Music News (10/27/21)


Music Row Power Couple, Beth & Luke Laird, Celebrate 10 Years Of Creative Nation [Interview]

Luke and Beth Laird. Photo: Spencer Combs

When Luke Laird, a young songwriter with a new publishing deal, met his future wife Beth at the receptionist counter at BMG Nashville in 2005, it was the start of a long and beautiful partnership.

It was Beth’s first real music industry job out of college, and she was worried that a relationship with a songwriter would be unprofessional. Lucky for them, she soon moved to Windswept to be a song-plugger before landing at BMI, where she would remain for the next five years. The two then began dating and were married a few years later in 2010. They now have two children, Jake (8) and Mack (5), and a successful 10-year old publishing company, Creative Nation.

“It’s been exciting because from the very beginning, with him having no cuts yet and me literally being at my first day on the job, we’ve gotten to grow in the music business together. We’ve been through the highs and lows together, that’s really been fun,” Beth says.

The two say they never dreamed of starting a publishing company together. The idea came about at a meeting with the couple’s business manager, when Luke was nearing the end of a publishing deal.

Once the wheels were turning, Beth and Luke were able to take their experiences as a songwriter and a music publishing professional and design a company that they would want to work at. “The main thing that we knew we really wanted that we weren’t really feeling at that time in the music business was a publishing company that was really creative and really writers first. [We wanted to build a company] where you felt like the writers were the bosses of their careers and the publishers came alongside them to help fulfill their dreams and to help them along their path,” Beth says.

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Lee Starr Signs With Sony Music Publishing & KP Entertainment

Pictured (L-R): Rusty Gaston, Kerri Edwards, Lee Starr, Aubrey Schwartz, Scott Safford

Rising singer-songwriter and producer Lee Starr has signed a worldwide publishing agreement with Sony Music Publishing Nashville and KP Entertainment.

Originally hailing from Arkansas, Starr arrived in Nashville in 2014 after spending time as a working musician in and around Austin. He has worked with up-and-coming artists as a songwriter and producer, penning songs for Elvie Shane, Ashland Craft, Conner Smith and Drew Green.

Starr co-wrote Shane’s debut single, “My Boy,” which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. In the same week, “My Boy” reached the No. 4 spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs with 6.6 million U.S. streams.

“I couldn’t be more excited for Lee and the team at KP Entertainment,” says Sony Music Publishing Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston. “Lee’s songs are full of heart, and his work ethic is second to none. His potential is endless and I’m looking forward to all that is to come.”

“When our Creative Director Aubrey Schwartz played some demos of Lee earlier this year, I knew he was someone we had to represent,” adds Kerri Edwards, Founder, KP Entertainment. “His approach to songwriting and producing is inspiring, along with his drive to work toward those next level goals. Lee is such a great addition to our roster, and I look forward to building this with him.”

“Aubrey has been my champion since day one and as soon as she introduced me to Kerri, I knew where I wanted to be,” shares Starr. “Rusty and the staff at Sony Music Publishing are incredible, and everyone involved in this deal is an absolute hustler. When you find good people, you stick with them. I think the sky is the limit for us.”

CRB IV Proceedings: NSAI’s Bart Herbison On What You Need To Know [Interview]

Bart Herbison

Copyright Royalty Board (CRB IV), or the Phonorecords IV proceedings, is currently underway to determine the new statutory streaming royalty rate paid to songwriters between the years of 2023 and 2027.

On Oct. 14, National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) President & CEO David Israelite made a social media post claiming that a number of digital service providers, including Amazon, Spotify, Apple, Pandora and Google, were proposing the “lowest royalty rates in history.”

The filings aren’t public yet, but according to Israelite, “not only do they propose rolling back rates and terms to erase all gains over the last 15 years, but they actually are proposing a structure worse than at any point in the history of interactive streaming.”

Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) Executive Director Bart Herbison recently spoke with MusicRow to explain what’s going on at the CRB IV proceedings, what NSAI and NMPA are fighting for, and how songwriters and the publishing community should respond.

First, Herbison reminds us how the streaming services pay songwriters today. Currently, songwriters receive the greater of a per subscriber payment, a percent of revenue, or a percent of the total content revenue.

At the CRB IV trial, NSAI and NMPA are asking for a fourth revenue stream: a per stream payment. “We’re asking for substantial increases,” Herbison tells MusicRow. “We are seeking the greater of:
– On the percent of revenue model, we want 20%.
– Total content cost: 40%.
– Per subscriber: $1.50 per month.
– And per stream: $0.0015 per stream.”

He explains that while the streaming services claim they are still agreeing to the headline rate of 10.5%, they want to make changes on what is applicable revenue to split.

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Hipgnosis Songs Group Signs Co-Publishing Deal With Emily Kroll

Pictured (L-R): TD Ruth, Emily Kroll, Emily Boardman, Pete Robinson

Songwriter Emily Kroll has signed a worldwide co-publishing deal with Hipgnosis Songs Group.

Kroll went to Belmont University and graduated with a degree in social work. She eventually decided to leave social work and pursue her passion for songwriting. Kroll began working at The Listening Room Cafe, where she became good friends with future UMG Nashville artist, Priscilla Block.

Kroll is a co-writer on Block’s viral hit and currently charting single, “Just About Over You,” and is participating in ASCAP’s GPS program for new songwriters.

“We are honored to have Emily join our roster. She is a brilliant young writer, and her career is just getting started,” says Hipgnosis Nashville GM, Pete Robinson.

“I am so excited to introduce the Nashville music community to Emily,” adds Creative Manager, Emily Boardman. “She has an amazing work ethic and a knack for lyrics that make her a great addition to the Hipgnosis roster.”