & Co., The Farm Inc. and Brian Coy & The Remaining Few. None of them was award worthy.

Writer: Brian Coy; Producer: Britt Lloyd & Adam Odor; Publisher: none listed; RF (
—The bass and guitars are so overly amped that you can hardly hear his muffled voice. Maybe that’s a plus.

BURNS & POE/I Need A Job
Writer: Keith Burns/John Ritter; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; Blue Steel (
—It’s an uptempo twang fest with Keith doing the vocal heavy lifting. Best jab at D.C.: “Fire them all, then they’ll be screaming like you and me” or, if you prefer, “Tell them S.O.B.’s I need a J.O.B.”

Writer: Candy Cameron/Tyler Hayes/Michael Boggs; Producer: Dale Morris & Dan Mitchell; Publisher: Rave On/Calhoun Enterprises/Roxboo/My Maxx/Razor & Tie/Upsurge/EM CMG, ASCAP; LGR (615-946-6055)
—This group features a husky-voiced female lead singer who displays plenty of panache on this bluesy outing. The song is catchy, too. Promising.

Writer: Glen Campbell/Julian Raymond; Producer: Julian Raymond & Howard Willing; Publisher: Seventh Son/Maxava, ASCAP; Surfdog (track)
—In a word, heartbreaking. The lead-off track from this mighty music man’s Ghost on the Canvas farewell album is an aching meditation on mortality. “Some days I’m so confused, Lord. My past gets in my way….One thing I know, the world’s been good to me/A better place awaits, you’ll see.” The sterling collection includes six instrumentals, two tunes from Paul Westerberg, one from Jakob Dylan and five originals that pierce your soul. The recording cast includes Chris Isaac, Dick Dale, Brian Setzer and Billy Corgan. The man is saying goodbye with style.

Writer: D. Jensen/K. Copeland; Producer: Kim Copeland; Publisher: Soaring Eagle/Sage House, SOCAN/ASCAP; Soaring Eagle (track) (
—The sophomore single by this Canadian is a dull, plodding outing, but he’s still country to the core.

JEFF BRIDGES /What A Little Bit Of Love Can Do
Writer: S. Bruton/G. Nicholson; Producer: T Bone Burnett; Publisher: Brutunes/Bug/Gary Nicholson/Sony-ATV, BMI/ASCAP; Blue Note (track)
—For his solo CD, Bridges re-teams with his Crazy Heart soundtrack producer T Bone Burnett and works with such guest celebs as Rosanne Cash, Sam Phillips and Ryan Bingham. This kick-off track rumbles along tossing hooks left and right. I’d have preferred a more “open” stripped-down production approach rather than this somewhat heavy handed style. But there’s no denying the Oscar winning actor’s musical talent.

THE FARM INC./Home Sweet Home
Writer: Danny Myrick/Rick Hoffman/Krista Marie/Damien Horne; Producer: Danny Myrick & Nick Hoffman; Publisher: Root 49/Danny Myrickmusic/Tailing Loop/Krista Marie/Mista D, BMI; All In/Elektra/Warner Bros.
—This trio debuts with a stuttering rocker with choppy verses that only hits its stride when it swings into the sunny, melodic harmony-soaked choruses. Then there’s the quasi chanting toward the finale. The whiplash shifts in tone are jarring. A little more consistency, please.

MATRACA BERG/Racing The Angels
Writer: Matraca Berg/Gretchen Peters/Suzy Bogguss; Producer: Matraca Berg; Publisher: Songs of Universal/Hannaberg, BMI; Dualtone (track) (
—Matraca’s new The Dreaming Fields CD contains her version of her current Kenny Chesney hit “You and Tequila,” but there’s plenty more to recommend it. This ballad, for instance, is a lovely, lilting thing that imagines death as a flight heavenward. For a more bluesy, saucy side of this talented lady, check out “Your Husband’s Cheating on Us.”

JAMES JUSTIN & CO./Dark Country
Writer: none listed; Producer: none listed; Publisher: none listed; JJM (track) (
—It starts with the sound of thunder, then turns into a moody country rocker with spooky, echoey guitar jangles and a high, pleading vocal. This is evidently their second album, but it’s the first I’ve heard. My gut instinct is to guide them toward Americana Land.

KRYSTI WORLEY/A Bible And A Six-Pack
Writer: Becky Hobbs/Red Jenkins; Producer: Bill Green & Lynn Massey; Publisher: Becka’s Mecca/Red Hot, BMI/STIM; Electric Cactus (210-654-8773)
—Ya gotta love the title. Her overly bright and shiny sound, however, is trying way too hard to be liked.

Bobby Karl Works The ACM Honors

Chapter 374

One of the cool things about the annual ACM Honors show is that it usually features unexpected and unpredictably wonderful performances.

Or, as host Joe Nichols put it, “You’ll see musical moments here that you won’t see anyplace else.”

