Backbeat: Nokia Music, Eli Young Band, Musicians on Call, Billboard Join Forces for Nashville Event
Backbeat: Nokia Music, Eli Young Band, Musicians on Call, Billboard Join Forces for Nashville Event

nokia (L-R): Chris Thompson, Mike Eli, Elizabeth Mitchell (Nokia), Jon Jones, Anthony Montenegro (Nokia), James Young, Scott Welch (Musicians On Call), Theo Gupta (Nokia), Henrik Bowadt (Nokia).

Nokia Music, together with Billboard Magazine and Musicians on Call, introduced its new free streaming music service to Nashville's music industry on Friday with a luncheon at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum hosted by Billboard's Ray Waddell.

The Eli Young Band, who have donated time to Musicians on Call, performed a special acoustic set for the gathering. Earlier in the day the group went to the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System's Nashville campus to visit with and perform for 30 patients on kidney dialysis.

eyb Mike Eli and Jon Jones of the Eli Young Band perform in Nashville.

Speeches were brief during the luncheon, as everyone wanted to hear the performance. The Texas-based group performed several of their hits as well as the new single, "Say Goodnight." Mike Eli joked prior to singing the song that they were going to be the first band in country music to have a science fiction video -- and later confirmed that their next video will feature a robot.

On a more serious note, Eli told Billboard.biz, "With us living in Texas, being part of Musicians on Call has been tough [because the organization doesn't have a program in Texas], but we like to do our part to help out. Going out to the hospital today was the first time we've been able to do something like that in Nashville. It was incredible to see so much optimism in their eyes.

waddell Manuel, legendary designer of country suits and wardrobe, with Billboard's Ray Waddell.

"Today was an opportunity for us to say thanks to gentlemen who have given so much and sacrificed so much for our country and for us. It's nice that our music put a smile on their face and made their day a little bit better, especially the ones going through tough times."

Band member Jon Jones added, "There was a guy named Allan whose birthday was today. He had been a Navy SEAL for 28 years, and he couldn't have been more upbeat about his life and everything. He was really inspiring."

Nokia presented a $10,000 dollar check to Musicians on Call at the end of the luncheon. Scott Welch, chairman of board for Musicians on Call/Nashville, said they can run an entire program at one hospital for a year with that amount of money.

Also in attendance at the event were CMT's Leslie Fram; Scott Welch of Musicians On Call; Tiffany Davis, IEBA; Tony Conway, Conway Entertainment Group; Janet Leese, Starstruck Studios; Braeden Rountree, WME; Brian Hill, Paradigm Talent Agency; Brock Jones, Global Spectrum; Sally Williams, Ryman Auditorium; and Brad Bissell, CAA.

hospital The Eli Young Band stopped by the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcase System's Nashville campus to meet with and perform for patients on kidney dialysis.

Nokia Music, a mobile service exclusive to Nokia Lumia handsets, is designed for people to discover music, according to Anthony Montenegro, Head of Americas, Nokia Music at Nokia. Consumers can stream unlimited music from a suite of over 150 exclusive playlists curated by the company's team of musicologists, along with playlists created by artists like Rihanna and Lady Gaga. The service is ad-free and requires no registration or subscription. Fans can also use the service's Gig Finder, which locates their position and leads them to live concerts and events in the immediate area. Nokia Music is available offline so consumers can listen to their favorite playlists at any time and place.

mac (L-R): The Ryman Auditorium's Sally Williams; CAA's Brad Bissell; MAC Presents' Marcie Allen; and Nokia's Elizabeth Mitchell pose for a photo.

Nashville is Nokia Music's third launch city; the first was in New York with a Green Day concert and a special launch luncheon in partnership with Billboard., followed by an event in Atlanta with Theophilus London. "With the diversity of the music in the U.S. it is extremely important to us to launch in iconic music cities like Nashville, New York and Los Angeles," Montenegro said. "We are grateful for the Eli Young Band, Billboard, Musicians On Call, and the Music City's music community for making our Nokia Music launch event a success. It's truly inspiring to have so many people come together in support of such a great cause."

allen CMT's Leslie Fram poses with Nokia's Mitchell and MAC's Allen.

Musicians on Call has 11 programs in seven hospitals in the Nashville area which are run on a weekly basis. The organization has programs in Washington, D.C., New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Nashville and Los Angeles. They plan to add programs in two additional cities in 2013. Anyone wanting to be a part of the program can go to the website, musiciansoncall.org, for more information.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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