The British are coming!

Why more Brits than ever are on their way to Nashville

Pop quiz: What’s the biggest industry in Music City?  No, it’s not music, it’s healthcare. But ‘Healthcare City’ doesn’t sound half as much fun as Music City, and Nashville’s musical heritage accounts for millions of dollars in tourist revenue.  Much of that revenue comes from foreign visitors and that revenue is set to increase still further. The reason: direct flights to Nashville from London’s Heathrow Airport.

Two recent news stories – one from each side of the Atlantic – look at Nashville from different perspectives. ‘Boom (Chicka-Boom) Town’ by Chris Parton in the January issue of Nashville Lifestyles magazine interviews nine ‘movers and shakers’ in Nashville’s music industry.

Meanwhile, a story in London’s Sunday Times, dated December 31, 2017, tells British readers why they “should join the hoedown in 2018” by flying to Nashville. The article’s author, Rich Hall, should know what he’s talking about. He is an American performer whose comedy and country music show, Rich Hall’s Hoedown, tours the UK from February to June, often adopting the character of Tennessee country musician Otis Lee Crenshaw.

‘More than one style’ of country music

Rich Hall. Photo: David Donaldson

Hall makes a point of mentioning several venues familiar to Nashville residents but probably less so to overseas visitors. He writes that there’s more than one style of country music. “Station Inn is spectacular for bluegrass,” says Hall. “And at 3rd and Lindsley, every Monday night, a 10-piece band called the Time Jumpers takes the stage, featuring Andy Reiss and Vince Gill (guitars), Paul Franklin (steel) and leader Ranger Doug (playing killer rhythm on an old Stromberg). If you’ve never heard western swing music, prepare for a religious conversion.”

Brits are notorious for being bad tippers, as tipping is less expected in Britain. Mentioning several of Lower Broad’s honky tonks, Rich says, “There’s a bucket at the foot of the stage. That’s for tips. Be generous, you tight-fisted British miserlings.”

Thank you, Rich! Let’s hope your readers make a note of that!

‘Behind the Scenes’ in Music City

Back at Nashville Lifestyles’ Music Issue (subtitled ‘Behind the Scenes of Our Signature industry’), the story notes that: “According to the Nashville Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Regional Economic Development Guide, the area’s population has now ballooned to more than 1.8 million people and, in 2016, was joined by 13.9 million visitors.”  Those visitors made an impact of $5.7 billion on the city.

If you are part of the music industry, yours is one of 56,000 jobs that are maintained as a result of music in Nashville, according to Chamber estimates. The magazine article quotes the Music City Music Council’s report that 8,000 jobs are directly involved in music making, with 190+ recording studios in the city. “Nashville is currently home to 10 times more music activity than either Los Angeles or New York,” reports writer Chris Parton in Nashville Lifestyles.

‘Challenges’ for Nashville’s music creators

Bart Herbison. Photo: NSAI

But some of Nashville’s music creators are facing challenges. “Songwriters and publishers have seen a huge payment disparity in the streaming area versus the artists and record labels,” Bart Herbison, Executive director of Nashville Songwriters Association (NSAI) explained to Parton. “On the performance side, [artists and labels] get 88 cents for every 12 cents we get, and, on the sales-royalty side, it’s seven-to-one or greater. So, we’re trying to fix that.” (A note from Preshias: for more information on the Songwriter Equity Act, see an earlier post at

Among the other Nashville music execs interviewed for the Nashville Lifestyles story are Kos Weaver, Executive VP of BMG Nashville, Mike Dungan, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, Nashville, and Shannan Hatch, Creative Director of SESAC, and several others. All offer professional insight into Nashville’s music industry and where it is heading.

Rob Beckham. Photo: Music Row Magazine

Rob Beckham, partner at WME/IMG points out that in the past, country acts rarely toured abroad. “But now that international audiences can access the music as easily as domestic audiences, we are seeing an increased demand to bring our acts overseas,” he told Parton.

