Monthly Archives: December 2008

Local 257 elects Pomeroy to replace Bradley

OUT WITH THE OLD

After over 18 years of service to the organization, Harold Bradley is no longer president of Nashville’s Local 257 chapter of the American Federation of Musicians.  Dave Pomeroy was elected president last week by a vote of 675 to 449.  Out of it’s 2620 members, 1165 votes were cast in this election, which is more than double the number of votes cast in the 2005 election.

This is most certainly the end of an era for Harold Bradley, for whom Harold I have a great deal of respect and admiration.  He began his long services as president of Local 257 on January 1, 1991 and later became the International Vice President serving the AFM’s International Executive Board, a position he will likely retain until 2010.  He received the AFM’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, the same year he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Bradley was also the first president of the Nashville chapter of NARAS and continues to serve as a member of the Grammy organization’s Board of Governors.

Harold and his brother, Owen, built Nashville’s earliest recording facility, Castle Recording Studio, in the early 40’s. As the architect of the Nashville Sound, Harold was part of Nashville’s original “Nashville Cats,” the A-Team, which included such notables as Boots Randolph, Floyd Cramer, Hargus “Pig” Robbins, Buddy Harman and The Jordanaires.

He is one of the most recorded guitarist in the world, and has been pickin’ on country albums for over 60 years, including work on such classics as Bobby Helms’ Jingle Bell Rock, Brenda Lee’s I’m Sorry, Roy Orbison’s Only the Lonely, Patsy Cline’s Crazy, Roger Miller’s King of the Road, Tammy Wynette’s Stand By Your Man, Eddy Arnold’s Make the World Go Away, and Loretta Lynn’s Coal Miner’s Daughter, just to name a few.

Harold Bradley will always be considered a formidable force in Nashville’s music industry.

IN WITH THE NEW

Bradley’s replacement, Dave Pomeroy, is a well known and seasoned musician as well, having played electric and acoustic bass on more than 500 albums during his 34 years in the music industry.  Dave has played with artists including Emmylou Harris, Alan Jackson, Elton John, Peter Frampton and Chet Atkins, including work on 6 Grammy-winning projects.  Dave is also an independent producer and has produced numerous projects which can be found on website.

Pomeroy issued the following statement after winning the election:

"I am humbled to be elected to the office President by the members of Local 257. Thanks to everyone who voted and all those who volunteered to help my campaign.

On behalf of all members past and present, I thank Harold Bradley for his many years of dedication and service to this Local and the AFM. I am honored to be carrying on the historic tradition of leading Local 257 as we move into a rapidly changing future.

We have one of the most dynamic, versatile, and innovative music communities on earth, and I look forward to representing the best interests of all Nashville musicians, both here at home and around the world."

Pomeroy will begin his three-year term effective January 1, 2009.

In the same election, Craig Krampf defeated Billy Linneman for Secretary-Treasurer by a vote of 570 to 539.  Re-elected to the Executive Board were Bruce Bouton, Bobby Ogdin, Andy Reiss, Laura Ross, and Denis Solee, who were joined by new members Duncan Mullins and Jimmy Capps.

THE CONTROVERY

There is much controversy surrounding the election, which is viewed by some as “revolutionary.”  The scuttlebutt is that a riff has been developing since 2001 between the leadership of the AFM’s International Executive Board and AFM members who were also members of the Recording Musicians Association, the local chapter of which Pomeroy is president.   The RMA, a player conference sanctioned by the AFM, is a 1400-member organization of studio musicians with chapters in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville,  It is arguably one of the most active conferences in the AFM.

Bradley and Linneman, for better or worse, threw their support behind resolution put forth by Thomas F. Lee, the IEB President, and passed by the IEB in Las Vegas in June 2008, which threatened to “de-conference” the RMA at its September conference.

Lee’s opposition to the RMA derived from stemmed from his promotion of a deal which eliminated so-called backend new usage “buyouts” of musical scores used in video games, something which the AFM was reluctant to do in the past.  Read more about his in this Variety article.

The lines of battle were thusly drawn, and the Local 257 uprising has been building ever since, with tempers flaring on both sides of the disagreement.  (A detailed, though somewhat biased, historical trail can found on the “Sounds” blog).  As a result of the June vote, Pomeroy and over 150 other local members of the AFM presented a resolution at the executive board meeting of Local 257 calling on the members to censor Bradley for his support of the anti-RMA resolution, which Bradley described as “ridiculous” and to which he responded:

This resolution, submitted by RMA President David Pomeroy, is intended to influence my vote! I will continue to vote my conscience (based on the facts before me), and I resent this attempt to force me to vote otherwise.

This statement appeared in an open letter to Local 257 in the July-September 2008 edition of the Nashville Musician, the Local’s newsletter.  This exchange ultimately led to the controversial election of last week.

The waves of discontent were also felt in Los Angeles, where RMA member Vince Trombetta was elected as Local 47’s president earlier this month, also in an apparent backlash against Tom Lee’s anti-RMA leanings.

The principals of democracy are certainly at work in the AFM, just as they were in the presidential elections this year!

SUMMARY

I know Dave Pomeroy and I  believe he will be a caring and effective leader for the AFM.  I congratulate him and wish him the best in the new endeavor, knowing full well that he has some difficult struggles ahead in leading the opposition.

I also know and respect Harold Bradley.  Harold is a Nashville icon who has been an effective leader of Local 257 for almost two decades.  I believe he wanted what he thought was best for the musicians and I know that he always had the musicians’ interests at heart.  I thank him for his service to the industry.

