On Music Row: Industry conference headed to Belmont

Sunday, May 10, 2009 at 11:27pm
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The 26th annual International Country Music Conference will be held May 21-23 at the Gordon E. Inman Center at Belmont University. The gathering will feature a cross-section of panels touching on many aspects related to the industry.

In all, the event will more bring together more than 30 panels. Renowned author and country music expert Don Cusic will co-host the panel, “Defining Country Music: What It Is and Does It Matter?” Additional panels will cover international topics (“Teaching Country Music in Australia: Teaching Australian Country Music”), regional interests (“A Cajun Music Mystery: Dr. James F. Roach, ‘Song of the Crocodile,’ and the First Commercial Recording of a Cajun Folksong”) and political themes (“Barack Obama, Country Music Stardom, and a New Black American Narrative”).

Among the artists who will be profiled are Bill Monroe, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Waylon Jennings and Kitty Wells. Registration for the event is $100. For more info, click here.

Flatts teams with Hershey

Hershey Co. has joined forces with Rascal Flatts to celebrate the magic of s’mores. Hershey’s will be a sponsor of Rascal Flatts’ American Living Unstoppable 2009 concert tour and bring the partnership to life with a national TV commercial as well as a promotion to win an exclusive s’mores-themed block party with Rascal Flatts at center stage.

The promotion will bring unprecedented Rascal Flatts access to fans nationwide. In addition to the private block party for 100 friends, some fans will win $2,500 Visa gift cards to create their own s’mores-themed block parties. Other prizes include VIP trips to Rascal Flatts concerts and 100,000 music downloads. The sweepstakes will be promoted at retail on specially marked Hershey’s products.

The Hershey arrangement is the second big sponsorship deal for Rascal Flatts. Earlier this year, J.C. Penney Co. announced it would sponsor the American Living Unstoppable Tour. That two-year sponsorship will kick off June 5, with the tour hitting about 60 cities across the nation each year.

Three senior execs promoted

James Stroud, CEO of Stroudavarious Records, announced the appointment of Bill Catino as the label’s new president. Catino, who has more than 40 years of industry experience, played a key role in the success of a roster of artists that includes Garth Brooks, George Strait, Keith Urban, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Reba McEntire.

During a 17-year stint at Capitol Nashville, Catino was executive vice president of promotion before moving to UMG Nashville for a similar role in 2005. There, he worked with Stroud on acts including Sugarland, Josh Turner and Bon Jovi. Most recently, Catino was a consultant to Stroud since the inception of Stroudavarious last summer.

At Universal Music Publishing Group, Nashville, Pat Higdon has been named president. Previously, he was executive vice president and general manager. Higdon, who joined Universal’s Nashville publishing arm in 1999, began his Music City as a sound engineer almost four decades ago.

And lastly, Capitol Records Nashville has promoted Steve Hodges to senior vice president of promotion. He previously was VP of promotion, a role to which he was named in 2006. Hodges came to Capitol Records Nashville in 1994 as Midwest regional director of promotion.