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Natalie Merchant’s First Album Of New Songs In Nearly A Decade ‘Keep Your Courage,’ Due April 14, 2023 @ Top40-Charts.com

New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Nonesuch Records will release Natalie Merchant’s Keep Your Courage, her tenth solo studio album and first of new material since 2014’s self-titled record, on April 14, 2023. An eclectic album, produced by Merchant, it features two duets sung with vocalist Abena Koomson-Davis (Resistance Revival Chorus), contributions from the Celtic folk group Lúnasa and Syrian virtuoso clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, and horn arrangements by jazz trombonist Steve Davis. There are lush orchestrations throughout by seven composers including: Gabriel Kahane, Stephen Barber, Colin Jacobson, and Megan Gould. Keep Your Courage comprises nine original songs by Merchant as well as an interpretation of “Hunting the Wren” by Ian Lynch of the Irish band Lankum. The vinyl LP edition of Keep Your Courage includes four bonus tracks from earlier albums, previously unreleased on vinyl. 

Pre-orders include access to an exclusive virtual pre-release listening event on April 6 via FlyMachine featuring songs from the new album and a conversation between Natalie Merchant and a host. Further details will be sent prior to the event. A link and unique access code will be sent on April 5. Re-stream access will be available for 72 hours.

In celebration of the release, Merchant will embark upon a US tour this spring, going into the fall (schedule below and visit nonesuch.com/on-tour). Pre-sale begins this Wednesday at 10am with code KEEPYOURCOURAGE. European dates will be announced shortly.

Merchant writes in her album’s liner notes, “The songs contained within this album were written and recorded during the global pandemic that began in the winter of 2019 and is in its fifth wave as I write, in the autumn of 2022. It has been, and continues to be, a period of great flux and fear on every level: global, national, communal, familial, personal. But this is not an album about the coronavirus or the chaos it caused. For the most part, this is an album about the human heart.” She continues: “The word ‘courage’ has its root in the Latin word for heart, cor, and we see it over and over in many languages: le coeur, il cuore, o coração, el corazón. This is a song cycle that maps the journey of a courageous heart.”

Over her forty-year career Natalie Merchant has attained a place among America’s most respected recording artists. She has earned a reputation for being a songwriter of quality and a captivating stage performer and has distinguished herself as a social justice and environmental activist. Merchant began her musical career as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the pop music band 10,000 Maniacs and released one platinum, two double-platinum, and one triple-platinum records with the group: The Wishing Chair (1985), In My Tribe (1987), Blind Man’s Zoo (1989), Hope Chest (1990), Our Time in Eden (1992), and 10,000 Maniacs MTV Unplugged (1993). Merchant left the group in 1994 and has subsequently released nine albums as a solo artist with combined sales of seven million copies: Tigerlily (1995), Ophelia (1998), Natalie Merchant Live (1999), Motherland (2001), The House Carpenter’s Daughter (2003), Leave Your Sleep (2010), Natalie Merchant (2014), Paradise Is There (2015), and Butterfly (2017).

Merchant has collaborated with a wide range of artists, including Billy Bragg, Gavin Bryars, David Byrne, The Chieftains, Cowboy Junkies, Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mavis Staples, REM, and Wilco. She served on the New York State Council on the Arts from 2007 to 2011 at the appointment of Governor Elliot Spitzer and was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center by New York State Senator and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Merchant’s awards include: The Library Lion Award from the New York Public Library (2011), The American Society of Authors Composers & Publishers (ASCAP) Champion Award, and The John Lennon Real Love Award.

NATALIE MERCHANT ON TOUR

Apr 15 Bardavon, 1869 Opera House Poughkeepsie, NY

Apr 18 Byham Theater Pittsburgh, PA

Apr 19 Paramount Theater Charlottesville, VA

Apr 21 Kimmel Cultural Campus Philadelphia, PA

Apr 22 Hershey Theatre Hershey, PA

Apr 24 Peace Center Concert Hall* Greenville, SC

Apr 26 Ruth Eckerd Hall Clearwater, FL

Apr 27 Broward Center for the Performing Arts** Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Apr 28 Saint Augustine Amphitheatre St. Augustine, FL

Apr 30 Atlanta Symphony Hall** Atlanta, GA

May 9 Merrill Auditorium Portland, ME

May 10 Emerson Colonial Theatre Boston, MA

May 13 Keybank State Theatre Cleveland, OH

May 14 Taft Theatre Cincinnati, OH

May 16 The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts Carmel, IN

May 17 Michigan Theater Ann Arbor, MI

May 19 Chicago Theatre Chicago, IL

May 20 Pabst Theater Milwaukee, WI

Jun 2&3 Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center** New York, NY

Jun 28 Veterans Memorial Auditorium** Providence, RI

Jun 30, Jul 1 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts** Washington, DC

Jul 8 Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater*/** Chautauqua, NY  

Sep 20 Martin Woldson Theatre at The Fox Spokane, WA

Sep 22 Venue TBA* Seattle, WA

Sep 23 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Portland, OR

Sep 26 The Masonic San Francisco, CA

Sep 27 Mountain Winery* Saratoga, CA

Sep 29 Humphrey’s San Diego, CA

TBA Venue TBA* Los Angeles, CA

* on-sale timing TBD

** w/symphony orchestra.




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Apple Music Encourages International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) Metadata Submissions by Rights Owners

Apple Music ISNI Photo Credit: ISNI

Apple Music encourages International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) metadata submissions by rights owners.

