Pranking Spotify, Shane McAnally Wins ACM Songwriter,
Big Machine Gets Bigger, Starstruck Returns and more…
>• The ACM 49th Annual Awards are set for April 6 but the organization has started the festivities with some important off-camera announcements that will be honored on Sept. 9, 2014 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. See the complete list here
Studio Recording Awards (Formerly the MBI Awards)
Bass Player: Michael Rhodes
Drummer: Shannon Forrest
Guitar Player: Rob McNelley
Piano/Keyboards: Charlie Judge
Specialty Instrument(s): Bryan Sutton
Steel Guitar: Paul Franklin
Audio Engineer: Justin Niebank
Producer: Dann Huff
Songwriter of the Year: Shane McAnally
Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award: Bob Beckham-“remembered as a true music fan who took chances on unknown songwriters.”
>• Gmail Boosts Security—The Official Google Blog announces that its email now uses encrypted HTTPS connections in all cases and for 100% of its traffic both sending and receiving. “Today’s change means that no one can listen in on your messages as they go back and forth between you and Gmail’s servers—no matter if you’re using public WiFi or logging in from your computer, phone or tablet.”
>• Big Machine Gets Bigger—The indie that began as an impossible dream has now added a fourth imprint. Dot will be a joint venture between BMLG and Republic who previously partnered on Republic Nashville which has yielded hit acts like The Band Perry and Florida Georgia Line. According to the New York Times, no artists have been signed to the label yet, although CEO Scott Borchetta said, “this will give us the opportunity to continue aggressively in the country space.”
>• Starstruck Writers Group—Sold to Warner/Chappell in 2000, the publisher has reopened under the leadership of Jimmy Metts. Starstruck Ent. COO Cliff Williamson told MusicRow, “For months we’ve been laying the foundation gathering a group of special writers.” Writers at the newly re-energized company include Liz Hengber and Will Robinson.
>• Twitter Drops @# Symbols To Woo First Timers—Reports are surfacing that the 140 character messaging system may begin to deemphasize hashtags and “@” signs, both seen as building blocks by many of the tweeting faithful. Vivian Schiller, Twitter head of news partnerships said, “By bringing the content of Twitter forward and pushing the scaffolding of the language of Twitter to the background, we can increase high-quality interactions and make it more likely that new or casual users will find this service as indispensable as our existing core users do.” [What?] Twitter is also experimenting with a new feature to show users how many others have viewed their tweets.
>• Rising Women—MusicRow honored Julie Boos (Co-owner Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy), Caryl Healey (VP Sales, Sony Music Nashville), Kelly Rich (Sr. VP, Sales, Marketing & Interactive, Big Machine Label Group), Ebie McFarland (Owner, Essential Broadcast Media) and Alicia Pruitt (Sr. Director, A&R, Warner/Chappell) March 21. The sold-out breakfast at the Omni Hotel saluted five women from different segments of Nashville’s music industry who have become substantial contributors and visionary leaders.
>• Spring Break Hotties—Facebook has compiled a list of the hottest Spring Break beach destinations based upon check-ins from users age 18-24, and for family-friendly destinations, age 25 and older. (Spoiler: four of the top ten beaches are in Florida and four in California)
>• Watch My Watch—The time for the smart watch hardware category is fast arriving. Google has revealed its latest wrist designs plus offered detailed insight on its wearable software operating system—Android Wear. Wired offers a balanced discussion on what this new offering must acomplish to gain marketplace traction saying, “For a smartwatch to make sense, it has to let you do things more quickly than you could by pulling your smartphone out of your pocket.” Click Here..
>• Digital Songwriter Dollars—Music Business Association, formerly NARM and digitalmusic.org hosted an event March 24 at Douglas Corner titled Digital Songwriter $$$$. Panelists included Jay Frank, DigSin; John Beiter, Shackelford, Melton & McKinley; Noah Gordon, Average Joes Entertainment; Steve Bogard, Copyright Forum; Ken Tucker, Beats Music; and moderator Robby Towns, Music Business Association. Highlights included Frank urging all online music rights holders to get the free Music Business Association Metadata Style Guide. [HERE]. Tucker said proudly, “At Beats Music we believe music is worth paying for.” Steve Bogard and John Beiter noted the extreme difference in how the digital royalty pie is divided between publisher/songwriters and label/artists because labels are able to negotiate while songwriters are saddled with a compulsory rate.
>• Pranking The Spotify Bank—Funk troupe Vulfpeck has asked fans to help them fund a free tour by streaming the group’s 10-song album on repeat while fan’s sleep. What’s unique is that the tracks—each over 30 seconds long to register as a Spotify play—are completely silent, giving rise to the album’s clever title, Sleepify. “They pay us a half-cent for one listen,” says band leader Jack Stratton in the video, “so if you listen all night on repeat you will generate $4.” The band also promises to base the routing on its Sleepify tour on where the album is “happening the most.” Watch the short video!