Willie Nelson signs autographs for fans during the Summit. (Photo: Michael Seto)
The Billboard Country Music Summit for 2012 ended with a cocktail party and performances by some of Nashville's upcoming stars, Maggie Rose, Andy Gibson, Kate Armiger and Rachele Lynae. After two days of having information piled on them in heavy doses for eight hours a day, registrants were ready to relax and enjoy the music and a few last-minute conversations before packing it in and heading into the upcoming CMA Music Fest, which will close out the week.
Tim McFadden, vice president of promotion for Tenacity Records, says he loves coming back to the summit. "Every year there is such a wide range and variety of panels and information being handed to you," he explains. "I always come away with a handful of things that have offered me insight and given me information about this business, everything from artist management to social media."
(L-R): Country Music Association president Steve Moore with Billboard's Ray Waddell and editorial director Bill Werde. (Photo: Michael Seto)
Newcomer Connor Rose of Bowling Green, Ohio is a 16-year old performer who was attending the Summit for the first time. "It has been very helpful to me. Being new we as a team don't have all the answers so coming here has helped us figure out the place we need to go," he says.
Among the topics he cited as most helpful were the radio airplay panel and the Luke Bryan Q&A which showed the strategy behind developing an artist.
Enjoying themselves at the Summit are (from left) Clear Channel Media and Entertainment chairman/CEO John Hogan, Big Machine Label Group president/CEO Scott Borchetta, and Clear Channel VP of country programming Clay Hunnicutt. (Photo: Michael Seto)
"The most interesting thing I heard was that artists probably need to move to Nashville," Connor said. When asked if he wanted to do that, he said, "I'd move here just to be here. I really love this town."
Singer/songwriter Nancy Moran of Nashville found the panels that featured different artists most interesting, especially the one with Shooter Jennings on touring. "I thought Shooter was an interesting choice and I thought he really had an interesting perspective," she says. "He had some great comments because he could address the issue of new artists touring from both sides, that of an artist with a major label deal and without one. I thought the whole panel was very good."
TMG/AEG Live senior VP Ali Harnell admits she watches "Dancing With The Stars" on the tour bus. The men are (from left) Shooter Jennings, Conway Entertainment Group CEO Tony Conway, Global Spectrum VP of booking Brock Jones, RodeoHouston managing director of entertainment Jason Kane, and Live Nation Country Music president Brian O'Connell. (Photo: Michael Seto)
Jeff Walker, head of AristoMedia and one of the main organizers of the international activities this week, was pleased with the International Artists Panel which he moderated. "There are a lot of international people who work in the industry in town this week and we were able to take advantage of that for the panel," he explains.
"We had some amazing talent performing, 22 acts in all, and so many people were interested in the international acts. We had some of the international tour operators who requested tickets to the two global shows. Plus there are lots of chances for booking and scouting talent this week."
Y Entertainment Group CEO Rick Stevens (left) clinches a bet with singer Mike Farris (right) as Billboard's Ray Waddell looks on. (Photo: Michael Seto)
One of the hot topics of discussion was the announcement Tuesday between Big Machine Records and Clear Channel, which owns 850 radio stations, for the label's artists to receive a share of Clear Channel's terrestrial broadcast radio revenue.
Other hot topics were social media and how artists can use it to their advantage, and the fact that artists must work harder as record companies offer less promotional money for tours and other things they once supported.
(L-R): Warner Music Nashville VP of consumer and interactive marketing Jeremy Holley, ThrillCall co-founder Jonathan Leone, Sony Music Nashville VP of artist development/marketing and web initiatives Heather McBee, BubbleUp Interactive VP of brand strategy Pinky Gonzales, "Country Music Chat" (#cmchat) host/creator Jessica Northey and RootMusic founder J Sider. (Photo: Michael Seto)
Live Nation Country Music president Brian O'Connell (left) visually demonstrates why he prefers bus travel over flying for Global Spectrum VP of boooking Brock Jones (center) and Conway Entertainment Group CEO Tony Conway. (Photo: Michael Seto)
(L-R): Mark Bracco, ABC Entertainment Senior Vice President, Alternative Series and Specials; Steve Moore, CMA Chief Executive Officer; and Gary Overton, CMA Board Chairman and Sony Music Nashville Chief Executive Officer backstage at the CMA Awards. (Photo: Abigail Bobo/CMA)