Apple Music has sent word to its label partners and music sector organizations that the company is encouraging the submissions of International Standard Name Identifier (ISNI) metadata by rights owners as part of its standard workflow procedure. The announcement is excellent news for creators and music industry organizations by helping to ensure that musicians, contributors, record labels, and their music will be unambiguously attributed — while making it easier for Apple Music listeners to find that content than before.

Apple’s move toward using international, standard name identifiers will improve listeners’ search experience while facilitating discovery online and improving digital workflows for copyright, rights, and royalties management.

“After several years partnering with Apple Music, we are pleased and excited by this extension of the use of ISNI into Apple Partners’ workflows,” says ISNI International Agency’s Executive Director, Tim Devenport. “Leveraging ISNI’s capabilities as a bridging identifier — alongside Apple ID and other international standards — should further streamline the information exchanges underlying digital discovery to the benefit of creators and consumers alike.”

ISNI is the global standard number for identifying the millions of contributors to creative works and those involved in their distribution, such as researchers, inventors, writers, artists, visual creators, performers, producers, publishers, and more.

Certified as ISO (International Standardization Organization) 22729, it is part of a family of international standard identifiers that includes works and rights holders in all categories, including DOI, ISAN, ISBN, ISRC, ISSN, and ISWC. ISNIs can also act as a bridge to link several instances of identification, enabling “cross-walks” and correlation between different platforms.

ISNI’s goal is to assign to the names or personas of individuals and organizations involved in their production or distribution a persistent and unique identifying number, resolving the issue of name ambiguity in online search and discovery. Each assigned ISNI across all platforms on the global supply chain can therefore be unambiguously attributed to its creators wherever that work is described.


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Jesse Murphy Signs With Peermusic Nashville

Jesse Murphy. Photo: Courtesy of peermusic

Jesse Murphy has signed an exclusive worldwide publishing deal with peermusic Nashville.

Murphy is a Nashville native and the son of hit songwriter David Lee Murphy. He started writing and playing guitar at the age of 14.

His first recording project as a member of country-rock band House Whiskey was produced by Brett Beavers and received more than a million streams in less than 12 months. The band has performed at CMA Fest, the Houston Livestock Rodeo, and opened for the Charlie Daniels Band, Tracy Byrd, Frank Foster, and more.

“I love me some Jesse Murphy—I’ve been a big fan for a long time and I’m excited to be a part of his future. Being the son of one of my favorite singer-songwriters of all time is just icing on the cake,” notes peermusic Nashville President Michael Knox.

“I’m very excited and grateful to be part of the peermusic team,” adds Murphy. “It feels like family already and I’m really looking forward to what the future holds.”

The signing of Murphy marks the first under Knox’s new role as President of peermusic Nashville, a position he took on in October of this year. In recent years, peermusic has published the 2016 SESAC Country Song of the Year with Dierks Bentley’s “Somewhere on a Beach” and the 2013 ASCAP Song of the Year with Randy Houser’s “How Country Feels.”

Latest posts by Lorie Hollabaugh (see all)




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Natalie Merchant’s First Album Of New Songs In Nearly A Decade ‘Keep Your Courage,’ Due April 14, 2023 @ Top40-Charts.com

New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Nonesuch Records will release Natalie Merchant’s Keep Your Courage, her tenth solo studio album and first of new material since 2014’s self-titled record, on April 14, 2023. An eclectic album, produced by Merchant, it features two duets sung with vocalist Abena Koomson-Davis (Resistance Revival Chorus), contributions from the Celtic folk group Lúnasa and Syrian virtuoso clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, and horn arrangements by jazz trombonist Steve Davis. There are lush orchestrations throughout by seven composers including: Gabriel Kahane, Stephen Barber, Colin Jacobson, and Megan Gould. Keep Your Courage comprises nine original songs by Merchant as well as an interpretation of “Hunting the Wren” by Ian Lynch of the Irish band Lankum. The vinyl LP edition of Keep Your Courage includes four bonus tracks from earlier albums, previously unreleased on vinyl. 

Pre-orders include access to an exclusive virtual pre-release listening event on April 6 via FlyMachine featuring songs from the new album and a conversation between Natalie Merchant and a host. Further details will be sent prior to the event. A link and unique access code will be sent on April 5. Re-stream access will be available for 72 hours.

In celebration of the release, Merchant will embark upon a US tour this spring, going into the fall (schedule below and visit nonesuch.com/on-tour). Pre-sale begins this Wednesday at 10am with code KEEPYOURCOURAGE. European dates will be announced shortly.

Merchant writes in her album’s liner notes, “The songs contained within this album were written and recorded during the global pandemic that began in the winter of 2019 and is in its fifth wave as I write, in the autumn of 2022. It has been, and continues to be, a period of great flux and fear on every level: global, national, communal, familial, personal. But this is not an album about the coronavirus or the chaos it caused. For the most part, this is an album about the human heart.” She continues: “The word ‘courage’ has its root in the Latin word for heart, cor, and we see it over and over in many languages: le coeur, il cuore, o coração, el corazón. This is a song cycle that maps the journey of a courageous heart.”

