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NEAR TRUTHS:
HOWDY, PARTNER

POST MODERNITY: The Post Malone-Morgan Wallen collaboration “I Had Some Help” is a bona fide monster by every metric, scoring crazy streams. As Malone pivots to Nashville with one smash song already in tow, the newfound might of the coastal majors in the sector is more obvious than ever. Warner, Columbia and Republic account for roughly 40% of current country market share, bolstered by Zach Bryan, Beyoncé and Wallen. The dominance of these NYC- and L.A.-based companies has sparked some resentment among certain members of the Nashville power elite, though Music Row’s smarter leaders are finding ways to make such alliances work for them. Because Mercury/Republic has been able to lean into Nashville outlier Big Loud, with whom it has partnered on Wallen and the new phase of Malone’s career, it essentially has a dedicated country partner. A possible JV with Broken Bow for Jelly Roll would further strengthen an already incredible hand. At the same time, label heads on the coasts know very well that they need Nashville partners to navigate not only the existing country ecosystem (including radio and genre outlets) but a deep and abiding culture. This is said to be a key reason hot prospect Tucker Wetmore is expected to sign with Cindy Mabe’s UMG Nashville—though that deal was said to be conditional on choosing a coastal partner, something we’re told is now settled; the unconfirmed rumor is that it’s Mercury. Hence the burgeoning trend of joint stewardship of country acts by coastal and Music City companies. What’s more than clear, however, is that the old, insular blueprint is history, and the maps are being redrawn.

TEUTONIC TIMIDITY? Will BMG boss Thomas Coesfeld be able to reform the company’s entrenched culture? Word that he was awaiting approval from the board for a new hire has insiders wondering how much authority he holds. The privately owned company has a strongly, historically German culture. Some insiders believe that the firm’s leadership is ready to cast off BMG’s old bottom-fisherman vibe and make some bold moves, but an overabundance of institutional caution—and a certain corporate inertia—may be its most significant challenges. How much runway will Coesfeld give talented North America President Jon Loba to effect change?

TAGS: I.B. Bad
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