Several well-known names in Nashville media and business circles are teaming up to start a new country music Web site. And one might say the hounds smell opportunity.
Kevin Lorance, former publisher of the Nashville Business Journal, former owner of Premium Ideas and now owner of direct marketer/mailer Lorance Marketing, is the CountryHound.com majority partner and guiding force.
The Internet portal, scheduled to launch later this month, will appeal to country fans who crave both accurate information as well as online entertainment, Lorance said.
Minority partners include angel investor 1805 Investments LLC, led by Mike Barrett and ConduIT Corp., a business incubator founded by former Ingram Entertainment and Thomas Nelson executive Ray Capp and technology entrepreneur Mike Hassell.
“The idea actually came to me while I was publisher at the Business Journal, where I started formulating plans for a country-western newspaper,” Lorance said.
Those plans never came to fruition, but the idea came back a few years later, he said, who then planned an online publication.
Those plans, in turn, became more of a portal concept. The site’s staff will deliver timely and accurate entertainment news to country fans, and the fans will be able to upload music, video and information of their own as well. Steve Betts, former editor of Country Music Today, will be managing editor for the site.
CountryHound.com will take its revenues from planned ad sales on the site, Lorance said, who added that since hard development began in August 2006, costs to start the CountryHound.com site have pushed into the $50,000 to $100,000 range.
“The challenge will be to keep fans coming back. It’s all about the numbers,” Lorance said.
He’s confident that CountryHound.com has two main advantages against its competition: First, against established country music sites such as CMT.com and GACTV.com, Lorance says his independent site will be able to bring all country news and info to fans, rather than just CMT or GAC news.
And for other, fan-based or fan-operated sites, CountryHound.com will be more professional.
“It’s hard to take some of those other sites seriously,” Lorance said.
To bring the best of both worlds to CountryHound.com users, Lorance and partners have teamed with event and entertainment listing service Eviesays.com — run by former Nashville Scene founder and editor Bruce Dobie — and with Nashville-based CellJournalist.com, a hosted media platform that allows internet users to upload various media to their favorite sites.
With CountryHound.com, Lorance hopes to recreate the success of Lorance Marketing.
Begun in 2006, the direct mailer/marketer has more than 80 clients. Lorance would not disclose the revenues of Lorance Marketing, but said, “It’s doing very well.”