Over her forty-year career Natalie Merchant has attained a place among America’s most respected recording artists. She has earned a reputation for being a songwriter of quality and a captivating stage performer and has distinguished herself as a social justice and environmental activist. Merchant began her musical career as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the pop music band 10,000 Maniacs and released one platinum, two double-platinum, and one triple-platinum records with the group: The Wishing Chair (1985), In My Tribe (1987), Blind Man’s Zoo (1989), Hope Chest (1990), Our Time in Eden (1992), and 10,000 Maniacs MTV Unplugged (1993). Merchant left the group in 1994 and has subsequently released nine albums as a solo artist with combined sales of seven million copies: Tigerlily (1995), Ophelia (1998), Natalie Merchant Live (1999), Motherland (2001), The House Carpenter’s Daughter (2003), Leave Your Sleep (2010), Natalie Merchant (2014), Paradise Is There (2015), and Butterfly (2017).

Merchant has collaborated with a wide range of artists, including Billy Bragg, Gavin Bryars, David Byrne, The Chieftains, Cowboy Junkies, Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mavis Staples, REM, and Wilco. She served on the New York State Council on the Arts from 2007 to 2011 at the appointment of Governor Elliot Spitzer and was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center by New York State Senator and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Merchant’s awards include: The Library Lion Award from the New York Public Library (2011), The American Society of Authors Composers & Publishers (ASCAP) Champion Award, and The John Lennon Real Love Award.

NATALIE MERCHANT ON TOUR

Apr 15 Bardavon, 1869 Opera House Poughkeepsie, NY

Apr 18 Byham Theater Pittsburgh, PA

Apr 19 Paramount Theater Charlottesville, VA

Apr 21 Kimmel Cultural Campus Philadelphia, PA

Apr 22 Hershey Theatre Hershey, PA

Apr 24 Peace Center Concert Hall* Greenville, SC

Apr 26 Ruth Eckerd Hall Clearwater, FL

Apr 27 Broward Center for the Performing Arts** Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Apr 28 Saint Augustine Amphitheatre St. Augustine, FL

Apr 30 Atlanta Symphony Hall** Atlanta, GA

May 9 Merrill Auditorium Portland, ME

May 10 Emerson Colonial Theatre Boston, MA

May 13 Keybank State Theatre Cleveland, OH

May 14 Taft Theatre Cincinnati, OH

May 16 The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts Carmel, IN

May 17 Michigan Theater Ann Arbor, MI

May 19 Chicago Theatre Chicago, IL

May 20 Pabst Theater Milwaukee, WI

Jun 2&3 Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center** New York, NY

Jun 28 Veterans Memorial Auditorium** Providence, RI

Jun 30, Jul 1 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts** Washington, DC

Jul 8 Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater*/** Chautauqua, NY  

Sep 20 Martin Woldson Theatre at The Fox Spokane, WA

Sep 22 Venue TBA* Seattle, WA

Sep 23 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Portland, OR

Sep 26 The Masonic San Francisco, CA

Sep 27 Mountain Winery* Saratoga, CA

Sep 29 Humphrey’s San Diego, CA

TBA Venue TBA* Los Angeles, CA

* on-sale timing TBD

** w/symphony orchestra.




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Natalie Merchant’s First Album Of New Songs In Nearly A Decade ‘Keep Your Courage,’ Due April 14, 2023 @ Top40-Charts.com

New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Nonesuch Records will release Natalie Merchant’s Keep Your Courage, her tenth solo studio album and first of new material since 2014’s self-titled record, on April 14, 2023. An eclectic album, produced by Merchant, it features two duets sung with vocalist Abena Koomson-Davis (Resistance Revival Chorus), contributions from the Celtic folk group Lúnasa and Syrian virtuoso clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, and horn arrangements by jazz trombonist Steve Davis. There are lush orchestrations throughout by seven composers including: Gabriel Kahane, Stephen Barber, Colin Jacobson, and Megan Gould. Keep Your Courage comprises nine original songs by Merchant as well as an interpretation of “Hunting the Wren” by Ian Lynch of the Irish band Lankum. The vinyl LP edition of Keep Your Courage includes four bonus tracks from earlier albums, previously unreleased on vinyl. 

Pre-orders include access to an exclusive virtual pre-release listening event on April 6 via FlyMachine featuring songs from the new album and a conversation between Natalie Merchant and a host. Further details will be sent prior to the event. A link and unique access code will be sent on April 5. Re-stream access will be available for 72 hours.

In celebration of the release, Merchant will embark upon a US tour this spring, going into the fall (schedule below and visit nonesuch.com/on-tour). Pre-sale begins this Wednesday at 10am with code KEEPYOURCOURAGE. European dates will be announced shortly.

Merchant writes in her album’s liner notes, “The songs contained within this album were written and recorded during the global pandemic that began in the winter of 2019 and is in its fifth wave as I write, in the autumn of 2022. It has been, and continues to be, a period of great flux and fear on every level: global, national, communal, familial, personal. But this is not an album about the coronavirus or the chaos it caused. For the most part, this is an album about the human heart.” She continues: “The word ‘courage’ has its root in the Latin word for heart, cor, and we see it over and over in many languages: le coeur, il cuore, o coração, el corazón. This is a song cycle that maps the journey of a courageous heart.”

