10 Questions with ... Betsy Morley
February 26, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I began working at Capitol Records on January 2, 1990 as manager of administration (22 years ago). At that time, my job included office administration and A&R administration. Over the years, I streamlined to Sr. Dr. A&R Administration.
1) Congrats on 22 years with Capitol Nashville! Was Capitol your first job in music and please tell us how you got your start there.
Thank you! No, my 1st job was receptionist at the Jim Halsey Company. I'd met Fred Knobloch at the Bluebird and he guided me towards Halsey.
2) So I hear there is a bash in your honor every year at Capitol. How long has this yearly party been going on and did you have a great time this year?
This was the 6th anniversary of "Cinco de Betso". Yes, it was a lot of fun! Mike always gives me a trophy and decorates me with a special hat and glasses and we blow off party poppers over at Cinco de Mayo on White Bridge Road. I'm not sure the restaurant loves it as much as we do!
3) Longevity with one company in our industry is so rare. What's advice would you give to young people trying to make it into the industry today who would love to be able to have the same type of career?
Administrative positions seem to have more longevity than some others. My advice is to work hard and steer clear of politics.
4) When you started with Capitol in 1990 cassettes was the main way people were getting music! How has the digital revolution affected your job and how do you stay on top of all the changes?
The change is quite profound. It's almost a completely different business. While we occasionally have vinyl releases, we've never gone back to a cassette format. We have digital albums, singles, ringtones, ringbacks, videos. When we release an album it becomes more than just one release. We have bonus content for various physical partners, bonus content for various digital partners, sometimes combinations of audio and visual content, and the list goes on. I'm able to send the audio for our digital releases and parts for physical releases to our territories from my computer. It's been an amazing transformation.
5) Do you think that eventually all music sales will be digital or do you see the CD being around for a long time?
I hope there will always be some kind of physical product. I'm from the generation who read every word on the album jacket. I like to hold it in my hands and read it - I may need a magnifying glass to read the booklet, but that's ok with me! I like to buy the cd and then load it into iTunes so I've got the physical package.
6) What's the biggest change you have seen in the music itself since the 90s?
That's such a big question; I wouldn't know where to start. There seems to be a style in music that changes every decade or so. The song writing, recording, singing, mixing, mastering all seem to morph periodically.
7) Do you think there's a formula in Country music for a hit song and can you tell a song is going to be a hit the first time you hear it?
I don't know that there's a formula. From where I sit, you need a great song performed by a great artist with a great producer. Then you need a great team like we've got at Capitol to get it out to the fans.
8) Throughout your years at Capitol, who have been some of the artists or songs that you wished would have been a bigger mainstream success?
I've loved all of our artists and thought they were all exceptionally talented. It breaks my heart every time we part ways with one.
9) How would you consider your biggest mentors, inside or outside of the music industry?
Steve Tillisch, Mike Dungan, Jimmy Bowen, Pat Rolfe, Karen Conrad, Kay Smith and a thousand more people have guided me and helped me along the way.
10) What are you most proud of in your career so far?
I'm very proud of what we've got going on here at Capitol/ EMI. Our staff and resources have been cut back over the years but rather than let that slow us down, we work that much harder and are that much stronger. We've got the most incredibly awesome roster and staff. I'm proud to be a member of this team.
1) Tell us about your adopted Great Dane Boz Scaggs! How did you pick that name for him?
I love dogs so much but it's been many years since my circumstances could accommodate a dog. I love Boz Scaggs' music and his name and had picked that name for a dog, no matter who the dog would be. And if I ever get to have a kitty, his/her name will be Steely Dan.
2) I know you and your boyfriend Steve Tillisch are bird watchers. What are the best sightings you have made in TN?
Reel Foot Lake in West Tennessee with one of the largest winter populations of Bald Eagles is an incredible place to see many, many eagles. And the Hiawassee Refuge north of Chattanooga has a huge winter flock of Sandhill Cranes which is stunning to see.
3) What do you love about living in the Nashville area and what is the one place you can't let visiting friends leave town without seeing?
I love the people and the environment here (except for the majorly hot days in summer). I like to make sure my guests don't leave Nashville without spending some time at the Park Café.