On Music Row: Country chart features three top 10 debuts

Monday, August 18, 2008 at 4:01am

The sales week ending Aug. 10 included Top 10 country album debuts from Heidi Newfield, Keith Anderson and Jamey Johnson.

Unfortunately, their debut scans were not sufficient to offset a 47 percent Sugarland sales drop as the total number of Top 75 Current Country scans fell 6 percent to 454,519 units.

Delving into the debuts, Newfield’s first offering without former bandmates Trick Pony saddled a nice 34,417-unit first week to pony up behind Sugarland in the No. 2 spot. Anderson nabbed No. 3 with 31,936 units and Jamey Johnson’s No. 6 disc, That Lonesome Song, closed out the debuts in the Top 10 with 16,924 units.

The big picture, however, remains mostly unchanged. Year to date, all genre album sales are off 11 percent.

Country album sales are off 14 percent. Country digital album sales, while up 27 percent over last year, still average a modest 7.4 percent of total country album sales, less than half the all-format average.

Big Machine/Valory adds VP

Big Machine Records/ The Valory Music Co. has hired industry veteran Allison Jones as vice president of A&R for both labels.

The move reunites Jones with label President and CEO Scott Borchetta, with whom she worked at DreamWorks Records, handling Artist & Repertoire for successful artists including Toby Keith and Darryl Worley.

During that time, Jones and Borchetta also worked with Jimmy Wayne and Danielle Peck, who were then signed to DreamWorks but are now with Valory and Big Machine, respectively. Jones was most recently the VP of A&R for Show Dog Records, home to Keith and others.

‘I’ve stayed away from an ‘official’ A&R person since we opened because most of our first signings were singer/songwriters which were predominantly self-contained,’ Borchetta said. But ‘Allison is the perfect compliment to me, our roster and our staffs and she instinctively knows what to do — this will be seamless.’

Simon signs on with Stroudavarious

Today marks Derek Simon’s first day as vice president of marketing and artist development at Stroudavarious Records, the new label started by acclaimed producer James Stroud.

Simon recently stepped down from his position as general manager and interim president at Equity Music Group, where he has been working since 2004. After serving at some of New York’s biggest companies, including Columbia Records, Roadrunner Records, and Universal Records, Simon made the move to Music Row in 2002 when he was offered the position of Vice President of Marketing for Lost Highway Records, a division of UMG Nashville.

Stroudavarious’s first release is due this fall from country hitmaker Darryl Worley.

ACM Honors to become annual Nashville event

The Academy of Country Music has created an annual event to honor award winners who were not recognized on-camera during the 43rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, held May 18 in Las Vegas. Martina McBride will host the private Academy of Country Honors on Sept. 17 at Nashville’s Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.

The event will recognize winners in the musician, bandleader, instrumentalist and Special Awards categories. Dick Clark will receive the Jim Reeves International Award, presented to an individual for outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music worldwide.

Bill Anderson and the late Fred Rose will receive the first-ever Poet’s Award, honoring songwriters for outstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their careers in the field of country music.

Brenda Lee, The Oak Ridge Boys, the late Conway Twitty and the late Porter Wagoner will receive the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award honoring individuals who blazed new trails in the country music genre.

Live Nation posts slim Q2 profit

Increases in the number of events (42 percent), total concert attendance (14 percent) and spending per fan at the shows (6 percent) added up to a small but unexpected profit for Live Nation’s second quarter, which ended June 30.

The concert promoter’s net profit came in at $1.2 million, down 88 percent from $9.9 million for the same time last year. Revenue rose 18 percent to $1.2 billion. North American music, the company’s largest segment, saw revenue increase 33 percent to $620 million.

‘The concert environment remains strong and the fundamentals of our core business continue to improve,’ President and CEO Michael Rapino said in a prepared statement. ‘We have two priorities in 2008 — to continue to grow our concert business and to prepare to vertically expand into the ticketing business.’

© 2008 Music Row Magazine

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