Over her forty-year career Natalie Merchant has attained a place among America’s most respected recording artists. She has earned a reputation for being a songwriter of quality and a captivating stage performer and has distinguished herself as a social justice and environmental activist. Merchant began her musical career as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the pop music band 10,000 Maniacs and released one platinum, two double-platinum, and one triple-platinum records with the group: The Wishing Chair (1985), In My Tribe (1987), Blind Man’s Zoo (1989), Hope Chest (1990), Our Time in Eden (1992), and 10,000 Maniacs MTV Unplugged (1993). Merchant left the group in 1994 and has subsequently released nine albums as a solo artist with combined sales of seven million copies: Tigerlily (1995), Ophelia (1998), Natalie Merchant Live (1999), Motherland (2001), The House Carpenter’s Daughter (2003), Leave Your Sleep (2010), Natalie Merchant (2014), Paradise Is There (2015), and Butterfly (2017).

Merchant has collaborated with a wide range of artists, including Billy Bragg, Gavin Bryars, David Byrne, The Chieftains, Cowboy Junkies, Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mavis Staples, REM, and Wilco. She served on the New York State Council on the Arts from 2007 to 2011 at the appointment of Governor Elliot Spitzer and was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center by New York State Senator and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Merchant’s awards include: The Library Lion Award from the New York Public Library (2011), The American Society of Authors Composers & Publishers (ASCAP) Champion Award, and The John Lennon Real Love Award.

NATALIE MERCHANT ON TOUR

Apr 15 Bardavon, 1869 Opera House Poughkeepsie, NY

Apr 18 Byham Theater Pittsburgh, PA

Apr 19 Paramount Theater Charlottesville, VA

Apr 21 Kimmel Cultural Campus Philadelphia, PA

Apr 22 Hershey Theatre Hershey, PA

Apr 24 Peace Center Concert Hall* Greenville, SC

Apr 26 Ruth Eckerd Hall Clearwater, FL

Apr 27 Broward Center for the Performing Arts** Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Apr 28 Saint Augustine Amphitheatre St. Augustine, FL

Apr 30 Atlanta Symphony Hall** Atlanta, GA

May 9 Merrill Auditorium Portland, ME

May 10 Emerson Colonial Theatre Boston, MA

May 13 Keybank State Theatre Cleveland, OH

May 14 Taft Theatre Cincinnati, OH

May 16 The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts Carmel, IN

May 17 Michigan Theater Ann Arbor, MI

May 19 Chicago Theatre Chicago, IL

May 20 Pabst Theater Milwaukee, WI

Jun 2&3 Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center** New York, NY

Jun 28 Veterans Memorial Auditorium** Providence, RI

Jun 30, Jul 1 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts** Washington, DC

Jul 8 Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater*/** Chautauqua, NY  

Sep 20 Martin Woldson Theatre at The Fox Spokane, WA

Sep 22 Venue TBA* Seattle, WA

Sep 23 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Portland, OR

Sep 26 The Masonic San Francisco, CA

Sep 27 Mountain Winery* Saratoga, CA

Sep 29 Humphrey’s San Diego, CA

TBA Venue TBA* Los Angeles, CA

* on-sale timing TBD

** w/symphony orchestra.




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20221130073329.jpg

Natalie Merchant’s First Album Of New Songs In Nearly A Decade ‘Keep Your Courage,’ Due April 14, 2023 @ Top40-Charts.com

New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Nonesuch Records will release Natalie Merchant’s Keep Your Courage, her tenth solo studio album and first of new material since 2014’s self-titled record, on April 14, 2023. An eclectic album, produced by Merchant, it features two duets sung with vocalist Abena Koomson-Davis (Resistance Revival Chorus), contributions from the Celtic folk group Lúnasa and Syrian virtuoso clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, and horn arrangements by jazz trombonist Steve Davis. There are lush orchestrations throughout by seven composers including: Gabriel Kahane, Stephen Barber, Colin Jacobson, and Megan Gould. Keep Your Courage comprises nine original songs by Merchant as well as an interpretation of “Hunting the Wren” by Ian Lynch of the Irish band Lankum. The vinyl LP edition of Keep Your Courage includes four bonus tracks from earlier albums, previously unreleased on vinyl. 

Pre-orders include access to an exclusive virtual pre-release listening event on April 6 via FlyMachine featuring songs from the new album and a conversation between Natalie Merchant and a host. Further details will be sent prior to the event. A link and unique access code will be sent on April 5. Re-stream access will be available for 72 hours.

In celebration of the release, Merchant will embark upon a US tour this spring, going into the fall (schedule below and visit nonesuch.com/on-tour). Pre-sale begins this Wednesday at 10am with code KEEPYOURCOURAGE. European dates will be announced shortly.

Merchant writes in her album’s liner notes, “The songs contained within this album were written and recorded during the global pandemic that began in the winter of 2019 and is in its fifth wave as I write, in the autumn of 2022. It has been, and continues to be, a period of great flux and fear on every level: global, national, communal, familial, personal. But this is not an album about the coronavirus or the chaos it caused. For the most part, this is an album about the human heart.” She continues: “The word ‘courage’ has its root in the Latin word for heart, cor, and we see it over and over in many languages: le coeur, il cuore, o coração, el corazón. This is a song cycle that maps the journey of a courageous heart.”

