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HITS LIST SLIDES
INTO SUMMER
Fire up the grill. (5/24a)
TORTURED POETS IN PARIS: TAY STRUMS THE BASTILLE WITH NEW ACOUSTIC SET
Another week, another iteration (5/24a)
SONG REVENUE: TRIAD
They're in the money. (5/24a)
DOJ FILES ANTITRUST LAWSUIT AGAINST LIVE NATION
A game of Monopoly on Capitol Hill (5/24a)
NEAR TRUTHS:
HOWDY, PARTNER
Redrawing the Mason-Dixon Line (5/24a)
THE NEW UMG
Gosh, we hope there are more press releases.
TIKTOK BANNED!
Unless the Senate manages to make this whole thing go away, that is.
THE NEW HUGE COUNTRY ACT
No, not that one.
TRUMP'S CAMPAIGN PLAYLIST
Now 100% unlicensed!
Music City
SPOTIFY HOUSE RETURNS TO CMA FEST
5/23/24

Spotify House is returning to CMA Fest. Taking over downtown Nashville for the fifth year, the three-day country music showcase takes place at the Ole Red venue and features more than 40 performers from 6/6-8.

Presented by Spotify’s Nashville team and flagship Hot Country playlist, the weekend’s mainstage lineup includes acts like Ashley McBryde, Avery Anna, BRELAND, Cole Swindell, Dylan Gossett, Jordan Davis, Koe Wetzel, Lady A, Luke Bryan, Mickey Guyton, Old Dominion, Parker McCollum, Tucker Wetmore and Tyler Hubbard, among many others. Lily Rose and Cassie DiLaura will also serve as hosts for all three days.

Additionally, country singer/songwriter Wyatt Flores will take the mainstage for the first time after debuting at Fresh Finds Rooftop last year, joining other rising stars like Shaboozey, Tanner Adell and Dasha. More surprise acts are to be announced.

“It’s hard to believe that we are about to celebrate our fifth year bringing Spotify House to CMA Fest in June,” said Jackie Augustus, lead, country & folk, artist partnerships at Spotify. “We feel so privileged to have been able to present the many incredible artists who have graced our stages, and we are excited to once again bring our playlists to life and showcase some of the best and brightest in country music today.”

Spotify House will be open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis and runs from 10am-2am daily.

Check out the full schedule below.

SMP NASHVILLE & CAM CREATIVE INK RYAN LARKINS
5/22/24

SMP Nashville and CAM Creative have inked Ryan Larkins to a global publishing deal.

A promising newcomer in the country music scene, Larkins has already penned with the likes of Tony Lane, Tom Douglas, Lee Thomas Miller, Craig Wiseman, Tim Nichols, Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip and Country Hall of Famer Bill Anderson. He also co-wrote Bill Anderson’s Grammy-nominated “Someday It’ll All Make Sense” f/Dolly Parton.

More recently, he saw chart success for his work on Cody Johnson’s “The Painter,” which hit #1 on the Country Airplay chart and secured him his first ACM Award nom for Song of the Year.

Additionally, Larkins has expanded his team and inked with Huskins-Harris for business management and McClanahan Management for artist management. Earlier this year, he dropped his debut EP, Meet Ryan Larkins, via Red Street Records.

From the moment I first met Ryan, it was obvious he had the heart of a true American storyteller,” said SMP Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston. “It has been amazing to watch him celebrate his first #1 single and now his first major award nomination, and we look forward to many more of his successes in the future.”

“Rusty Gaston and his team share the vision, as do Trisha McClanahan and Becky Harris, of how special Ryan Larkins is and we are watching it come to fruition together,” added CAM Creative founder Carole-Ann Mobley.

“Rusty, Aubrey [Landon] and team have been huge champions of mine. I am so excited to see what the future holds. I am so excited to partner with Trisha McClanahan. Her success, experience and belief in me and my music left me with no doubt she was the right person for me. Carole-Ann has believed in me from the beginning and I’m so thankful to continue to work with her,” said Larkins.

Seen actively ignoring our emails are (l-r) back row: Morgan Barnes, Harris, McClanahan, Gaston; front row: Mobley, Larkins and Landon.

AMAZON MUSIC DROPS ACM EXCLUSIVES
5/21/24

Amazon Music has dropped three new live recordings from the performances at the 59th ACM Awards.

Available exclusively on Amazon Music, fans can now listen to Kane Brown’s rendition of Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind,” Thomas Rhett’s new single “Beautiful as You” and New Male Artist of the Year Nate Smith’s duet with Avril Lavigne of his single “Bulletproof.”

“Being from Georgia, this song has always meant a lot to me,” said Brown. “It’s one of my favorite moments to perform for my fans each night during the In the Air Tour, and I knew I wanted to perform it on the ACM Awards.”

“I’m so excited to be able to debut this song on the ACM Awards. It’s been one of my favorite songs ever since we wrote it and it’s something sonically a little different from me. So, it’s just a great introduction to the new music and album that’s coming and kind of sets up the vibe for the next season of my career, and especially our live show,” added Rhett.

