Ever wondered what goes into record promotion? In this episode of Thinkin’ & Drinkin’, Rob Dalton dives into the nitty-gritty of record promotion. He tells stories of promotion parties, launching some of country music’s top artist and how the business has changed over the last 30 years.
Meet Rob Dalton:
Rob Dalton graduated from M.T.S.U. with a BS in Recording Industry Management, Mass Communications and Business Administration. He began his career at CBS Records (later to become Sony Music) in 1987 as a promotion coordinator for the Columbia and Epic imprints.
He was promoted to the newly created position of Manager Promotions in 1988 which focused on secondary radio promotion. At that time, Dalton promoted artists such as Ricky Van Shelton, Ricky Skaggs, Charlie Daniels, Tammy Wynette, Shenandoah, The Shooters, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Dolly Parton, Rodney Crowell, Roseanne Cash, Willie Nelson, Exile, Marty Stuart and others.
Sony purchased CBS Records and became Sony Music in 1989. At that time the Columbia and Epic Records imprints were split. Dalton was promoted to Regional Promotion Manager covering the Mid-West and Northeast territories. In 1992, he was promoted to National Director Promotion, Epic Records. In 1994 appointed to Vice President Promotion Epic Records. During his tenure at Epic new faces were added such as; Doug Stone (15 consecutive Top 3 singles or better), Joe Diffie (four consecutive #1 singles on his first album, then many to follow), Collin Raye (#1 singles from his first four projects), Patty Loveless (elevated to CMA and ACM Female Vocalist of the year). In addition were successes from The Kinleys, James Bonamy, Sons of the Desert, Shelby Lynn, Tammy Cochran, Billy Gillman, Ty Herndon, and others. Epic became the #3 chart share label.
In 2002, Dalton left Sony Music to start the Curb/Asylum label. While there he re-launched a number of artists including; Wynonna (“What The World Needs Now” – Top 10), Leann Rimes (“Nothin’ ‘Bout Love” – Top 5, “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way” – Top 5), Trick Pony (“The Bride” – Top 15, “It’s A Heartache” – Top 15). Also, Blue County (“Good Little Girls” – Top 10).
In 2006, Dalton started New Revolution Entertainment with partner Jeff Solima as an independent full-service promotion company. New Revolution partnered with Midas Records in a promotion head capacity delivering Emerson Drive their first # 1 single, “Moments” in 2007 and nominated for the CMA Song of the Year. One of the foundation concepts for starting New Revolution Entertainment was to foster the belief that artists could be launched on the highest of levels without a major record label affiliation. It was proven in short order with New Revolution’s involvement of the #1 single, “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band and the #11 chart debut of Gloriana, “Wild At Heart”. Gloriana went on to win the American Music Awards Best New Artist award (all formats) which led to their Warner Music signing. New Revolution has also partnered with Martina McBride and RCA to deliver her hit single, “I Just Call You Mine” and Darryl Worley’s Top 10 single, “Sounds Like Life”, Lee Brice “Love Like Crazy” #3 single (Billboards Most Played single 2010), Steve Holy “Love Don’t Run” Top 15. The Farm, “Home Sweet Home” was one of the fastest-growing debut singles of 2011 and peaked at #18. NRE was also hired to aid in Tim McGraws, Top 5 single, “Better Than I Used To Be” during his label transition. NRE delivered Will Hoge, “Strong” Top 40 which sold over 200,000 downloads. After country duo Big & Rich parted ways with Warner Music Nashville, New Rev partnered with them in an independent configuration. The debut single on B&R Records was the second-highest-ranking single of their career peaking at #6. The second single, “Run Away With You” peaked at #10 giving them back to back top 10’s for the first time in their 12 year career. The third single, “Lovin’ Lately” featuring Tim McGraw also peaked at #10 giving them three consecutive Top 10 singles and achieving more success in three years than the 12 years at Warner Music. NRE was hired by Scotty McCreery’s mgmt company to get a single started after his departure from Universal in the hopes of landing a record deal. We were able to not only get a single started, land a record deal but worked in conjunction with them to deliver Scotty his first and only #1 single to date. NRE recently debuted the James Barker Band on the Mediabase Top 50. What’s significant is that it’s the first and only time a Canadian band has debuted in the American Top 50 independently.
New Revolution was awarded the Independent Promotion Company of the Year award during the 2013 and 2016 Country Radio Seminar.