But no one is perfect.  While I do not intend to take either side in this debate, I will note that perhaps it was indeed time for a revolution.  There is no doubt now that new leadership is the order of the day. Nashville’s musicians are the backbone of our industry and they deserve adequate compensation and representation.  The majority of them now feel that Dave will do that and I commend their choice.  While no one really likes it when it comes, change is often a good thing.   I hope that at least in the Local 257, egos can deflate to normal and tempests can subside, and harmony can once again return to the organization that is at the heart of Music City.

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PassAlong Networks gets cash infusion

Word is spreading on the Internet about PassAlong Networks, Inc.’s recent infusion of investment capital.  PassAlong is a digital music distribution and sharing service aptly headquartered in Franklin, Tennessee.  According to VentureWire, the company plans to close a $30 million funding round later this month.

PassAlong, also known as the Tennessee Pacific Group, LLC, was founded in 2002 by former Microsoft executive, Dave Jaworski and, Scott Lewis, an independent entrepreneurDave Jaworskier.  Mr. Jaworski’s blog, Can’t Stop the Music, can be found here.  The company raised $40 million in start up monies from angel investors – an unusually substantial amount from individual investors – and also raised another $10 million in investment capital in April 2007.

Music veteran Jeff Skillen recently went to work for the company as their VP of Entertainment Relations.

PassAlong has a patent pending on its media service engine architecture, which is designed to work across all operating systems and platforms and is device-independent.  It launched its first digital music download store on e-Bay in September 2004

The company has digital music catalog agreements with all four major record labels: Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, EMI, and Sony/BMG.  The PassAlong catalog includes nearly 3 million songs, including not only catalog from the majors, but also nearly 2 million independent songs in MP3 format.  Most of its music is either DRM or MP3, and the company became certified by Microsoft PlayforSure in December 2004.

The music-sharing services gets its name from the fact that it allows consumers to recommend music to friends with links to song clips sent through email and instant messaging services from AOL, MSN and Yahoo. PassAlong

PassAlong Network Inc.’s portfolio of other products, many of  which are interactive, includes:

StoreBlocks, an online platform of tools and templates for building digital music/media stores, including PassAlong’s library of songs from the four major labels and MP3 files from independent artists.  This system currently powers 120 digital music stores, including Proctor and Gamble’s Julie’s Jukebox;

OnTour, is an award-winning family of concert notification applications, widgets and websites;

freedomMP3, is a “non-DRM” solution, providing protection technology and media tracking services designed to safeguard artists’ rights without hindering consumer rights via interoperability;.

Skylocker is a media storage and market-management platform;

Speakerheart a subsidiary of PassAlong, is an exciting independent-artist publishing and promotion system; and

Connected Consumer, a series of platforms and services aimed at enhancing the connected consumer experience.

Look for this exciting company to go places on the web.

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Filed under Digital Downloads, Entertainment Industry News, Internet Law, Life on the Row, Nashville

Peterson Receives ‘Spirit of Hope’ Award

Country artist Michael Peterson is the recipient of this year’s Bob Hope ‘Spirit of Hope’ Award, thereby recognized for his dedication and continued contributions to the troops of the UnitedMichael_Peterson_ps01 States Armed Forces.

The Spirit of Hope award is presented annually to distinguish ed Americans whose patriotism and service to the troops reflects that of Bob Hope.  Commissioned by the USO in November 1997, the award was name after Hope, who at that time was designated as the first and only honorary veteran of the United States Armed Forces for his decades of entertaining troops, both in peacetime and in combat zones.  Hope symbolized the idea that America cared about and supported its troops, and he remains the USO’s “Ambassador of Good Will.”

The award was given to Peterson at a ceremony held at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. in late October.  Other notable winners of the award in the past include the Country Music Association, CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite, the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, and former astronaut John Glenn.

“The men and women in uniform who serve our nation selflessly with honor and integrity are inspiring to be around,” said Peterson upon receiving the award.  “For decades, Bob Hope saluted them with entertainment and encouragement from home.  Because of Mr. Hope’s sacrifice and service, today’s entertainers have the same opportunity.  I am grateful for this recognition and the privilege of being associated with his legacy.”

Peterson completed the U.S. Army sponsored ‘My Real Life – Strong For America Tour’ earlier this year.  In addition to performing, the singer introduced various programs and services at each stop of the tour that empowered students to make great choices and provided civic leaders and businesses with new strategies for contributing to their local communities.  A live concert headlined by Peterson concluded each week’s events.

The former collegiate football star continues his support of the troops with a series of overseas dates during the holidays.  He will also perform for U.S. Army Chief Of Staff General George W. Casey Jr. in my old stomping grounds, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 5th at the Union League of Philadelphia, prior to the annual Army-Navy football game.

Peterson first arrived on the country music scene in 1997 with the success of his self-titled debut album, which produced such hits as Drink, Swear, Steal & Lie which reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart (now Hot Country Songs)and From Here To Eternity which made it all the way to number one.  The album was certified gold by the RIAA, and ultimately generated a total of five hit singles on the Billboard charts.  In addition, he was recognized as country music’s top selling new male artist by Billboard and R&R in that same year.   

Peterson, a great ambassador for country music industry, has also contributed his time to other charities such as The Ronald McDonald House, the Special Olympics, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The USO is a Congressionally chartered, nonprofit organization, that is not a government agency, but rather is funded by many national corporations and other private contributors.  For more information on the USO, call 1-800-876-7469 or visit their Web site, www.uso.org.

Congratulations Michael!

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