In addition to Brown, Rhett, Smith and Lavigne, the ACM Awards also featured duets from Kelsea Ballerini and Noah Kahan, as well as Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, plus more performances Jason Aldean, Jelly Roll, Tigirlily Gold, Cody Johnson, Miranda Lambert, Post Malone, Parker McCollum, Chris Stapleton, Lainey Wilson and this year’s host, Reba McEntire.

The 59th ACM Awards are now streaming on Prime Video. Watch the full rebroadcast here and check out the Official ACM Awards playlist here.

DOLLY GOES ORCHESTRAL WITH NEW CONCERT EXPERIENCE
5/21/24

Dolly Parton is going orchestral with a new concert franchise, Dolly Parton's Threads: My Songs in Symphony, which will launch 3/20/2025 with the Nashville Symphony in Music City. From there, it will be performed on tour by local orchestras around the world.

Described as a "symphonic storytelling experience" exploring the many "threads" of Parton's legendary life and career, the show will boast "new and innovative orchestrations" of her hit songs. Parton will narrate the experience via screens, although it's unknown if she will be physically present for any of the performances.

"I’m just so excited to share my songs and the stories behind them in this beautiful new way," said Parton of the show, which she is co-producing with Schirmer Theatrical and Sony Music Publishing. "Threads: My Songs in Symphony is like a journey through the heartstrings of my life. I hope we can take it far and wide to symphony orchestras everywhere!"

“Bringing the genius, music, life and legacy of Dolly Parton to symphonic audiences is an honor for us,” added Schirmer Theatrical President Robert Thompson. "Audiences will hear for the first time Dolly’s songs performed by orchestras worldwide in this innovative symphonic storytelling experience."

The ever-busy Parton can currently be heard guesting on Blessing Offor's “Somebody’s Child" and will sit for a special conversation 6/6 at the CMA Fest's Fan Fair X. She will also release her next children's book, Dolly Parton's Billy the Kid Comes Home for Christmas, 10/1 through Penguin Young Readers.

And if that's not enough, Parton just introduced a new line of donuts with Krispy Kreme featuring the flavors Dolly Dazzler, Peachy Keen Cobbler, Banana Puddin' Pie and Chocolate Creme Pie.

If you need us in the meantime, we'll be tucking into a plate of crispy fried chicken at the Dollywood location of Aunt Granny's Restaurant.

59TH ACM AWARDS NOW STREAMING ON PRIME
5/20/24

The 59th ACM Awards, which aired live on 5/16 from Frisco, Tex., is now available to stream on Amazon’s Prime Video.

Chris Stapleton dominated the night with four wins, including Male Artist of the Year and Album of the Year for Higher (Mercury Nashville), and brought out Dua Lipa for a duet of “Think I’m in Love With You.”

Meanwhile, Broken Bow’s Lainey Wilson was named Entertainer of the Year, Female Artist of the Year and took home Music Event of the Year with Jelly Roll for "Save Me."

Other highlights included performances from Kane Brown, Jelly, Cody Johnson, Miranda Lambert, Post Malone, Parker McCollum, Thomas Rhett, Tigirlily Gold and Wilson, among others, as well as duets from Kelsea Ballerini and Noah Kahan, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, Nate Smith and Avril Lavigne, plus more.

Catch the 59th ACM Awards, hosted by Reba McEntire, streaming now on Prime Video.

BIG MACHINE MUSIC INKS THE READY SET'S WITZIGREUTER
5/20/24

Big Machine Music has signed artist, producer and songwriter Jordan Witzigreuter to a co-pub agreement. He's pictured here flanked by Endurance Entertainment’s David Lovett and BMM President Mike Molinar, who have already made an exhaustive list of words that rhyme with Jordan's last name.

Recording under the name The Ready Set, Witzigreuter has logged hits including “Killer” and “Love Like Woe.” As a platinum-selling writer, his songs have been cut by Lindsey Stirling, SEVENTEEN, Hoodie Allen, Outasight and JAX. Witzigreuter has also crafted music for such mega-brands as T-Mobile, GoPro, Reebok and Pepsi.

“Jordan’s music chops cover the whole spectrum as a phenomenal live performer, producer and songwriter,” reads a quote from Molinar. “His years of continued success show that he can win with his musicianship in any room, and we’re grateful to officially welcome him to the Big Machine Music family.”

DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS, ACMs DELIVER NEW VOICES, TRUE COUNTRY
5/17/24

By Holly Gleason

From the moment the unstoppable Lainey Wilson hit the satellite stage—performing Little Texas’ “God Bless Texas,” it was clear the 59th Academy of Country Music Awards was going to lean hard into the friskiness and out-yonder kind of country that derives its appeal from the actual country. Dressed in red, the current Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year was the only female nominated in the ACMs’ top category. By night’s end, she’d make it a pair.

In just two years, the Louisiana farmer’s daughter has gone from Best New Female Artist to winning country music’s biggest awards. After debuting her saucy “Hold on Honey,” Wilson not only won Female Artist and Music Event of the Year with rap/rock/country sensation Jelly Roll on his wrenching “Save Me,” she also took home Entertainer; making her the first artist since The (Dixie) Chicks to become an ACM triple-crown winner in just two years.