Joe Nichols. Photo: Getty Images/Courtesy of the Academy of Country Music

On Monday night at The Ryman Auditorium (9/19), those moments were headed by a celestial sounding The Isaacs, the sizzling Jack Ingram, a hearty collaboration between The Gatlins and Jamaican reggae star Romain Virgo, a soulful Buddy Miller, a tender Dean Dillon, the merrily rocking Brett Eldredge, jaunty Jerrod Niemann and a rich, resonant performance by Nichols, himself.

We were gathered to honor behind-the-scenes folks, achievement in film, international accomplishment, songwriters and lifetime contributors. Following opening remarks by the Academy of Country Music CEO Bob Romeo and Nichols, Robin Meade presented the Industry Awards. Steve “Bogie” Bogdanovich was named Talent Buyer of the Year. Joe’s Bar in Chicago was Nightclub of the Year. Winning its third Casino of the Year was Mohegan Sun Casino of Uncasville, CT. No one showed up to accept that one.

“I guess they’re getting used to this,” quipped Meade.

The Ryman’s Sally Williams earned the eve’s first standing ovation when she won her first ACM as Promoter of the Year. The Ryman was also named Venue of the Year.

“I am the most blessed person in this room,” she said. “I am so honored to be a part of this community….I will work hard to lift you up, just as you have lifted me up.”

Laura Bell Bundy presented the MBI Awards. Aubrey Haynie won his 4th Fiddler of the Year. Eddie Bayers repeated for the 14th time as Drummer of the Year. Dan Dugmore won his 3rd Steel salute, and Gordon Mote earned his 2nd Piano prize. Not present were winners Glenn Worf (bass), Bryan Sutton (specialty instrument), Tom Bukovac (guitar) and Chuck Ainlay (engineer).

Paul Worley was named ACM Producer of the Year for the first time. “You guys are all my family, and I hope I am yours,” he said.

The Tex Ritter Award was presented to the film Country Strong. Gary Overton, who marketed the soundtrack, accepted. “I’ve always wanted to say this: I want to thank the Academy,” he wisecracked. Brett Eldredge, who appeared on that soundtrack, turned in a sprightly “It Ain’t Gotta Be Love.”

Becky, Sonya and Ben of The Isaacs. Photo: Getty Images/Courtesy of the Academy of Country Music

To salute Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers for their Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, Thompson Square teamed up with Randy Houser on “Houston.” Then came the stunning medley by The Isaacs of “Broken Lady,” “I Don’t Want to Cry,” “I Just Wish You Were Someone I Love” and “Healin’ Stream,” the last-named of which appeared on their 2009 CD Naturally.

“What a performance,” said a clearly moved Nichols. Amen to that, brother.

The Oak Ridge Boys presented the honor. “I don’t believe there has been a friendship and a brotherhood between two music groups that there is between The Gatlin Brothers and The Oak Ridge Boys,” said the Oaks’ Joe Bonsall.

Larry Gatlin recalled singing backup for the late Dottie West on the Opry at the Ryman. “I don’t think we could have envisioned this,” he said. “The man who loves his job is always on vacation,” he added, expressing gratitude for a life in music. “Thank you. God bless.”

Taylor Swift. Photo: Getty Images/Courtesy of the Academy of Country Music

Taylor Swift, who is multi-Platinum in 14 countries and triumphantly swept around the globe earlier this year, won the Jim Reeves International Award. “I didn’t go to college,” she told us. “I went on this journey that taught me so much….Thank you for giving me the opportunity to study something I really wanted to learn about, country music.”

Longtime ACM Treasurer John Dorris was given the Mae Boren Axton Award. He is, “one of the finest men in Nashville,” said Sharon White before The Whites saluted him with “This World Is Not My Home.” The group has been managed by Dorris for 28 years. Montgomery Gentry, another Dorris client, did “Hillbilly Shoes.” Romain Virgo joined The Gatlins for “All the Gold in California.” On the Reggae Goes Country CD, Virgo transforms the song to suit his style, but at the Ryman he conformed to the Gatlin arrangement, splendidly.

“He’s a man of great integrity and my best friend of 20 years,” said presenter John Michael Montgomery. “If there’s anybody on this earth who’s more blessed and lucky than me, I’d like to shake his hand,” the widely beloved Dorris responded.

Reba McEntire was given the Career Achievement Award by her pal Ronnie Dunn. “After all these years, she’s just as real as the day she rode into town,” he said. In accepting, she recalled having to leave an Opry show as a seven-year-old to upchuck outside on the Ryman steps and that she lost her first award nomination as an ACM contender for New Female Vocalist. “Thank y’all for putting up with me all these years,” she added. “I love y’all to pieces.”

Garth Brooks won the second Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award. Bob Doyle introduced a video where the superstar explained his absence by saying it was “my wife’s birthday.” Rodney Atkins saluted Garth with “Much Too Young to Feel This Damn Old.” Jerrod Niemann offered his co-written “Good Ride Cowboy.”