Which brings us back to the article written by Rich Hall for the Sunday Times in London, England. American-born Hall is a comedian who has become popular in Britain and is frequently featured on BBC TV shows.

“Behind Lower Broadway stands the mecca of country music, the Ryman Auditorium, original home of the Grand Ole Opry. Giants walked here. Stand on the center-stage circle and channel the ghosts of Hank Williams, Chet Atkins and Tammy Wynette. The Opry still broadcasts from there on weekends from November to January. Do not, however, confuse this with Opryland, a Disneyfied tourist hellhole on the outskirts of town, designed to separate rubes from the contents of their wallets.”Rich Hall

In addition to mentioning Nashville’s music venues, Hall recommends Brit visitors sample Nashville hot chicken, country ham, grits, Goo Goo Clusters and hash browns slathered in Cheez Whiz – though not necessarily all on the same plate.

Nashvillians are ‘just genuinely nice’

Hall’s article closes by mentioning that Nashville is exceptional because it is so friendly. In fact, Travel & Leisure magazine named Nashville one of  ‘America’s friendliest cities’. Nashvillians, says Hall, are: “Just genuinely nice. So much of America runs together these days. Nashville stands out.  After a short time here, you start wondering why the rest of the world can’t be this pleasant.”

British Airways’ new direct flights between London and Nashville are scheduled to begin in May 2018, so expect to hear even more Brit accents at this year’s CMA Music Festival, June 7 – 10. You can reach Rich Hall at

You can read the entire ‘Boom (Chicka-Boom) Town’ article and more about what’s happening in Music City in the January edition of Nashville Lifestyles, now at newsstands or go to

Preshias Harris is a music journalist and music career development consultant with the emphasis on new and aspiring artists and songwriters. Her book, ‘The College of Songology: The Singer/Songwriter’s Need to Know Reference Handbook’ is available at Follow her blog at

Songwriter news roundup

Vital issues affect creators’ rights

December is often a quiet time around the music industry, but this year there are a number of news items that can affect the lives of songwriters and recording artists.  Here are some you might want to check out.

BMI Songwriters Win 100% Licensing Ruling

On December 19, NSAI posted the following news bulletin: Today the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals put the issue of 100% licensing to rest by affirming an earlier ruling by BMI rate court Judge Louis Stanton.

“The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) is thrilled and relieved that BMI songwriters no longer have to be concerned about the U.S. Department of Justice’s misguided ruling on 100% licensing,” said NSAI President Steve Bogard.  “We congratulate BMI CEO Mike O’Neil and his team on this important victory and hope the DOJ now releases ASCAP from their ruling that was delivered in 2016.  The time has come to discuss sun-setting or updating the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees so that songwriters can earn fair performance royalty rates from streaming services.”

More about NSAI at

HAAWK –that tracks revenue for rights holders – buys Royalty Claim and TuneRegistry

From a report at HAAWK, a rights management and content monetization firm started by Ad-Rev co-founder Ryan Born, has acquired RoyaltyClaim and TuneRegistry. Terms of the deal were not disclosed although Haawk had previously raised $2.5 million in seed venture capital from Rincon Venture Partners.

Prior to this current acquisition, HAAWK bought certain assets from Dart Music, which specialized in cleaning up music rights metadata, among other rights management services. That company filed for bankruptcy last summer and its assets were sold in separate deals to HAAWK and Core Rights LLC this fall.  Continue reading the Billboard story here.

Songwriters: Support H.R. 3945, a bill to create a Small Claims Court

An email sent out by The Copyright Alliance urges creators (including songwriters) to support a bill in Congress that would establish a way for individuals to fight infringement of their rights. The text of the email reads:

Join the copyright community in asking your Congressional Representative to cosponsor H.R. 3945, the CASE Act of 2017, a bill that would create a copyright small claims court for creators and small businesses (It’s quick and easy to do!)

