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The Deals: John Prine’s Oh Boy Records Signs Arlo McKinley, Big Loud Adds Ben Burgess to Roster

A roundup of notable music industry deals from the past two weeks, including Big Loud's signing of singer-songwriter Ben Burgess and Arlo McKinley's deal with John Prine's Oh Boy Records.

Big Loud Records has signed singer-songwriter Ben Burgess, who was recently featured on the track “Heartbreak” from Diplo’s new country album Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley’s Chapter 1: Snake Oil.

Born and raised in East Dallas, Texas, Burgess got his start performing at clubs on Sixth Street in Austin before landing his first big cut as a songwriter with the Jonas Brothers’ “Chillin’ In the Summertime.” After signing a publishing deal with Warner Chappell in 2015, he began accumulating cuts across genres, including Morgan Wallen’s “Whiskey Glasses,” Tyler Rich’s “The Difference,” Pat Green’s “Drinkin’ Days,” Lil Wayne’s “Dreams” and Martin Garrix and Troye Sivan’s “There for You.” His TV placements include Grey’s Anatomy and commercials for Major League Baseball, Xbox, and Lexus.

Burgess expects to release new tracks on Big Loud later this year.



Cincinnati-based singer-songwriter Arlo McKinley has signed with the late John Prine’s Oh Boy Records and will release his debut solo album Die Midwestern on the label on August 14.

Die Midwestern is described as “rooted in street soul, country, punk, and gospel.” McKinley is the last artist Prine and his son Jody signed together.

“John was reserved in his praise for songwriters. I played him a couple of Arlo’s songs and he heard ‘Bag Of Pills’ and said, ‘that’s a good song’ which for him, was very high praise,” said Jody in a statement. “He loved Arlo’s voice, this big guy with a sweet, soulful, gospel voice. He loved the dichotomy of the hard life lived, presented through such beautiful songs and John was very excited about the promise of the album’s release.”

“The feeling of knowing that a hero of mine took time out of his day to come see me perform is such an accomplishment in itself to me that if it all ended the next day and I found out music just wasn’t in the cards for me, I would’ve still considered everything I have done as a success,” added McKinley, who has opened for Tyler Childers and shared stages with John Moreland, Jason Isbell and Justin Townes Earle.

Produced by Matt Ross-Spang, Die Midwestern was recorded at Memphis’s Sam Phillips Recording Service. The first single is “Walking Shoes.”



Paris-based music streaming and download service Qobuz has entered a “financial and industrial partnership” with Canadian telecommunications company Québecor.

The companies previously partnered on the development of QUB musique, a Québec streaming platform launched by Québecor on May 4; for the project, Qobuz “shared its expertise” and provided access to music content, while Québecor developed the web and mobile platforms and user experience. Québecor also “selects and orchestrates” content on the platform, which boasts over 50 million titles and a thousand local playlists.

The strengthened alliance confirms Qobuz’s plans to extend its reach beyond the U.S. and Europe and become a global player in the streaming space. The Qobuz platform is currently available in 11 European countries and launched in the U.S. in February 2019.



Neighboring rights agency PRO Agency has signed an agreement to handle neighboring rights for independent label Merge Records, which has released music by Arcade Fire, Caribou, The Magnetic Fields and Neutral Milk Hotel. The deal was first announced by Music Business Worldwide.

Founded in 2012 by Germany-based distributor Cargo Records, PRO administers neighboring rights from 61 collecting societies globally. Its record company partners include Broken Silence, Boysnoize Records, Secretly Group, Symphonic Distribution and Majestic Casual.

Merge was launched in 1989 by Laura Balance and Mac McCaughan of the band Superchunk.