Sony president Grady will exit by April 21.
Sony BMG employees received a memo today from chief executive Rolf Schmidt-Holtz revealing plans to combine the company's two Nashville operations. Those operations, RCA Label Group (RLG) and Sony Music Nashville, continued to operate separately since the Sony BMG merger took place. The only outward evidence of the merger in Nashville came last year when the Sony staff moved into the RLG building.
In the memo, obtained by Billboard.biz, Schmidt-Holtz says the company is "combining the resources of its two Nashville operations in order to create a single powerhouse entity, which will be known as SONY BMG Nashville. With this move we will be better positioned to intensify our efforts in the areas of A&R and artist development, and to meet the challenges of a constantly evolving and highly competitive marketplace," he writes.
Joe Galante, who previously served as the chairman of RCA Label Group Nashville, will head the newly combined group as chairman. Sony Music Nashville president John Grady will exit the company by April 21.
In the memo, Schmidt-Holtz calls Galante "a proven leader with tremendous vision, drive and passion, and this newly expanded role will give him the opportunity to make even greater contributions to the growth and development of our Nashville operation."
RLG comprised the RCA, BNA and Arista Nashville labels. Its heavyweight artists include Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Sara Evans. Sony Music Nashville comprised the Columbia and Epic labels, with key artists including Gretchen Wilson, Montgomery Gentry, Van Zant and Miranda Lambert.
"I ask all of you to join me in giving our full support to both Joe and everyone who works in the newly combined SONY BMG Nashville," Schmidt-Holtz writes. "I know we’ll be seeing great things from them in the months and years ahead."