For many photographers, illustrators, authors, songwriters and other creators who own copyrighted works, enforcing their rights is not feasible. Litigation is expensive and many creators simply can’t afford it. In effect, the U.S. copyright system currently provides creators with rights but no effective remedies.

Continue reading the Copyright Alliance story here.

“Celebrate… Listen To The Music”

Tin Pan South 2017: the biggest yet

“Celebrate, Celebrate, Listen To The Music” was the theme in Music City where Nashville hosts Tin Pan South. It’s the world’s largest songwriter festival and 2017 marked its 25th anniversary! The festival invites more than 300 songwriters and this year they performed over 100 shows for the first time.

Dedicated to the songs and those that write them, Tin Pan South is a yearly event in Music City where fans get a unique, up-close-and-personal experience with the music they love. The music is a five day event, spread out across the city with showcases each night at various venues. Visitors get to enjoy intimate shows from world famous musical acts alongside up-and-coming artists from all across Nashville.

The stories behind the songs

What makes Tin Pan South unique is that the talented artists and songwriters that penned your favorite songs tell the stories behind those songs, and perform them in their original form. Nowhere else in the world can you hear so much original music in one place. With the immense creativity living and working in Music City, Nashville is the natural home to Tin Pan South. The music is inspired here, created here, recorded and performed here. Tin Pan South in Music City is the ultimate musical experience – in its most raw and original form.

Five nights of hit writers and their songs

Monday night was the festival’s kickoff party, hosted by Regions Bank who celebrated their ten year platinum sponsorship of Tin Pan South. Organizers of the 25th Annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival showed their deep gratitude to the following Platinum and Gold Corporate Partners: Regions Bank – Presenting Partner, Southwest Airlines – Official Airline Partner, News Channel 5 – Official Broadcast Partner, Jack Daniel’s – Official Club Show Partner, Vident Financial, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, Ford and Ole’ music group.

L to R: Casey Beathard, Tucker Beathard, Jonathan Singleton & Luke Cooombs. Photo: Catrina Engelby

Tuesday Night: We hit Whiskey Rhythm, first to watch “A Benefit for SOURCE” with Danielle Bradbery, Jaida Dreyer, Jo Smith and Lari White. What a talented round. Danielle showcased her new co-penned tunes that she has been working on. I cannot wait till she has a new project out. Then we boot scooted over to the Hard Rock Café to catch Father (Casey) and son (Newcomer) Tucker Beathard along with hit songwriter Jonathan Singleton and newcomer Luke Coombs. Continue reading ““Celebrate… Listen To The Music””

Tin Pan South returns for ‘biggest event in 25 years’

350+ songwriters to perform at 100 shows

Songwriters from all over America (and beyond) are already clearing their calendars to be part of the biggest week of the year for those who share their craft.

The Tin Pan South 2017 poster designed by Micah Mathewson, Watkins College of Art, Design & Film

The Silver Anniversary of The Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival has bumped the scheduled show count up to triple digits. For the first time in the event’s 25-year history, fans will have the opportunity to choose between over 350 songwriters performing at a record 100 shows at ten of Nashville’s top venues March 28 through April 1, 2017. 3rd & Lindsley has a full slate of 10 shows, and Blue Bar, The Bluebird Cafe, The Country, Commodore Grille, Douglas Corner, Hard Rock Cafe, the Listening Room Cafe, Station Inn and Whiskey Rhythm are back to present nightly shows.

Produced by Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), Tin Pan South reigns as the world’s largest all-songwriter festival. Regions Bank returns for the tenth year as the presenting sponsor of the Festival.

‘All Show’ passes available

Planning to go to some of the shows? First stop: where you can buy passes for the entire festival. The price is $115.00 for NSAI members and $125.00 for non-members. Note that passes cannot be purchased by phone and must be picked up at the NSAI office as they will not be mailed out. Continue reading “Tin Pan South returns for ‘biggest event in 25 years’”

Songwriters’ Hall of Fame Gala inspires budding writers

Hit writers’ night to shine

Nashville’s music industry got together Monday night to honor four of songwriting’s finest at the annual Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala at Music City Center. Aaron Barker, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Bob Morrison and Townes Van Zandt were inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, bringing the total number of honorees over the years to 203.

