CRS 50th Anniversary in Nashville is a unique setting for country music entertainment. CRS stands for Country Radio Seminar. This event, which has now concluded its 50th conference, takes place in February each year in Nashville. Country Radio Seminar® (CRS) is an annual three-day convention where country music and the radio industry gather to exchange ideas, set trends, introduce brands, launch artists, and make decisions that affect every aspect of the genre’s future. This year’s event was at the Omni Hotel adjacent to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Every Facet of the Country Music Entertainment Industry Is Represented at This Conference
CRS brings together country radio executives and programmers, along with country music entertainment record label executives and artists for seminars, mentoring breakfasts, music showcases, concerts, panel discussions and networking events. Recent trends in the way fans listen to country music entertainment has led CRS to include participants from music streaming and downloading sites like Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Amazon Music, etc. Add to this mix the other businesses associated with country music entertainment like PR, promotion, publications, syndicators, country music booking agencies, etc. and you end up with an exciting and dynamic mix of participants and exhibitors.
TSE Entertainment was present at CRS as well. TSE’s Managing Partners Mike Black and Bob Brecht used the event to attend sessions, network with attendees and spend time with executives with SSM Nashville a record label on Music Row. SSM was showcasing TSE Featured Artist, Cody Kouba and Phineus Reb to radio executives at the event. SSM Nashville just signed Cody to their label and were anxious to have country radio see him up close. Cody is one of a number of upcoming artists for which TSE is their country music booking agency.
SSM Nashville’s President, Patti Olsen-Garafola, is excited to have Cody Kouba and Phineus Reb as part of the group of SSM Nashville’s artists. TSE Entertainment is developing an ongoing relationship with SSM Nashville as a vehicle for its roster of featured artists.
Cody was showcased on Thursday, February 14th at SSM Nashville’s Suite across from the main ballroom for the event. Cody and Alexandra Demetree were both featured as part of the Thursday afternoon SSM Nashville event.
Besides the presentations and seminars on topics such as Time Management, Digital Partnerships, Sales Mentoring, Turning the Remotes of Yesterday into the Remotes of Today, Music Scheduling, Production, Metrics that Matter to Predict Radio Hits, Voice + Talent Coaching, Crack the Code to Digital Revenue, How to Maximize Grassroots Marketing Strategies, Small Market Boot Camp, Understanding Parents, Teens and Country Music, The Art of the Artist Visit, Continuous Measurement in Diary Markets, and many others. Artist interviews included Jason Aldean and Garth Brooks.
The real highlight besides Cody Couba’s showcase for this author was the number and quality of Country music entertainment performances.
The Opening Day Luncheon was hosted by Warner Music Nashville. It included performances by superstar Blake Shelton, along with Dan + Shay, Devin Dawson, Morgan Evans, Chris Janson, Cody Johnson, Ashley McBryde, and Cole Swindell.
During the luncheon, Blake Shelton was honored with the Country Radio Broadcaster’s Artist Humanitarian Award for his charitable contributions in 2018.
That evening Amazon Music Presented: Country Heat at CRS featuring the Radio Ink PD Awards. The two-hour show, powered by Live Nation, featured performances from an incredible lineup of artists from Amazon Music’s global “Country Heat” playlist, including Zac Brown Band (Zac Brown Collective), Tenille Townes (Columbia Nashville), Adam Hambrick (Buena Vista Records/Capitol Records Nashville), HARDY (Big Loud Records/Tree Vibez Music), and King Calaway (Stoney Creek Records). The top 30 country program directors were honored during the event as well.
Following the Amazon event, Perl Records hosted an “Intimate Solo Acoustic Performance with Garth Brooks which was another hour and a half concert.
Valentine’s Day luncheon on Thursday was hosted by Universal Music Group. The 10th Annual ““Team UMG at the Ryman” luncheon at CRS 2019. The star-studded event was held at the historic Ryman Auditorium and featured Kassi Ashton, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Jordan Davis, Travis Denning, Vince Gill, Adam Hambrick, Caylee Hammack, Brandon Lay, Little Big Town, Maddie & Tae, Darius Rucker, Chris Stapleton, and Keith Urban. A surprise to all of us attending was that Darius Rucker appeared with the remainder of the Hootie and The Blowfish Band to close the concert. We were expecting Darius Rucker, Country star and got Hootie and the Blowfish! Very cool. Just so you know Hootie and the Blowfish are touring again so watch out for them.
Friday, the labels were at it again. The Big Machine Label Group luncheon featured Rascal Flatts, Brantley Gilbert, Riley Green, Lauren Jenkins, Noah Schnacky. BMLG President and CEO Scott Borchetta will hosted the event.
As you can see, the big labels trot out their biggest stars for CRS. After all, they wouldn’t be stars without country radio and the people who decide to play their music over the airwaves. That is changing some with the increased popularity of streaming platforms, but it’s still a fact.
I was a little surprised to not see a Sony Music hosted concert event. After all, they are one of the big three music companies. While there are many labels associated with music entertainment as well as country music entertainment, three labels control 2/3rds to 80% of the music market. These Big three music companies are Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music Group. Below is a listing of some of the labels associated with each one. Often, the listing actually consists of many sub-labels as well.
Sony Music includes the following record labels or label groups:
- Columbia Records
- RCA Records
- Epic Records
- Arista Nashville
- RCA Records Nashville
- Columbia Nashville
- Legacy Recordings
- Sony Music Latin
- RCA Inspiration
- Provident Label Group
- Sony Classical
Warner Music Group
- Atlantic Records Group
- Warner Bros Records
- Elektra Music Group
- Rhino Entertainment
- Alternative Distribution Alliance
- Warner Music Nashville
- Atlantic Nashville
- Elektra Nashville
- LoudMouth Comedy
- Warner Classics
Universal Music Group:
- EMI Records
- The Verve Label Group
- Interscope Records
- Geffen Records
- A & M Records
- Capital Music Group
- Republic Records
- Island Records
- Def Jam Recordings
- Caroline Records
- Isolation Network
- MCA Nashville Records
- Mercury Nashville Records
- Capital Records Nashville
- EMI Records Nashville
- Show Dog-Universal Music
- Universal Music Latin Entertainment
- Mercury Records
- Eagle Rock Entertainment
These Big 3 music label groups companies earn billions in sales from streaming music, CD sales revenue, YouTube ads, radio royalties, touring, merchandise, and other revenue streams. It’s no wonder that they keep priming the pump with this kind of country music entertainment for CRS.
For this attendee, I’m glad they do. By the way, TSE expects to be back to CRS next year in a different role. Stay tuned.