In the second of three related interviews today, we speak to Mike Denney, founder of MDM Recordings, about the state of country and what a CCMA nomination can bring one of their artists.
What does a CCMA nomination mean in terms of bookings, media attention?
The initial hype for any of the nominated artists is substantial, but it's more about developing the long term plan to maximize the attention of the nomination in my opinion. In terms of increased bookings, you see that increase if you are fortunate enough to win, but the category of the win plays very much into the increase in shows and dollars offered.
Can you cite instances where a win generates new opportunities or higher revenues?
We had a huge year with Jess Moskaluke last year, and her win as Female Artist of the year at the 2014 CCMA Awards — coupled with a Gold single — quintupled her value on the Canadian festival circuit. It also landed Jess the opening slot on nine arena dates on the Dean Brody and Paul Brandt tour, plus it allowed her to do her first full national tour supporting Chad Brownlee on his 'When The Lights Go Down' tour with Bobby Wills.
What percentage of your business remains physical CDs versus digital income from streaming, syncs, et cetera?
Physical sales in terms of straight-ahead retail are probably less than 20% these days, but we still do very well with 'offstage' sales at festivals and shows. I'm happy when I see our roster in the 45% to 50 % digital sales area, and streaming — although gaining momentum — is still very small for us and more of talking point than dollars in the pocket. Syncs and track licensing is also an area that is nice if you can get it, but the opportunities for track placement on County songs is limited even with the huge interest in the genre currently.
The talent pool and the quality of artists we have in Canada right now is the best it has ever been. There is no shortage of CanCon and we are constantly seeing three to five Canadian artists in the Top 10 at radio on a regular basis. That said, obtaining number 1 status at radio for our homegrown artists is extremely difficult and if you ask some people, it's impossible. That needs to change and change fast in order for us to truly create a Canadian star system in our genre. When an act like Jess Moskaluke can sell over 66,000 digital downloads on a single and peak at number 11 on the radio charts, we as an industry have some work to do to support Canadian talent.