Sunday night we celebrated the champions of country music with the 45th Academy of Country Music Awards. This celebration came on the heels of a turbulent week on Music Row – where rocks aren’t the only things that roll. Talk around town is that ASCAP let 6 employees go, Joe Galante retires from Sony Music Nashville, and Disney decided to shut the doors of Lyric Street.
MusicRow reports, “There has been no official word, but MusicRow has heard that the realignment at ASCAP Nashville included a number of personnel changes today, most notably in the writer rep department. Thought to be exiting due to this re-organization are Herky Williams, John Briggs, Pat Rolfe, Dan Keen and Charlene Wilhite. Remaining on board are Ralph Murphy, Mike Sistad, and Jesse Willoughby.”
Winston Churchill says, “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.” Only time will tell if the changes at ASCAP will take the company in the right direction. The realignment may simply be a side effect of the rocky economics of the music industry.
Brad Paisley choked up in the middle of his recent ACM acceptance speech when he looked to Joe Galante and expressed his sadness in his recent choice to retire. The official press release states, “Joe Galante, Chairman of Sony Music Nashville, today (April 14) confirms the next step of his 39-year music business career by announcing his decision to leave the company. Galante will continue his role as chairman until a new Nashville label group leader is named. Subsequently, he will actively participate in a transition consultancy once his replacement takes the helm.”
Where will Rascal Flatts go? At the ACMs the group sang their newest hit “Unstoppable.” Let’s hope that is the case as their musical home is currently unknown. ABC.com, a Walt Disney company, states, “The Walt Disney Co. says it is closing its Nashville recording label, Lyric Street Records, and will transition country music band Rascal Flatts to another Disney label. The phased shutdown will result in the layoff of about 20 to 25 employees after they finish promoting existing albums. It comes amid a cost-cutting overhaul at Disney’s studio, which oversees the music group.” The following artists are probably wondering what they did to deserve the rug to be pulled out from under them – Bucky Covington, Kevin Fowler, Love & Theft, Sarah Buxton, The Parks, and Tyler Dickerson.
It just goes to show you, you never know what tomorrow will bring. Layoffs and realignments happen in other industries, the music business is not immune to cut backs and change. Time will tell if the changes are a response to the current national economic climate or more specifically the declining music business revenues. Maybe the words of King Solomon will help put these growing pains into perspective…
To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal …
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance …
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.