Back in its heyday, Fred Foster‘s Monument Records had quite a knack for signing future songwriting legends, including Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton and Roy Orbison. The label shuttered in 1990 before being revived a few years later, notably breaking the fiery Dixie Chicks. Now, the imprint’s iconic name, logo and genre-bending ethos are being resurrected once again, as part of a joint venture between Sandbox Entertainment founder Jason Owen and songwriter/producer Shane McAnally, in collaboration with Sony Music Entertainment.
Sony Music has confirmed the venture, with CEO Doug Morris calling Owen and McAnally a “great team and a terrific addition to the Sony Music family.” The revived imprint will operate out of Sandbox’s Nashville offices, with support from its parent in New York City. UMG Nashville’s Katie McCartney has been brought in as senior vp of marketing and label operations. Kelli Porter, formerly of UMG, has been tapped as manager, marketing & label operations
The label’s first singings include singer-songwriters Caitlyn Smith and Walker Hayes, both of whom McAnally says are “impossible to compare to anyone else; they are true originals and originality is what we intend to build Monument on.”
“It has always been in my nature to create new paths and identify unique opportunities for artists, especially for those who don’t necessarily fit into one particular box,” Owen said in a statement. “I’ve been waiting to find the perfect scenario, to explore that passion and take it to the next level, and this partnership with Shane and Sony is the perfect opportunity to purposefully sign and market excellent music from unique, one-of-a-kind artists, regardless of genre boundaries. It is something that we believe is needed.”
Formerly of Universal Music Group, Owen founded Sandbox in 2010 as a full-service artist management and marketing firm. Its clients include Kacey Musgraves, Dan+Shay, Little Big Town and Charlie Worsham, among others, as well as the estates of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. McAnally has penned tracks for Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum and others.
Country Music Hall of Famer Fred Foster had singer-songwriters in mind when he co-founded the original Monument with Buddy Deane in 1958. “If your artist can write, you don’t have to go out and break your back searching for a hit,” Foster told Billboard last October. “Plus, I also wanted someone that was readily identifiable, that didn’t sound like anybody else. If you’ll notice, all those people (Parton, Orbison, Nelson), you know them immediately.”