Over her forty-year career Natalie Merchant has attained a place among America’s most respected recording artists. She has earned a reputation for being a songwriter of quality and a captivating stage performer and has distinguished herself as a social justice and environmental activist. Merchant began her musical career as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the pop music band 10,000 Maniacs and released one platinum, two double-platinum, and one triple-platinum records with the group: The Wishing Chair (1985), In My Tribe (1987), Blind Man’s Zoo (1989), Hope Chest (1990), Our Time in Eden (1992), and 10,000 Maniacs MTV Unplugged (1993). Merchant left the group in 1994 and has subsequently released nine albums as a solo artist with combined sales of seven million copies: Tigerlily (1995), Ophelia (1998), Natalie Merchant Live (1999), Motherland (2001), The House Carpenter’s Daughter (2003), Leave Your Sleep (2010), Natalie Merchant (2014), Paradise Is There (2015), and Butterfly (2017).

Merchant has collaborated with a wide range of artists, including Billy Bragg, Gavin Bryars, David Byrne, The Chieftains, Cowboy Junkies, Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mavis Staples, REM, and Wilco. She served on the New York State Council on the Arts from 2007 to 2011 at the appointment of Governor Elliot Spitzer and was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center by New York State Senator and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Merchant’s awards include: The Library Lion Award from the New York Public Library (2011), The American Society of Authors Composers & Publishers (ASCAP) Champion Award, and The John Lennon Real Love Award.

NATALIE MERCHANT ON TOUR

Apr 15 Bardavon, 1869 Opera House Poughkeepsie, NY

Apr 18 Byham Theater Pittsburgh, PA

Apr 19 Paramount Theater Charlottesville, VA

Apr 21 Kimmel Cultural Campus Philadelphia, PA

Apr 22 Hershey Theatre Hershey, PA

Apr 24 Peace Center Concert Hall* Greenville, SC

Apr 26 Ruth Eckerd Hall Clearwater, FL

Apr 27 Broward Center for the Performing Arts** Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Apr 28 Saint Augustine Amphitheatre St. Augustine, FL

Apr 30 Atlanta Symphony Hall** Atlanta, GA

May 9 Merrill Auditorium Portland, ME

May 10 Emerson Colonial Theatre Boston, MA

May 13 Keybank State Theatre Cleveland, OH

May 14 Taft Theatre Cincinnati, OH

May 16 The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts Carmel, IN

May 17 Michigan Theater Ann Arbor, MI

May 19 Chicago Theatre Chicago, IL

May 20 Pabst Theater Milwaukee, WI

Jun 2&3 Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center** New York, NY

Jun 28 Veterans Memorial Auditorium** Providence, RI

Jun 30, Jul 1 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts** Washington, DC

Jul 8 Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater*/** Chautauqua, NY  

Sep 20 Martin Woldson Theatre at The Fox Spokane, WA

Sep 22 Venue TBA* Seattle, WA

Sep 23 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Portland, OR

Sep 26 The Masonic San Francisco, CA

Sep 27 Mountain Winery* Saratoga, CA

Sep 29 Humphrey’s San Diego, CA

TBA Venue TBA* Los Angeles, CA

* on-sale timing TBD

** w/symphony orchestra.




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The return of record shops

Business Feature

By Colson Thayer

11/30/2022

Mike Enloe at Jay’s CD and Hobby on S.E. 14th Street. Photo by Colson Thayer

Mike Enloe may have been a struggling student at Drake University in 1975, but he kept an eye on the music industry. He decided to take a chance and open his own record store.

“My wife and I hopped in a car one day; we drove down Ingersoll Avenue looking for this building for rent,” Enloe said.

He immediately fell in love with a quaint little shack on Ingersoll’s 3700 block next to the Ingersoll Dinner Theater. He began renting out the space in the winter of 1975. On March 15, 1976, Peeples Music Shoppe was born. It became a staple of Des Moines’ music industry for decades. 

Over the course of almost 50 years in the industry, Enloe has seen drastic changes in the way people consume their music. It began with LP records, then the advent of CDs, the growth of downloading and streaming and, eventually, a resurgence in traditional forms of music media. To be successful, Peeples and other Des Moines record stores needed to exemplify business flexibility to stay afloat. Today, a steady increase in the sales of physical music formats shows promising signs for the future of record shops.

Nate Niceswanger owns Zzz Records. Photo by Colson Thayer

LP Records 

When Enloe first opened Peeples in the late 1970s, LP records were the primary format of music consumption.

“Records were a real viable thing,” he said. “In no time, really, I was running a successful business.”

But, at the time, there was plenty of competition. Stores like Music Circuit, Music Land, Music Factory and others competed for the same business. In fact, all these stores were selling the same items. 

“I’d imagine that every store was pretty much like me. We all sold the same thing, really. All the record salesmen all went to the same stores,” he said. “Des Moines was a viable market where every record company had a rep that came by once a month to sell his new releases.”