I was proud to sponsor the ‘Preshias Music Family’ table at the Gala and it was a pleasure to bring about a dozen young songwriters and singer-songwriters to join in the recognition of these great writers and to hear their amazing stories.

The 'future Stars' in Preshias Music Family
The ‘future Stars’ in Preshias Music Family

We took a ‘photo opp’ just before we headed to our table. Pictured left-to-right are my ‘Class of 2016’: Nick Halsted, Bailey Callahan, Nick DeLeo, Lindsey Rebecca Harding, Carmen Mariea, Justin T. Dukes, Nikki Moore, Hannah Emerson, Anna Barrow, Courtney Bumbacher and Marie Mattei.

Here a few brief notes that, really, are far too brief to describe the achievements of the four Hall of Fame inductees:

Aaron Barker

Aaron Barker
Aaron Barker

It was a very special personal thrill for me to see Aaron receive the honor that is definitely his due. Aaron and I became friends when I joined BNA Records as an intern and he was a recording artist with the label. It was my first job in the music industry and Aaron was so gracious and helpful to this newbie!

The first of Aaron’s songs to be recorded was “Baby Blue” that was a Number One hit for George Strait in 1988. Not a bad start to a long career that included “Love Without End” (another George Strait chart-topper) and many more hits. In his acceptance speech, he encouraged young writers – like those seated at my table – to take advantage of opportunities to write with veteran songwriters, combining “the words and rhythms of today” with the experience that older writers can provide. More about Aaron here.

Bob Morrison

Bob Morrison Photo: Nash Country Daily
Bob Morrison
Photo: Nash Country Daily

Speaking of songwriters with many years of success, Bob Morrison was recognized with his award as a ‘veteran songwriter.’ Among Bob’s huge hits: “You Decorated My Life” for Kenny Rogers, and “Whiskey if You Were a Woman” – co-written with Johnny MacRae and my great friend Mary W. Francis – for Highway 101.

In a long career, Bob has penned chartbusters for acts as diverse as Johnny Lee (“Lookin’ For Love”) and The Oak Ridge Boys (“You’re the One”). A list of Bob’s songs can be found here.

Beth Nielsen Chapman

Beth Nielsen Chapman
Beth Nielsen Chapman

It was inspiring to hear Beth talk of the time when she almost gave up on her dream of being a singer-songwriter after her debut album flopped. She was performing at a hotel in Alabama and Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys was in the audience. He kept asking to hear another and another of her songs. Beth said that his encouragement reset her career compass.

Beth’s story is a life-lesson for fledgling songwriters who feel that they should just throw in the towel when in fact success could be just around the corner. She went on to create such iconic songs as “This Kiss,” a monster hit for Faith Hill as well as songs recorded by Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, Lorrie Morgan, Alabama and many more. Click here for Beth’s website.

Townes Van Zandt

Townes Van Zandt
Townes Van Zandt

The award to Townes Van Zandt was presented posthumously: he passed away on New Year’s Day 1997 at the age of 53. The award was accepted by his daughter, Katie. His biggest hit was “Pancho and Lefty,” recorded by Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, and he wrote “If I Needed You” a hit for Don Williams and EmmyLou Harris. Van Zandt was regarded as a mentor and an inspiration to a generation of writers who followed in his wake. More about Townes Van Zandt here.

The evening was crammed with amazing performances by artists such as Olivia Newton-John, Kim Carnes, The Indigo Girls, Mac Davis, Phil Vassar, Mo Pitney and many more. Additionally, the Nashville Songwriters Association International was on hand to name the ten songs from the past year that NSAI members had voted on as “Songs I Wish I’d Written.” For a list of those songs, see a story posted at CMT’s website.

An amazing evening and, for the budding songwriters at my table, an inspiration for what might lie ahead in their own careers.