Over the course of his 30-year career, Dalton has played a vital role launching over 120 Top 10 singles at country radio.
Dalton has also spent the last 2 1/2 years developing an airplay analytics sorting software platform designed to help artists and companies identify where their best opportunities for new airplay and growth are likely to come from. Targeted commercial launch is October 2019.
Top 10 or higher singles discography
Big & Rich “Look At You”
“Run Away With You” “Lovin’ Lately”
Blue County “Good Little Girls”
James Bonamy “I Don’t Think I Will”
Lee Brice “Love Like Crazy”
Mary Chapin Carpenter “Down At The Twist And Shout” “I Take My Chances” “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” “Something Of A Dreamer” “I Feel Lucky” “Quittin’ Time”
Roseanne Cash “Tennessee Flat Top Box”
Charlie Daniels “Simple Man”
Tammy Cochran “Angels In Waiting”
Rodney Crowell “I Couldn’t Leave You”
“Lovin’ All Night” “After All This Time” “If Looks Could Kill” “Many A Long And Lonesome Highway”
Joe Diffie “Pickup Man”
“Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox” “Honky Tonk Attitude” “It’s Always Something”
“John Deere Gree”
“Bigger Than The Beatles” “Third Rock From The Sun” “So Help Me Girl” “New Way To Light Up An Old Flame” “A Night To Remember”
“If The Devil Danced In Empty Pockets” “Ships That Don’t Come In” “Texas Size Heartache” “Is It Cold In Here”
“If You Want Me To”
‘In My Own Backyard”
Emerson Drive “Moments”
Vern Gosdin “Set ‘Em Up Joe”
“Chiseled In Stone” “If You’re Gonna Do Me Wrong” “Do You Believe Me Now”
Ty Herndon “What Mattered Most”
“A Man Holding On” “Living In A Moment” “Loved Too Much” “It Must Be Love”
“I Want My Goodbye Back” “Hands Of A Working Man” “She Wants To Be Wanted”
Waylon Jennings “The Eagle”
The Kinleys “Please”
“Just Between You And Me” “Somebody’s Out There Watching”
Patty Loveless “Blame It On Your Heart”
“Think About Elvis” “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye” “You Can Feel Bad” “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am” “Lonely Too Long” “That’s The Kind Of Mood I’m In” “Nothin’ But The Wheel” “Last Thing On My Mind”
Scotty McCreery “Five More Minutes”
Tim McGraw “Better Than I Used To Be”
Brad Martin “Before I Knew Better”
Ken Mellons “Jukebox Junkie”
Dolly Parton “Why’d You Come In Here Looking Like That”
Collin Raye “That’s My Story”
“I Can Still Feel You” “Love Me” “Little Red Rodeo” “I Think About You” “One Boy, One Girl” “My Kind Of Girl” “Little Rock”
“In This Life” “Couldn’t Last A Moment” “Not That Different” “On The Verge” ‘I Want You Bad” “That Was A River” “Somebody Else’s Moon” “If I Were You” “Every Second”
Leann Rimes “Nothin’ ‘Bout Love”
“Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way”
Shenandoah “Two Dozen Roses”
“Next To You, Next To Me” “The Church On Cumberland Road” “Mama Knows” “Sunday In The South”
Ricky Skaggs “Same ‘Ol Love”
“Heartbreak Hurricane” “Love’s Gonna Get Ya Someday”
Sons Of The Desert “Whatever Comes First”
Doug Stone “I’d Be Better Off In A Pine Box” “In A Different Light” “Why Didn’t I Think Of That” “A Jukebox With A Country Song” ‘I Never Knew Love” “I Thought It Was You” “Too Busy Being In Love” “Fourteen Minuets Old’ “Warning Labels” “Little Houses” “These Lips Don’t Know How To Say Goodbye”
Darryl Worley “Sounds Like Life”
Wyonna “What The World Needs”
What Bart has to say: Rob was the guy at the other end of the hall when I worked at Monument and he worked at Epic. We fought against each other and then for each other. I’m grateful to call him my friend and proud of him for starting his new venture.
In this episode, you’ll hear
Rob talks about how he worked his way up from the mailroom to Vice President of a major record company
Bart & Rob talk about The Kinley’s duo and the flying Elvises
Rob talk about the changes in the music industry over the last 30 years
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