Business Matters: Rock City Club Joins Long List of Services For Indie Musicians
Business Matters: Rock City Club Joins Long List of Services For Indie Musicians

Rock City Club Joins Long List of Services For Indie Musicians

-- Rock City Club launched Thursday, making it the newest music service aimed at helping independent artists further their careers outside of the traditional music industry infrastructure. The Las Vegas-based service was founded by entrepreneur and promoter Jack Wishna through his company, Rockrena, Inc. Artists and fans can go to www.rockcityclub.com now to sign up through their Facebook or Twitter accounts.

The company says the online service will allow artists to reach new fans, sell their music online and also utilize the expertise of seasoned producers to lend their career development advice. Rock City Club's "Producers' Circle" includes Phil Ramone and Ron Dante.

Given the number of free marketing platforms artists can choose from, charging for this type of product is a bold step. The Rock City Club subscription service will cost artists $12.95 per month, and the company has set the aggressive goal of signing 150,000 artists in the first year. Although their value proposition may differ from that of Rock City Club, other marketing services such as ReverbNation and RootMusic offer both free and premium levels of service. When it comes to online services, the freemium model is incredibly popular because it gets people in the door.

Fans, who can sign up for free, bring the social element to the service. Here's how it works: the Rock City Club Facebook app will allow fans to organize their music for free without leaving the Facebook platform. By learning a fan's taste in music, the service will push music to fans in a way that helps member artists build their fan bases. Due to the power of network effects, the service will obviously become more valuable to artists the more fans sign up and actively use the service.

Wishna's team includes Nyhl Henson, former chairman and CEO of Country Music Television, NetZero co-founder Stacy Haitsuka, and Michael Dann, the broadcast television executive who was the head of programming at CBS from 1963 to 1970.

Cumulus/Citadel Acquisition Approved …

-- As expected, Citadel Broadcasting Corp. shareholders approved an acquisition by Cumulus Media Inc., the second-largest radio-station operator in the U.S. The combined company would have over 500 stations. The merger agreement has been adopted by 78.51 percent of the outstanding shares of Citadel Class A common stock and Class B common stock voting as a single class and 88.86 percent of the Class A and Class B shares of common stock voting. The deal is scheduled to close Friday, September 16.

On Wednesday, the FCC approved the acquisition. A week earlier, the Department of Justice told Cumulus it would need to sell three radio stations in two markets in win antitrust approval - one in the Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle, Pennsylvania market and one in the Flint, Michigan market. In all, 14 stations will be divested, including two in Nashville (WRQQ WNFN), two in Myrtle Beach (WJXY and WXJY) and one in Dallas (KKLF). (Press release)

… But It Gets a Thumbs-Down From FCC
-- FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps immediately voice his disapproval to the deal. "Time after time and in market after market, there are fewer independent options and fewer local voices," he lamented in a statement released Wednesday. Copps explained the two companies will need to divest "only 14 stations" to win approval of the FCC and DOJ, and he expressed doubt over the companies' claim their merger will lead to additional funding for local programming.

"If the Commission is intent on continuing to bless consolidated control of more and more of our broadcasting outlets by fewer and fewer big interests, isn't it time to ensure that we have some public interest guidelines so that consumers and citizens can be assured of at least some level of local programming, real news about real issues, independent production, and coverage of issues of interest to the diverse populations that make up local communities?" (Copps Statement at FCC.gov)

What's In a Name?
-- The Nashville Music Council has been renamed the Music City Music Council http://nashvillemusiccouncil.com/. Along with the name change comes a new structure, "streamlined" down to 21 members, that gives it a focus on business development. Honey Hopkins has been appointed to the full-time position of director of the Music City Music Council. Hopkins, who had served as the liaison between the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Music Council, will handle the Council's day-to-day operations.

In addition, six committee chairs have been named. Ryman Auditorium General Manager Sally Williams will chair of the Live Music Committee. Vector Management Partner Ken Levitan is the chair of the Business Development Committee. Nancy Shapiro of The Recording Academy will chair of the Education Committee. Bohan & Associates Partner David Bohan will chair of the Marketing Committee. Country Music Association CEO Steve Moore will chair of the Association and Trade Organizations Committee. Council co-chair Randy Goodman, the former president of Lyric Street Records, will chair the Hospitality Committee. (Press release)