On Music Row: echo operations moving to L.A.

Sunday, April 19, 2009 at 11:11pm

Ticketmaster will restructure and greatly trim the footprint of its echo division in Nashville, laying off about 60 employees in the process. It is believed that a small presence will remain related to ticketing and artist services. The transition is scheduled to take place in mid-June.

An Internet marketing and e-commerce company, echo works with more than 300 performing artists and corporations. It specializes in branding, Web development, digital distribution of music and merchandise and online advertising.

Ticketmaster acquired the company in March 2007 with the goal of providing echo clients more opportunities to distribute music, concert tickets and merchandise directly to fans. It also provided a financial shot in the arm, allowing echo to grow its staff by about a third.

But co-founder Mark Montgomery announced in late January he was leaving the firm, saying he needed to take “the first real breather I have had since I started working.” Soon after, he was replaced by Tawn Albright, Ticketmaster’s VP of corporate development, and about 10 percent of the staff was laid off.

TV show spotlights songwriters

Legends & Lyrics, a new Public Television show spotlighting high-profile artist and songwriters alongside some of their not-so-well-known peers, will air weekly through April and May.

In each episode, artists including Kris Kristofferson, Kenny Loggins, Charlie Daniels, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, John Hiatt, 3 Doors Down, Kip Winger and others perform “in-the-round,” sharing their most memorable songs and the inspiration behind them. A “Rising Star” segment will feature artists and writers including The Laws, Stephanie Chapman, Jonathan Singleton, Will Hoge and others.

Legends & Lyrics blends live performances from intimate halls, with season one shot in Shreveport’s Scottish Rite Theatre and in Nashville at the historic Masonic Lodge. Also woven into each episode are one-on-one conversations with legendary artists such as Garth Brooks, Loretta Lynn and Ray Stevens. For more information visit legendsandlyrics.com.

Opry opens Broadway shop

Opry Originals: The Shop On Broadway, a Grand Ole Opry-themed retail store, opened its Lower Broad doors late last week.

A rhinestone-studded ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Monday and will be followed by a week of grand opening events. The 5,000-square-foot store at 300 Broadway showcases Opry-branded clothing, local artisan merchandise, a new Opry Country Kitchen line of various products.

Among the store’s apparel offerings will be an “Opry by Manuel” collection of jackets, shirts and jeans designed exclusively for the Opry by legendary clothier Manuel. The 300 Broadway structure was built circa 1911 as the home of the Broadway National Bank.

Promotions at SESAC, RCA

SESAC has announced the promotion of Hunter Williams to senior vice president of strategic development/distribution and research operations. Williams began his career with SESAC more than 16 years ago and most recently served as VP of royalty distribution and research services.

In his new role, Williams will be responsible for developing new business opportunities utilizing SESAC’s licensing, distribution and copyright management capabilities. He will also continue to oversee SESAC’s royalty distribution operations and research division.

Separately, RCA Records Nashville has promoted Norbert Nix to national director of promotion for the label. Most recently regional director, Nix joined RCA Nashville in July 2006 with a 20-year background in the music industry.

— www.musicrow.com