Onstage she talked of crawling out on the roof, looking up at the stars and the planes overhead, her 13-year struggle and crazy acceleration of the last three, her gratitude palpable. Beyond her Cinderella moment, the night’s other peak emotion had to be Post Malone, who’s been tilting at country for a couple of years, following a strong Stagecoach set by appearing at one of country’s most hallowed awards shows.

Post Malone showed himself to be a fine country singer on the aching ballad “Never Love You Again,” the bouncy midtempo “I Had Some Help” (without track mate Morgan Wallen) and a spontaneous a capella “Ramblin’ Man” with host Reba that delightfully celebrated recently deceased Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickie Betts. Clearly loving the music, Post has a molasses-and-flannel voice suited to the genre and a delivery that falls into an authentic space, making him a truer traditional vocalist than many artists currently in the format.

Best New Male Nate Smith brought vocal ballast and an intensity to his recasting of 10-week #1 “Bulletproof” with the equally formidable Avril Lavigne, while multiple nominee Cody Johnson’s “Dirt Cheap” offered a bucolic ballad that delivered traditional values. Multiple Entertainer of the Year winner Jason Aldean performed a powerfully yearning “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” to memorialize 2024 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Toby Keith that brought his family—and much of the audience—to tears.

After years of BroCountry templates, this ceremony displayed dexterity and diversity. Entertainer of the Year nominee Kane Brown created a Sinatra-esque performance on Ray Charles’ “Georgia on My Mind” that was elegant and slightly swinging, Visual Media winner Parker McCollum embraced a George Strait-evoking classicism with “Burn It Down,” and Male Artist of the Year Chris Stapleton conjured a sweltering “I Think I’m Love With You” with surprise guest Dua Lipa that was as penetrating as it was passionate.

And then there was Texan Miranda Lambert, all fringe and Cheshire smile, leaning into “Wranglers.” The winningest artist in ACM history scorched the smoky female-empowerment anthem from the first “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” With an intentional verve, the former Entertainer of the Year suggested that the next phase of her storied career will be the most interesting.

Jordan Davis’ Song of the Year win for “Next Thing You Know” bookends his CMA Song of the Year for “Buy Dirt” in a win that showed the likable vocalist’s life-derived songwriting connects deeply with voters. Life-derived writing also defined Stapleton’s wins for Album of the Year and Artist-Songwriter as well as Luke Combs’ Single of the Year win for his reverent take on Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.”

Ashley McBryde, presenting Single of the Year with Noah Reid, seized the moment to create some spontaneous musical commentary. After joking about feeling awkward, they sang the nominated songs with new lyrics McBryde had written about Lower Broadway, star bars, flying chairs and publicist intervention, generating the night’s biggest laughs.

Whether putting together pop collabs—Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, Kelsea Ballerini and Noah Kahan—or the churchy “I Can’t” finale from 17-time host Reba, producers Raj Kapoor and Parick Menton stacked two hours with a sweeping pace suited to the livestreaming platform Amazon Prime provides. For the always-progressive ACM, led by CEO Damon Whiteside and this year’s board chair, Ebie McFarland, their livestreamed awards show offered a dynamic that ramped up momentum and a flow that kept viewers engaged.

Announcing her return as host for the ACMs’ 60th anniversary, Reba fittingly closed the night. With the news of the diamond-anniversary show returning to Amazon, the successful transition from broadcast to streaming platform felt not just complete but visionary.

SUN LABEL GROUP SHINES WITH PRIMARY WAVE
5/15/24

Sun Label Group, which comprises the labels Sun Records, Gaither Music, Green Hill Music, Rural Rhythm and emeraldwave by Green Hill, has officially launched in tandem with parent company Primary Wave.

SLG will be led by President Paul Sizelove, who will remain in his concurrent role as President of Gaither Music Group. Green Hill Music GM Blake Davis will also retain his position. Each of the labels will keep "their unique structure, individuality and respective teams," according to a statement.

"As we launch Sun Label Group, we stand at the crossroads of musical heritage and innovation,” said Sizelove, pictured. “This venture isn't just about celebrating 160 years of extraordinary sound; it's about forging a future where music continues to inspire, connect and evolve. Our rich legacy across Sun Records, Gaither Music, Green Hill Music, Rural Rhythm and emeraldwave by Green Hill is just the beginning."

Upcoming Sun Records releases include Ruthie Foster's Mileage, Amy Helm's Silver City, Melissa Etheridge's I'm Not Broken: Live From Topeka Correctional Facility, Thompson Square's Shawna Thompson's Lean on Neon and a blues album from ZZ Ward, while Gaither Music is prepping projects with former The Voice winners Chris Blue and Jordan Smith and Gospel Music Hall of Famers the Isaacs.

Green Hill Music will release Fairy Fantasy, a new album from New Age veteran David Arkenstone, while emeraldwave by Green Hill recently issued Out of the Blur, the debut ambient album from Thievery Corporation's Eric Hilton.