ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE YEAR: Developing "All on Me" singer Devin Dawson, named to Shazam's Next to Know 2018 list, re-signing a long-term contract with country superstar Blake Shelton and, in early 2018, bringing Kenny Chesney to the label.
EMBRACING CHANGE: Under "Espo," as he's known in the business, Warner Music Nashville developed a new consumption strategy surrounding Dawson that has changed how the label approaches breaking artists. "I challenged my team to come up with a new marketing plan," says the western Pennsylvania native and die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan. "This business was based on releasing a song to terrestrial radio, getting it up the chart and releasing an album. We have four of Dawson's songs out right now, probably four versions of every song between streaming and YouTube, and all we are doing is collecting more fans."
BIGGEST ISSUE THE INDUSTRY FACES: "Music has to fight for space alongside gaming, movies and television. Microsoft says attention span is down to eight seconds... less than a goldfish!"