By 1980, customers had two main options — LP records or cassettes — but people continued to enjoy the glamor of LPs. They not only included the visual cover art, but Enloe considered them to have better sound quality as well.

Luke Dickens owns and operates Vinyl Cup Records in Beaverdale, Omaha and Cedar Falls. Photo by Colson Thayer

Enloe’s business was doing well enough, and he opened a second location in Ames. He described it as a “hole-in-the-wall” store. He advertised it as a hidden record store on Lincoln Way, and students loved it.

CDs

“By 1985, the record hype was gone. It slowly got replaced by CDs,” explained Enloe.

By 1987, LPs were near-obsolete, and they were not being sold in stores anymore. Record companies quit producing new albums and began to run out of titles. Customers quickly adapted to the new technology. When CDs were first introduced, CD players cost anywhere from $500-$1,000. However, within a few years, those prices dropped substantially. After two years, CD players were everywhere, even in cars. 

“People were buying CDs like crazy from 1985 till 1998,” Enloe said. “Everybody had to have them — everybody.”

The exciting new technology is considered the driving factor for the popularity of CDs in the mid-1980s, but they had another thing working in their favor, too: the rising prices of LPs. Record companies continued to raise the price of records as the years went on. Famously, Tom Petty protested the rising prices of LPs and threatened to withhold his album “Hard Promises” in 1981 when MCA Records announced it would raise the price of their albums by a whole dollar.

Napster

1999 saw the release of Napster, a digital file distribution software that revolutionized the way people listened to music. Consumers could easily download music onto CD-Rs. While this made music much more accessible, it proved to be a challenge for independent record stores.

“You can’t beat free,” said Enloe. Both his Ames store and his metro store held steady business until the release of Napster. He found Iowa State students would go to the computer labs and record their music on discs instead of visiting his store. Enloe had to close his Ames store in 2000. Meanwhile, his metro store continued to struggle.

Napster affected not only Enloe’s businesses but the entire industry. Independent record stores in the metro area also began to close their doors. Nate Niceswanger saw this as an opportunity to open his own business. 

Zzz Records

Niceswanger was a record collector. He would often travel to other cities like Minneapolis, Iowa City, Omaha and Sioux City to find additions to his collection. He realized that these cities, some larger than Des Moines and some smaller, had way more record shops.

“There’s 75,000 people in Sioux City; they got three stores. We got a couple hundred thousand people, and we have zero,” he realized. 

“Finally, I got the nerve and quit my job and decided to just go for it. My goal was just to see if I could make it a year.”

And every year since, his goal has stayed the same: make it one more year. He had his 22nd anniversary in 2022.

“In the beginning, I was smart enough to know that not everyone had a record player at that time… it was not the cool thing to have,” Niceswanger said.

When he first opened his doors, his inventory was two-thirds vinyl and one-third CDs.

Niceswanger didn’t carry the big names in music at the time like Mariah Carey or Britney Spears. Instead, he offered what he considered to be more alternative music including Neutral Milk Hotel, Death Cab for Cutie, White Stripes and The Strokes, among others. 

Zzz Records became the only independent music store in town when Enloe had to close his doors in 2006.

“CDs were a pretty big part of our store up until about 2007 or maybe 2008, and that’s when the recession hit,” Niceswanger said.

At that time, high-speed Internet became much more reliable and available. Consumers could start listening to music from their phones.

“[Technology] changed the ways CDs were selling pretty dramatically, and CD sales really tanked. Luckily, right around that time, vinyl sales started to take off.”

Resurgence of vinyl

Since 2010, vinyl record sales have seen a steady increase, as have the number of record shops in the metro. It is hard to say for certain why vinyl records are on the rise again, but Niceswanger had a few guesses.

“There’s something about having a physical copy in your hands,” he said. “Vinyl, especially, is exciting to people because you got the larger artwork; you got a 12×12 picture as opposed to a CD.”

Luke Dickens agreed that listening to vinyl is a completely different experience.

“It’s one thing to throw on a Bluetooth; it’s another thing to pull out a record and pass the cover around, read the liner notes, look at the title of the song, look at the cover and the art behind it — it’s a piece of art.”

Dickens owns and operates Vinyl Cup Records in Beaverdale, Omaha and Cedar Falls. The business was born out of a Facebook group Dickens started in August 2017 with 40 people. In February 2018, the group had grown to 2,000 members, and the size of his basement record collection was 20,000. At his partner’s request, Dickens moved his collection and business to his current Beaverdale location.

In March 2019, Marv’s Record Shop in the East Village was going out of business. Dickens bought it out and brought it back to life. Marv’s sells new records while Vinyl Cup primarily sells used vinyl. On the surface, Marv’s and Vinyl Cup appear to be very similar businesses, but to Dickens, they are quite different.

“I feel like Marv’s is the beginning to a new story and Vinyl Cup is a way to carry on a story.”

Dickens doesn’t think Marv’s is as personable as Vinyl Cup, but they both serve their own clientele.

The age of streaming

“There’s another record store that says ‘Spin, Don’t Stream.’ I tell them to shut the hell up,” said Dickens.

He said he thinks record shops and streaming services can coexist.

“People can listen to a new record released Friday on Spotify or Apple, any streaming service that they use… They know if they want it or not, [and then] they go to the record store and buy it.”

