CMA starts push to up visibility both in and out of industry

NASHVILLE, TN: The Country Music Association (CMA), a trade group representing about 6,000 musicians and recording artists, is launching a new initiative to raise awareness of both country music and the role it plays in the business.

NASHVILLE, TN: The Country Music Association (CMA), a trade group representing about 6,000 musicians and recording artists, is launching a new initiative to raise awareness of both country music and the role it plays in the business.

"The board understands that CMA can't fix the economy, or the overall state of the industry, said executive director Ed Benson. "But there are areas in which CMA can make a big difference for everyone's good, and that is where we want to focus."

The new PR plan calls for the agency to boost efforts in three areas.

First, CMA will try to raise the profile of its annual live music festival, Fan Fair, by increasing media interest and attendance. That event, held in June in Nashville, drew more than 126,000 people this year.

It will also try to increase the "value and impact of its annual awards show, according to a release. That will include raising the production values of the show, and increasing marketing and promotion. The broadcast is aired by CBS in November.

CMA also plans to start an outreach program for country music artists to help relations, and better explain CMA's function to those it is meant to serve.

"We want artists to know we're here for them, said CMA senior media relations manager Scott Stem.

CMA does most PR in-house, but Nashville-based Schmidt Relations helps with Fan Fair.

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