David Ross in Music Row online: "Eleven labels recently experienced change in their radio divisions — Country Thunder, Curb, Permian Records, Universal Republic, Sony BMG, Universal Records South, Nine North Records, Big Machine, Equity, Live Nation and Robbins Nashville—all have had staff arriving and/or departing. Additional changes are still likely."
Phil Sweetland, Country Insider/Nashville notes: "In nearly all cases, the same Promo folks are rehired by different labels."
R.J. Curtis in the 7/11 R&R, quotes Capitol/Nashville President/CEO Mike Dungan: "These (labels are) being funded by people who've made a fortune in another industry who have some kind of romantic notion about being in the music business... it's as if they're in show business. Then, they wake up three years later and say 'wow, I could lose everything here very easily.' I think that's happening a lot around Nashville right now."
In the same article, which looks into the use of the word 'label' to describe many of the new 'virtual labels' now working independent music to radio. Former WEA, former now-defunct 903 Music exec and now Fame Records consultant Bill Mayne: "Let's just say exactly what it is. Those are independent promotion companies that started calling themselves labels to get around (radio) corporate rules (against dealing with independent promotion companies) in light of the Spitzer investigation."
Meanwhile, Sunday's New York Times Magazine has a thought-provoking piece on where the music business (?) may be going. (i.e. '...those who choose to download “Feed the Animals” free are asked to take a survey inquiring why. About 3.5 percent have chosen “I don’t believe in paying for music,” 0.8 percent “I don’t value music made from sampling.” The top choice (about 37 percent): “I may donate later.”...')
Billboard.biz: "The split of the Sony BMG merger is virtually a done deal. Well-placed sources say a Bertelsmann supervisory board meeting has been convened (July 11) to examine the sale of the German media giant's 50% stake, with a final decision on a deal expected to be revealed by the end of the month, following a meeting of the Sony Corp board."
Educated guess: The Sony label won't be sold by BMG to any of these new so-called labels. If that happened, it would end the argument over whether they are virtual this or that once and for all.
Instead, most likely, Sony Music will go back to being owned by Sony. And, I'd bet that the best of the 'virtual label' executives will go back to work for a real major label again, writing the latest chapter of Nashville's long history of independent music promotion.
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