The Music Biz Awards & Hall of Fame Dinner is always a high point for the annual Music Biz conference (see our full recap later today), with awards handed out to recording artists, industry executives and record store owners. The common bond uniting all recipients is they have essentially devoted their lives to music, spurred on by exposure at an early age to the power of a song. The ensuing love affair takes people on different paths in life, with some attaining legendary artistic status and others supporting these same artists in traditional industry ways. So it’s fitting that a conference devoted specifically to the business of music to honors them all with equal status and fervor.
At this year’s event, Peter Frampton received the Chairman’s Award for Sustained Creative Achievement; pop and country star Bebe Rexha and country newcomer Kane Brown received Breakthrough Artist Awards; Darius Rucker was awarded the Harry Chapin Memorial Humanitarian Award (presented by Harry’s widow Sandy Chapin); Sony Music Nashville Chairman and CEO Randy Goodman was recognized with the Presidential Award for Outstanding Executive Achievement; Record Archive owners Richard Storms and Alayna Alderman were honored with the Independent Spirit Award; and The Orchard Co-Founder Richard Gottehrer received the Outstanding Achievement Award. The dinner also featured a live two-song acoustic performance from CMA and ACM Award-winning artist Luke Combs.
The late Sir George Martin was inducted into the Music Business Hall of Fame, with a speech by his son Giles Martin. The 2019 Hall of Fame class also includes major labels Atlantic Records and Capitol Records; independent label Sub Pop; industry executives, the late Ahmet Ertegun, Herb Abramson and Miriam Abramson (later Bienstock); music industry landmarks the Apollo Theatre, CBGB, Hitsville U.S.A. — The Birthplace of Motown, Sun Studio, and the Troubadour; and Rolling Stone magazine.
Richard Gottehrer recounted how he began his career as a songwriter and producer (“My Boyfriend’s Back,” “I Want Candy,” “Hang On Sloopy”) before starting Sire Records and later The Orchard, a pioneer in independent music distribution. He marveled at how a song he wrote as a teenager became a pivotal moment in his life when he found out that Jerry Lee Lewis had recorded it. “For me, it was life-changing. I was a teenage piano player and he was my idol. The fact that he recorded a song I wrote was amazing for a kid from the Bronx. That song got me into the music business and led me to everything else that followed. I wouldn’t be who I am without that song. You have to respect the songwriter, appreciate and celebrate the songwriter. And more importantly, make sure the songwriter is compensated.”
Bebe Rexha took the moment to passionately address the need for more women in higher executive positions. “I don’t see many women executives,” she said, adding that they are paid much less for doing the same job. “The number is really staggering. That needs to change. I will be letting you know that one day I will be running one of the biggest record labels. I will be that female. Women deserve a chance and I will make a space for them” she promised.
Peter Frampton reflected on his long career, his recent diagnosis of the muscle disease inclusion body myositis diagnosis (IBM) and the relationship he’s built with industry professionals over the years. He wryly noted that he attended his first convention in 1977 when he had more hair “and it was known as NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) or as we called it, the National Association of Rack-jobbing Men.” He revealed that he and his band are spending as much time as possible in the recording studio and have enough material for four albums. “I’ve never recorded this much in my life, but I have to do that right now because this year will be my final tour. Unfortunately, it’s not because I want to stop. I am having some health problems, but I really am the luckiest guy because my passion for my music has kept me going.”
Record Archive owners Richard Storms and Alayna Alderman have built a loyal following of customers in their Rochester, NY store since Storms opened his flea market shop in 1975. When Alderman joined him in 1985, the pair zeroed in on making the location a destination spot for all things music, including physical copies, live performance, memorabilia and a general meeting place for music talk.
Sony Music Nashville Chairman and CEO Randy Goodman humbly paid tribute to the behind the scenes dedication of his team. “This recognition carries an awareness that those who are honored are part of something bigger: iconic organizations that are greater than the individuals who are honored. Honorees are merely the faces of those who work behind the scenes” supporting artists on their road to success.
BuzzAngle Music, City National Bank, Jammber and TiVo sponsored the dinner event. Music Biz will be held in Nashville for the next two years. “We love our partnership with this town,” said Music Biz President James Donio.