Ron Kitchener
Ron Kitchener

Open Road's Brody Is 'Bringing Down the House' For Ron Kitchener

In the third of three related interviews today, we speak to Ron Kitchener, head of RGK Entertainment Group — which includes Open Road 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?

It’s a spotlight we must take full advantage of. Canadian country music media coverage is almost nonexistent, so anytime the industry as a whole is celebrating the year’s achievements we need to boost our efforts and maximize the moment for our roster.    

Can you cite instances where a win generates new opportunities or higher revenues?

Nominations hit mid July so the summer’s bookings are complete, it is the process of nominations, award show appearance and possible wins that keep the spotlight on the artist and therefore ignite increased fees for the next summer’s bookings or increased ticket sales for your Fall tour. Our Dean Brody / Paul Brandt Road Trip tour (Sept/Oct) will benefit with both artists nominated in the Fan’s Choice category this year; that has worked very well for us.

Trends in country music today. I see you are doing more packages.

I think there will be more mixing of artists from different genres appearing with country stars on record and on tour and that makes perfect sense based on how new music is being discovered these days.

What percentage of your business remains physical CDs versus digital income from streaming, syncs et cetera?

Physical CDs so far this year are only mildly down as a percentage of our sales. We are seeing increased streaming activity, but we are waiting to see how this affects our bottom line versus download income which we are up on. Our sync business is up, but with country it is about the song and less about the format. Country continues to push boundaries with production and arrangements and that should play well to the sync world as we are seeing already with the reaction we are receiving with Dean Brody’s “Bring Down The House."

Feel free to add a comment of your own....

Open Road artists have 14 major CCMA award nominations for Dean Brody, Tim Hicks, High Valley, The Road Hammers and newcomer Madeline Merlo.   


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