“It doesn’t really concern me too much,” Niceswanger explained. “There are going to be some people that just listen to music for free their entire life.”

Dickens recognizes the pros and cons of streaming. On one hand, musicians are paid pennies for each time their music is streamed. However, without it, their music might never be heard. Streaming is an opportunity for consumers to get exposed to new music.

“I think streaming is a great gateway. I don’t think it’s the primary way to listen,” Dickens said. “I also think vinyl has a more wholesome authentic sound that you’re not going to get from streaming.”

The hope is consumers exposed to new music through streaming will end up buying physical copies of music, supporting both local record shops and the artists themselves. ♦


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Natalie Merchant’s First Album Of New Songs In Nearly A Decade ‘Keep Your Courage,’ Due April 14, 2023 @ Top40-Charts.com

New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Nonesuch Records will release Natalie Merchant’s Keep Your Courage, her tenth solo studio album and first of new material since 2014’s self-titled record, on April 14, 2023. An eclectic album, produced by Merchant, it features two duets sung with vocalist Abena Koomson-Davis (Resistance Revival Chorus), contributions from the Celtic folk group Lúnasa and Syrian virtuoso clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, and horn arrangements by jazz trombonist Steve Davis. There are lush orchestrations throughout by seven composers including: Gabriel Kahane, Stephen Barber, Colin Jacobson, and Megan Gould. Keep Your Courage comprises nine original songs by Merchant as well as an interpretation of “Hunting the Wren” by Ian Lynch of the Irish band Lankum. The vinyl LP edition of Keep Your Courage includes four bonus tracks from earlier albums, previously unreleased on vinyl. 

Pre-orders include access to an exclusive virtual pre-release listening event on April 6 via FlyMachine featuring songs from the new album and a conversation between Natalie Merchant and a host. Further details will be sent prior to the event. A link and unique access code will be sent on April 5. Re-stream access will be available for 72 hours.

In celebration of the release, Merchant will embark upon a US tour this spring, going into the fall (schedule below and visit nonesuch.com/on-tour). Pre-sale begins this Wednesday at 10am with code KEEPYOURCOURAGE. European dates will be announced shortly.

Merchant writes in her album’s liner notes, “The songs contained within this album were written and recorded during the global pandemic that began in the winter of 2019 and is in its fifth wave as I write, in the autumn of 2022. It has been, and continues to be, a period of great flux and fear on every level: global, national, communal, familial, personal. But this is not an album about the coronavirus or the chaos it caused. For the most part, this is an album about the human heart.” She continues: “The word ‘courage’ has its root in the Latin word for heart, cor, and we see it over and over in many languages: le coeur, il cuore, o coração, el corazón. This is a song cycle that maps the journey of a courageous heart.”

Over her forty-year career Natalie Merchant has attained a place among America’s most respected recording artists. She has earned a reputation for being a songwriter of quality and a captivating stage performer and has distinguished herself as a social justice and environmental activist. Merchant began her musical career as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the pop music band 10,000 Maniacs and released one platinum, two double-platinum, and one triple-platinum records with the group: The Wishing Chair (1985), In My Tribe (1987), Blind Man’s Zoo (1989), Hope Chest (1990), Our Time in Eden (1992), and 10,000 Maniacs MTV Unplugged (1993). Merchant left the group in 1994 and has subsequently released nine albums as a solo artist with combined sales of seven million copies: Tigerlily (1995), Ophelia (1998), Natalie Merchant Live (1999), Motherland (2001), The House Carpenter’s Daughter (2003), Leave Your Sleep (2010), Natalie Merchant (2014), Paradise Is There (2015), and Butterfly (2017).

Merchant has collaborated with a wide range of artists, including Billy Bragg, Gavin Bryars, David Byrne, The Chieftains, Cowboy Junkies, Philip Glass, Kronos Quartet, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mavis Staples, REM, and Wilco. She served on the New York State Council on the Arts from 2007 to 2011 at the appointment of Governor Elliot Spitzer and was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center by New York State Senator and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Merchant’s awards include: The Library Lion Award from the New York Public Library (2011), The American Society of Authors Composers & Publishers (ASCAP) Champion Award, and The John Lennon Real Love Award.

NATALIE MERCHANT ON TOUR

Apr 15 Bardavon, 1869 Opera House Poughkeepsie, NY

Apr 18 Byham Theater Pittsburgh, PA

Apr 19 Paramount Theater Charlottesville, VA

Apr 21 Kimmel Cultural Campus Philadelphia, PA

Apr 22 Hershey Theatre Hershey, PA

Apr 24 Peace Center Concert Hall* Greenville, SC

Apr 26 Ruth Eckerd Hall Clearwater, FL

Apr 27 Broward Center for the Performing Arts** Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Apr 28 Saint Augustine Amphitheatre St. Augustine, FL

Apr 30 Atlanta Symphony Hall** Atlanta, GA

May 9 Merrill Auditorium Portland, ME

May 10 Emerson Colonial Theatre Boston, MA

May 13 Keybank State Theatre Cleveland, OH

May 14 Taft Theatre Cincinnati, OH

May 16 The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts Carmel, IN

May 17 Michigan Theater Ann Arbor, MI

May 19 Chicago Theatre Chicago, IL

May 20 Pabst Theater Milwaukee, WI

Jun 2&3 Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center** New York, NY

