New York-based Robbins Entertainment, best known for its pop and dance releases, is expanding into the country market and has opened a Nashville division.

Veteran journalist Phyllis Stark joins Robbins Nashville as VP of A&R and will also run the company's Nashville office. Additional staff announcements are expected shortly.

Robbins Entertainment was launched in 1996 by veteran record executive Cory Robbins and is distributed by Sony BMG.

Stark spent 17 years at the Billboard Information Group, where she served in various editorial and managerial capacities. She also served on the Country Music Assn. board of directors for three years.

"As a longtime fan of country music, I view this expansion into the Nashville market as a natural progression for Robbins Entertainment," Robbins said in a prepared statement. "There is such an abundance of talent here, and independent labels have really become a force to be reckoned with in this genre.

"When I decided to expand into Nashville, my first and only choice of who I wanted do this with was Phyllis Stark," added Robbins.

"I'm particularly enthusiastic about working with the Nashville music community to find and nurture new talent," Stark added.

Robbins Nashville has opened at 1026B 18th Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37212 and can be reached at 615-320-1990.