Uncertainty reigns in the wake of last’s week’s Disney announcement that Lyric Street Records is closing and then just one day later Joe Galante’s announcement that he will depart Sony Music/Nashville after being with the company that started as RCA Records since 1982.
Where does that leave Rascal Flatts, Bucky Covington, Love & Theft, the traditional Thursday night CRS General Jackson extravaganza, let alone numerous still-budding artists that Joe has remained loyal to in spite of relatively low sales figures?
Someone at Disney in Hollywood and EMI Publishing/Nashville EVP/GM Gary Overton gets to make those calls now as one label shuts its doors and Overton jumps across the street with a changing of the guard at another:
"When Joe told me of his decision to leave Sony, I thought about all his great accomplishments in nurturing the careers of some of the icons of our business: Dolly Parton, Alabama, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, and many, many others. I am honored and humbled to be tapped by Rolf Schmidt-Holtz to build on the legacy that is Sony Music Nashville. And I am very excited about having the opportunity to work with the great artists at Sony, as well as the very talented staff."
Lyric Street regional promo rep Dale Turner also announced that he’s retiring at the end of 2010 with the closure of his employer's Music City offices:
"It is true that many of my co-workers have lost their jobs and it's a sad week for sure. Many of you have dealt with the harsh reality of consolidation and this is no less difficult to embrace. However, the release should have stated "Disney decides on a major restructure of their Country Music Record Label"...what remains @ 1100 Demonbreun Street in Nashville is a fully staffed promotion team lead by Kevin Herring. The difference is that he reports directly to Disney Music Group Chairman, Bob Cavallo, instead of a local label President here..by the way, I've worked with and for Randy Goodman 25 years combined between Lyric Street and RCA and cannot say enough about his business acumen. Rascal Flatts is still negotiating with Disney to extend their recording contract and we currently have a single crossing into the top 10...24 of their 26 single releases have scored top 10 or better in the past 10 years..next up is their new album which they are finishing up and debut single forthcoming...so it will be an exciting summer working their new music @ country radio. I just felt compelled to set the record straight...all of our resources that allow us to go to radio to promote and market the music are now based in Burbank but that doesn't change the commitment, investment and dedication of our artists and their music at country radio, that I can stake my reputation on."
Is it the beginning of the end of business as we know it?
Isn’t it always?
Meanwhile, the RIAA’s lobbying efforts continued last week at full force to enhance their new business model by taking a percentage of radio's revenue.
So. What would you do if all the record labels closed one by one and you had to count on relationships with music’s artistic community and music fans if you wanted to continue to use music as a part of the service you use to draw and hold an audience - even if it cost twice as much to do so?
- You’d find out which songs and artists your listeners were discovering through all possible sources.
- You’d experiment with new sounds which excite you so as to gain an edge over other radio stations your target might also spend time with.
- You’d listen to every song on albums and in concerts by artists which drive your music image and expose only the ones which drive usage, passion and exclusivity.
- You’d use every available tool to leverage your ownership and identification as the one who stands out in the crowd championing the very best of your genre.
- When a promoter called you to tell you about their clients’ priorities, you’d listen and then you’d share yours - and even more importantly - your users’ - with them so that you could hopefully work together to monetize both sides of those transactions.
What are we waiting for?