Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"There's No Rules"

That is what Show Dog-Universal president Mark Wright told Tom Roland in this week’s Billboard Country Update about the current music business landscape in terms of the "Wild West" frontiers that other artists might shy away from.

The label’s marquee act, Toby Keith, who has the #16 song on the new Billboard country chart remains a minority investor in Taylor Swift’s label Big Machine as well, which had the week’s greatest gainer and was the top most-added song to the airplay chart as an ad touting her new hair style touts, so TK and Show Dog include hedging their bets in that “ no rules” approach.

Even with the growth of the Internet and the increased ability of country acts to gain exposure on TV, Wright still views country radio as the key piece of the puzzle in building careers.

New artists may get a foot in the door in other media, but they still need a song that finds its way to drive-time commutes. “You’ve got to have radio hits,” he told Roland.

But not exclusively, he claims. Show Dog-Universal is working with Universal- affiliated Sanctuary Management on a multi-artist rock tribute album with an international audience, Wright says. And the company is hopeful that a movie soundtrack project will come together.

“You can only work four to five singles at a time in country radio, which is pretty much what a promotion staff is maxed out at,” Wright says. “You’ve got to have what I call non-radio revenue—other projects that you don’t have to just necessarily drive up the charts for 30 weeks to sell an album. We’ve got a couple of those in play.”

I keep hoping that some of the many new artists on small labels which seem to languish for weeks and weeks in the bottom half of the airplay charts, ultimately failing time after time to make it into the top 20, are spending their money productively and (even better!) are making a buck along the way, but I have my doubts.

Wouldn't a larger panel of monitored/reporting stations provide more play list diversity, opening up room for perhaps another ten potential national 'hits?'

Of course it would, but I don't know of anyone who thinks that is on the horizon anytime soon given the economics of the music business.

So, rule #1 in this "no rules" time: don't give up your day job!

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