Jack Ingram. Photo: Getty Images/Courtesy of the Academy of Country Music

Tom T. Hall won the eve’s first Poet’s Award and was saluted by Buddy Miller with “How I Got to Memphis,” by a fiery, rocking Jack Ingram with “Faster Horses” and by Lee Ann Womack with “Harper Valley PTA.” Presenter Ralph Emery noted that the Ryman was dubbed “The Mother Church of Country Music,” by the Opry’s Trudy Stamper, who died in July.

“Every time I get an award, Ralph comes to give it to me,” said Hall during the evening’s most amusing acceptance speech. “God willing, he’ll speak at my funeral, and that will be the end of it.”

The late Hank Cochran (1935-2010) was the other Poet winner. Dean Dillon sang “The Chair,” Joe Nichols did “Miami My Amy” and Jamey Johnson performed a medley of “I Fall to Pieces,” “Make the World Go Away” and “He’s Got You.” Widow Suzi Cochran accepted.

Can I get a witness for the evening’s band? Larry Paxton, Gary Prim, Mark Beckett, Jon E. Conley, Bobby Terry, Mike Johnson, Wyatt Beard and Liana Manis not only looked like they were having a ball, they sounded like it, too. Buddy Cannon was musical director.

The industry people mostly showed up in respectful, award-show cocktail attire. The fans wore jeans and yelled, “I love you!” at their favorites. In the former category were Bobby Cudd, Bob Beckham, Dale Bobo, Dale Dotson, Dave Pomeroy, David Ross, Dan Rogers, Tony Conway, Tony Brown, John Grady, Joe Chambers, Jody Williams, Brenda Colladay, Todd Cassetty, Scott Borchetta, Rod Essig, Fred Foster, Neal Spielberg, Eileen Littlefield, Lane Brody, Narvel Blackstock, Steve & Ree Guyer Buchanan, Peter Cooper, Dixie Hall and Karen Clark.

Live Nation and UMG Announce Strategic Partnership

Live Nation Entertainment and Universal Music Group announced this week that they are forming a strategic partnership of both companies’ management assets.

UMG, along with Live Nation’s Front Line Management Group, will introduce a joint venture management company with the aim of building artistic brands through sponsorships, strategic marketing, and more. Each unit will operate individually, but will be able to utilize the other’s assets.

Front Line will manage the partnership, focusing on building consumer bundling initiatives for UMG artists such as concert tickets and music products through artist web properties.

According to the New York Post, Universal’s management companies to be combined include Trinifold, Twenty First Artists, 5B and Sanctuary, a roster that boasts The Who, ZZ Top, NBC’s The Voice, Robert Plant, and more. They’ll join artists under the Front Line umbrella, such as the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Christina Aguilera, Journey and others. Live Nation will reportedly get a 51 percent stake in the combined companies.

“This is an unprecedented partnership that unites the world’s top music artists with the world’s leading artist management, live entertainment, event ticketing and sponsorship resources to drive innovation across our industry,” commented Live Nation/Front Line Chairman Irving Azoff. “We see tremendous opportunities to work together to create a broad range of products built on the power of music and the direct connection between artists and fans. We look forward to working closely with Lucian Grainge and the talented UMG team in this new and exciting chapter of the music industry.”

BMI Annual Revenues Continue Upward

Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI®), the music rights management organization further extended its 20-year record of annually increasing revenue collections for its fiscal year ended June 30, 2011 with revenues in excess of $931 million. Revenues for 2010 totaled $917 million.

According to BMI it will distribute royalties of $796 million to the over 500,000 songwriters, composers and copyright owners it represents. Last year’s distribution tally was about $789 million.

Del Bryant

BMI President & CEO Del Bryant said, “In addition to the strength of our repertoire, a key factor in our ability to grow revenues despite a challenging global economy is the enduring value of our core offering: the blanket license.  Securing unlimited public-performance rights to BMI’s entire repertoire of more than 6.5 million works with one stable agreement is as valuable for new media companies such as YouTube and Spotify as it is for our radio, television, cable network and general licensees.”

According to BMI, the repertoire was invigorated by global megahits from songwriters such as Lady Gaga, The Black Eyed Peas, Taylor Swift and Rihanna, and breakout success across a wide spectrum of genres from songwriter/artists such as urban sensation Nicky Minaj, British chanteuse Adele, urban/Latin phenomenon Pitbull and Nashville artists The Band Perry, Easton Corbin and Jason Aldean. These newer songwriter/artists build on a foundation laid by BMI icons such as The Eagles, ZZ Top, Paul Simon, The Rolling Stones, Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson and Queen.

BMI’s press announcement claims it operates with an overhead among the lowest of any music rights organization in the world, an achievement made possible by the company’s long-term dedication to technology. In 2010, the organization processed almost 100 billion copyright transactions on behalf of its music creators, copyright owners and licensees.

BMI’s largest revenue category is Cable & Satellite which accounts for about 34% of collections. Radio is a close second contributing 30%.