Are these really the best albums of 2017?

When it comes to music, everyone has their own opinion about what is ‘best.’  Below are some links to “Best 2017 Album” lists, plus important news about legislation that will affect songwriters’ income… and a Justin Timberlake video you just gotta see! But we’ll start with an item about a company creating laminates that deliver complete albums, videos and photos to your fans.

Check out these interactive souvenir laminates from iDitty

iDitty laminate for Big & Rich

Artists looking for something that’s both nifty and original might want to check out a neat product from iDitty, a state-of-the art tech company that manufactures digital, interactive souvenir laminates. They offer a customizable, fan-oriented “All-Access” laminate designed to make artist happenings and music accessible in real time at the swipe of a finger.

Since its formation in 2014, award-winning country music entertainers, legends and chart-toppers (Big & Rich, Kelsea Ballerini, Chris Young, Charlie Daniels and Tracy Lawrence), along with some of today’s hottest newcomers (Lee Brice, Justin Moore and Joe Denim) have aligned with iDitty to move full album sales. Collectively, iDitty claims $2.5 million in music sales to date, and Music Row Influentials validate the one-of-a-kind merch item as “the CD replacement.”  For more information, visit iDitty.com or contact Hugh Kirkpatrick here: hughkirkpatrick@comcast.net.

Best albums of 2017

Question: What were the best albums of 2017?  Answer:  Depends on who you ask. You can find Rolling Stone’s ’50 Best Albums of 2017’ here. Meanwhile, NPR (National Public Radio) have prepared their own Top 50 album list here.   When it comes to Country, there are several lists to pick from.  Start with Taste of Country’s  ’10 Country Albums That Stood Above the Rest in 2017’ here. and then check Billboard’s ‘The 10 Best Country Albums of 2017: Critics’ Choice’ at the magazine’s website.   No doubt, with every list, you’ll say, “What?! How could they leave out [insert your favorite album name here]!”

“Songwriters are the lifeblood of Music City”

In late December, Congressmen Doug Collins (R-GA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) introduced “The Music Modernization Act Of 2017” (HR 4706), legislation designed to improve songwriter royalty rates from digital streaming companies while making the music licensing process more efficient.

In a story published at musicrow.com, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) says, “Songwriters are the lifeblood of Music City, and their paychecks ought to be based on the fair market value of their songs – so that when they write a hit heard around the world, you can see it in their billfolds.” Alexander continued, “We intend to introduce legislation that we have been working on for months to help songwriters receive fair market compensation early next year, and we will be including in our legislation many of the same provisions that were in the House bill introduced today.”

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander and Utah Senator Orrin Hatch were noted as guiding forces throughout this process, years in the making. A Senate version of the legislation will be introduced in early 2018. Read the full Music Row story here.

And finally…

Justin Timberlake – way before NSYNC

Justin Timberlake, age 11

Some people muttered “He ain’t Country,” when Justin Timberlake appeared onstage with Chris Stapleton during the 2015 CMA Awards for their “Tennessee Whiskey” duet.  But Justin’s country roots go w-a-y back to when he was just a tyke growing up in Shelby Forest, Tennessee.

If you haven’t already seen it, take a look at a young Timberlake performing an Alan Jackson song on Star Search here.

Music Row Award Winners honored

Music Row’s Song of the Year: “Blue Ain’t Your Color”

MusicRow, Nashville’s leading music industry publication, presented its 29th annual subscriber-voted awards on Wednesday, June 28, during a private ceremony hosted for the first time by SESAC and sponsored by Anderson Benson insurance in the CMA event space.

MusicRow Song of the Year winning co-writers perform at the 29th Annual MusicRow Awards. Pictured (L-R): Clint Lagerberg, Steven Lee Olsen, Hillary Lindsey. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments by Moser

The 2017 MusicRow Awards recognized Song of the Year “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” recorded by Keith Urban and written by Hillary Lindsey, Clint Lagerberg and Steven Lee Olsen. Sony Nashville’s Maren Morris was honored as Breakthrough Artist. An award Morris received in 2016, Breakthrough Songwriter, went to Parallel Music Publishing’s Jesse Lee. Universal Music Group’s Lauren Alaina won the inaugural award category, Breakthrough Artist-Writer, for co-writing her first Top 10 hit, the No. 1 “Road Less Traveled.Jay Joyce received his second plaque for Producer of the Year, having worked in the studio with Eric Church, Brandy Clark, Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood, Brothers Osborne, Devin Dawson, LANCO, and The Wild Feathers.

Top 10 Album All-Stars

The event also recognized MusicRow’s Top 10 Album All-Stars, studio whiz kids who appeared on the most Billboard Top 10 album credits in eight categories over the past 12 months. Those players include: Jimmie Lee Sloas (bass), Justin Niebank (engineer), Aubrey Haynie (fiddle), Ilya Toshinskiy (guitar), Charles Judge (keyboards), Russell Terrell (vocals) and a tie for Fred Eltringham and Greg Morrow (guitar), and Dan Dugmore, Paul Franklin and Russ Pahl (steel).

“It’s our honor to feature the winners MusicRow subscribed members voted to become the 2017 class,” said MusicRow Owner/Publisher Sherod Robertson. “Often a key predictor of future awards ceremonies, these honors allow this publication’s subscribed members to select who they think best represents today’s top music makers. Our 2017 Top Ten Album All-Star Musician Awards salute studio players creating the sound that reaches all corners of the world.”

The MusicRow Awards was hosted for the first year by SESAC and sponsored for the second year by Nashville-based insurance company Anderson Benson, a company dedicated to serving and supporting the entertainment industry. Read more here