Jun 28 Veterans Memorial Auditorium** Providence, RI

Jun 30, Jul 1 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts** Washington, DC

Jul 8 Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater*/** Chautauqua, NY  

Sep 20 Martin Woldson Theatre at The Fox Spokane, WA

Sep 22 Venue TBA* Seattle, WA

Sep 23 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Portland, OR

Sep 26 The Masonic San Francisco, CA

Sep 27 Mountain Winery* Saratoga, CA

Sep 29 Humphrey’s San Diego, CA

TBA Venue TBA* Los Angeles, CA

* on-sale timing TBD

** w/symphony orchestra.




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Concord music rights to fuel $1.65bn Apollo bond offering – report

Concord has reportedly begun a process that could see it become the latest large music company to get into the financial bonds game.

Financial giant Apollo Global Management is reportedly selling a $1.65 billion bond backed by music rights from Concord’s catalog, which would mark the music company’s first securitization.

That’s according to Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the matter, who said that Apollo ‘has already secured an anchor order for a large chunk of the debt’.

The report adds that the deal ‘repackages royalty payments’ from both publishing and recorded music rights, ‘from a catalog of music by several singers and songwriters,’ including Phil Collins, Genesis, Evanescence and R.E.M.

Bloomberg notes that a ‘spokesperson for Concord said the firm is considering selling bonds, and directed further inquiries to Apollo, a representative for which declined to comment’.

Citing a presale report, Bloomberg says that Kroll Rating Bond Agency ‘is expected to rate Concord’s securities and is set to assign them an A+ rating’.

Today’s news comes just over 12 months MBW told you that financial bonds were about to become a big deal in the music business.

That prediction came true, time and time again, over the past year, with a number of headlines hitting our pages about music companies launching bond offerings via securitized royalties from copyrights.

In December 2021, for example, private equity company Northleaf Capital announced it was raising $303.8 million by selling Asset-Backed Securities (ABS) that are supported by music rights – including songs created by Pete Townshend for The Who, and by country star Tim McGraw.

According to Bloomberg, the securities would be supported by both publishing and sound recording rights, as well as other income streams, across a total of 52,729 songs.

Those songs make up a chunk of the catalog of Spirit Music Group; Spirit owns a total portfolio of more than 100,000 music assets.

Our prediction came true again in February, when MBW reported that in the second half of October 2021, KKR – via its Chord Music venture – acquired a large portfolio of rights from Kobalt for $1.1 billion and intended to securitize that catalog into bonds.

According to Bloomberg, KKR Credit Advisors is using a catalog of 65,000 songs – including hits from The Weeknd, Stevie Nicks, and Childish Gambino – to sell more than $732 million of asset-backed securities supported by publishing and sound recording royalties.

Over the summer, more news from this world arrived, with a pre-sale report from Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA), confirming that Hipgnosis was in the process of launching its own music royalty-backed bond package – a $221.65 million securitized offering.

US music licensing/collection society, SESAC also closed a $335 million bond transaction over the summer. This offering was actually a whole-business securitization, which Bloomberg likened in its report at the time to SESAC “effectively mortgaging” its company.


In September, Concord acquired the publishing and recorded music catalogs of Tony Banks, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford, as well as the publishing and recorded music catalog from their years in the band Genesis in a deal The Wall Street Journal reported to be ‘valued at over $300 million’.

The news followed a string of recent M&A activity from Concord, such as its purchase of the assets of HitCo Entertainment and its eight-figure acquisition of Australia & New Zealand-based music publisher, Native Tongue.

Concord spent an estimated $1 billion on acquisitions during its first 14 years in business. It then spent two nine-figure sums acquiring a majority stake in Pulse Music Group in 2020, and then the Imagine Dragons publishing catalog, before acquiring Downtown’s copyright portfolio for $400 million, in 2021.Music Business Worldwide


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Jesse Murphy Signs With Peermusic Nashville

Jesse Murphy. Photo: Courtesy of peermusic

Jesse Murphy has signed an exclusive worldwide publishing deal with peermusic Nashville.

Murphy is a Nashville native and the son of hit songwriter David Lee Murphy. He started writing and playing guitar at the age of 14.

His first recording project as a member of country-rock band House Whiskey was produced by Brett Beavers and received more than a million streams in less than 12 months. The band has performed at CMA Fest, the Houston Livestock Rodeo, and opened for the Charlie Daniels Band, Tracy Byrd, Frank Foster, and more.

“I love me some Jesse Murphy—I’ve been a big fan for a long time and I’m excited to be a part of his future. Being the son of one of my favorite singer-songwriters of all time is just icing on the cake,” notes peermusic Nashville President Michael Knox.

“I’m very excited and grateful to be part of the peermusic team,” adds Murphy. “It feels like family already and I’m really looking forward to what the future holds.”

The signing of Murphy marks the first under Knox’s new role as President of peermusic Nashville, a position he took on in October of this year. In recent years, peermusic has published the 2016 SESAC Country Song of the Year with Dierks Bentley’s “Somewhere on a Beach” and the 2013 ASCAP Song of the Year with Randy Houser’s “How Country Feels.”

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