Universal Music Group Nashville
Twitter: @UMGNashville 
POWER MOVE: Early move to Universal Music Group Nashville followed by absorption of Capitol Nashville.
THE RUNDOWN: Mike Dungan was on a hot streak at Capitol Nashville when he left for Universal Music Group Nashville in early 2012. Known for being an honest broker, Dungan’s direct style would come in handy later in the year amid all the merger upheaval. “He is not afraid to tell you what he thinks, but he also is always willing to listen, which makes him truly a great partner,” says John Peets of Q Prime South, manager of Capitol Nashville artist Eric Church.
Dungan became chairman/CEO of UMGN five months before Universal closed its acquisition of EMI. In effect, he got a five-month head start on deciding how best to merge the two divisions. “This really allowed me to plan what I thought it was going to take and build the structure around it,” says Dungan, now that the dust has fully settled. “We have a killer, absolutely killer, team in place.”
UMGN’s roster includes Sugarland, Josh Turner, George Strait, Jamey Johnson, Easton Corbin, David Nail and artists who thrived under his leadership at Capitol: Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Little Big Town and Darius Rucker. (It was Dungan’s idea to rebrand former Hootie & the Blowfish frontman Rucker as a country act.)
The label group’s 2013 release schedule should help notch another strong year. Gary Allen released a new album in January, while Bryan -- whose Tailgates & Tanlines sold 1.1 million units and 5 million tracks in 2012 (according to Nielsen SoundScan) -- will release Spring Break 5 . . . Here to Party on March 5. Later in the year will see studio albums by Strait, Randy Rogers Band, Alan Jackson, Rucker and Lady A, as well as a live set by Church. The latter four albums should help Capitol Nashville’s track-equivalent album (TEA) market share rebound after falling to 0.6% in 2012 from 1.6% in 2011, while Universal Music South’s combined labels had a TEA share of 2.9% in 2011 and 1.4% in 2012. What a difference a year -- and a merger -- can make.
Mike Dungan photo by Robby Klein