>• BMG Chrysalis has added Drew Ramsey to its writer roster. Ramsey, with production partner Shannon Sanders has co-written hit songs for artists such as John Legend, Johnny Lang,Robert Randolph and the Family Band and India.Arie.
>• Caution: Steep Decline. Sales update 4-13-14. According to Nielsen SoundScan, total sales of physical and digital country albums are down 18.4% compared with the same period last year. Country digital track sales are down 19.7%. Last year (2013) country album sales fell 10.7% so it appears that the rate of declining sales is getting steeper. The April 6 ACM Awards, once a huge sales booster, marginally helped a few artists, but overall country sales actually decreased week over week (4/6; 4/13). Upcoming high profile releases include Eric Church (4/19) and Hunter Hayes (5/6).
>• The Sound Exchange Influencers Series will “spotlight the importance and power of all generations of music while simultaneously raising awareness around the value of music.” The series will take place four times during 2014 at The Bluebird Cafe. Proceeds from the inaugural event will go to Belmont University’s John Hughey Scholarship, established by Vince Gill. The first show (SOLD OUT) will take place April 22 with Richie Furray (Buffalo Springfield, Poco), Vince Gill and country duo Striking Matches.
>• A Fourth PRO? Azoff MSG Entertainment is reportedly forming an invitation-only PRO that will limit itself to representing 40-60 writers, including artists managed by Irving Azoff. According to Billboard, One Republic frontman Ryan Tedder has RSVP’d yes. The new PRO is designed like SESAC and therefore not bound by consent decrees that regulate royalty rates. The article notes that this new strategy could prove, “prescient.”
>• Beats Beginnings. The newest entry into the streaming music sweepstakes, Beats Music is finding it’s harder than it looks to win. According to Billboards’s Yinka Adegoke and Alex Pham, early estimated subscription numbers for the Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre partnership have yet to “catch fire.” Beats introduced a bundling partnership with AT&T (110 million customers). However, its chief competitor, Spotify, is set to mimic that move by bundling with Sprint (54 million customers). Conversion rate is the most watched metric by record labels. Spotify after 2.5 years and millions of dollars worth of free music, has about 2 million paid subscribers in the U.S.