Cumulus (NASDAQ:CMLS) announces a strategic partnership with Country music powerhouse Big Machine Label Group to expand the growing NASH platform with the launch of a new record label and live events business. The new venture, NASH ICONS, will showcase Nashville’s most iconic talent from the last 25 years.
NASH ICONS will provide a new distribution platform for Country music’s most iconic artists including future recordings through a new record label. Cumulus will separately introduce new NASH ICONS branding on some owned-and-operated radio stations, as well as create and syndicate NASH ICONS content to affiliate stations through WestwoodOne. The venture is expected to be a profitable contributor to the bottom line in 2014 and beyond.
Driven by Country music fans’ desire for more exposure to their all-time favorite artists, NASH ICONS will be an important complement to the more contemporary-focused NASH brand. Like its sister brand, NASH ICONS will provide advertisers the opportunity to engage with the passionate Country fan base across a multi-media platform that spans radio, television, digital, magazine and live events.
The Nashville-based Big Machine Label Group is led by President and CEO Scott Borchetta and serves as the home to Country superstars such as Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Reba, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry and Florida Georgia Line. The label was heralded by Billboard as the No. 1 independent record label based on a combination of sales and radio airplay for its star-studded roster of talent.
Cumulus will create and distribute a 24×7 NASH ICONS format and a long-form NASH ICONS feature show. The expansion of NASH to include NASH ICONS will allow the same markets to have NASH and NASH ICONS radio stations. NASH ICONS will also feature live events, merchandising, video and a section in NASH magazine, all coordinated to expand opportunities for Country fans to enjoy content featuring the iconic stars they love.
NASH ICONS will be based at the NASH Campus in Nashville, the nation’s only multi-media facility devoted solely to producing and distributing content based on the Country music lifestyle. The NASH campus includes three studios designed for a combination of TV and radio programming, indoor and outdoor event space, a print newsroom and extensive office space. Leading Country stars including Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum and Sheryl Crow are among the early visitors who’ve already spent time at the NASH campus.
All 68 Cumulus-owned Country stations are “Powered by NASH” and exclusive programming from the NASH campus currently airs on more than 400 radio stations nationwide through WestwoodOne, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Cumulus that creates and distributes content. Cumulus is also an investor in digital audio provider Rdio, which will soon feature dedicated NASH and NASH ICON programming.