10 Questions with ... Butch Waugh
February 10, 2013
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
For Brief Career Synopsis: Butch spent the last 40-years in the music industry, with 27 of those years at Sony Music. He retired from Sony in 2009 from his position as Executive VP. Since 2009 Waugh has been working as a consultant on various projects.
1) You've began a new venture with your Country Now YouTube channel. Can you tell us a little about it and what to expect?
YouTube's Country Now is going to be a fun, unique, and, entertaining channel dedicated to Country music focusing on all aspects of the country lifestyle. I am a huge Country music fan and I come from the Joe Galante culture where growing country music is job one. Country Now will be exposing country artist and their music to consumers, viewers, listeners, and fans by giving them a destination location. When I had my first conversations with GreenLight Media & Marketing Partner's President Dominic Sandifer it was clear YouTube and he were focused on creating a Country music channel to super serve Country music's fans. Dominic and I were on the same page from the very first meeting.
2) You retired from Sony a few years ago. What inspired you to dip back into the industry and help bring this project to life?
Honestly the retirement did not stick. I have continued working since I left Sony. I really enjoy the role of consultant; not having an assigned parking space gives me a lot of flexibility. Working with the talented and creative team at GreenLight has been fantastic; they are committed to country music. The team at GreenLight has a lot of energy and is determined to create a great channel for country music fans. I will never retire as long as there are opportunities to work with great people and to get a chance to be part of something like Country Now.
I am currently the Chairman of the Academy of Country Music Board of Directors. I have been an ACM board member since '98. Getting to work with Bob Romeo, Tiffany Moon, the ACM staff and directors is a blessing. So I am as busy as ever.
3) I understand the Country Now channel is looking for label and artist partners to provide content to the channel. What type of content are you hoping to see come alive through this medium?
Country Now has created specific shows with a few launching this week, Country Download is a weekly news show hosted by Shane Tallant along with Samantha Stephens and The AntMan, I Love My Country is a very funny weekly animated show, OMC ! is a country fashion show hosted by Laura Bell Bundy along with Brooke Engen, Tiffany Engen, and Hugh Howser. It's a riot, and Hear & Now is a weekly new music show hosted by Stokes Nielsen. While these shows and others to come are specific Country Now is also open to working with labels and artist with concepts that are unique and exciting that expose fans to a side of the artist they may not have seen.
4) How would you describe the experience working with GreenLight Media and Marketing and YouTube over the past few months?
Working with the team at GreenLight Media & Marketing and YouTube is exciting. Every day is more exciting than the day before. Always moving forward always with the intent to create something special for the Country music fan. Over 60% of young adults find about new artist and new music on YouTube. Country Now not only gives the current country music fans a destination channel but this channel will expose country music to the next generation of country music fans. There are very active viewers on YouTube; Country Now is in position to expose Country music to these fans.
5) If you could name the top highlight moment in your career in the music industry, what would it be?
Top highlight? Wow, that is tough, I have been lucky to work with so many talented and gifted people. One defining moment for me was when I was working for RCA Records in N.Y., I was Sr. VP of RCA Label at the time and Joe Galante was Chairman of the RCA Label Group in Nashville, I will never forget the words when he asked "do you want to come to Nashville and run my labels?" All I said was "yes," never asked terms or anything else. Best day ever. While at the RCA Label Group/Sony we were blessed to be named Billboard's Top Country Label 7 of 8 years. It is so exciting to see the company's hard work pay off.
Other highlights working with Herb Albert and Jerry Moss at A&M Records, they really made everyone at the company feel like family and treated everyone with such respect. Getting a chance to work with Bruce Hornsby, Bob Seger, Carol King, Rick Springfield, Supertramp, Starship, Annie Lenox, and the awesome Dave Matthews Band are highlights. Nashville was has been a blast, I really love Nashville. I had a front row seat to witness the amazing success of Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, the awesome Martina McBride, Sarah Evans, Chris Young, Jake Owen, and others just gives me such delight. Nothing more exciting than achieving a # 1 single, debuting # 1 in sales, or walking into a venue to seeing one of your artist up on stage. That never gets old
6) This Country Now channel is going to hit on new music, fashion, comedy and much more. Are you envisioning this becoming a staple for those who have chosen to make online streaming their main source of television?
We want Country Now to be the destination for the 22 million country music fans on YouTube. Give these fans a fresh take on Country music, give the artist a place to present their music to current and a new group of fans. Fans spend a lot of time on YouTube and these fans represent a huge active audience and country Music can only benefit from this exposure.
7) How do you think Country music has changed over the past five years, and where do you see it going in the future?
I feel Country music is being exposed to a younger, more active, loyal fan base. Look how many country artists are headlining tours this year? Nashville is known for great songs and exceptional talented artist. I have not seen any drop off in this fan base over the past years; my opinion is country music will continue to grow and bring more fans into the format. I see the promos for the Grammy's, and it looks like Country music has more artists on this show than ever before. There is a reason CBS wants these acts, they have huge appeal. As long as the songs keep moving people, the artist stay in touch and in tune with their fan base we will continue to see growth and new fans in Country.
8) If you could have your own show on the Country Now channel, what would it be?
I do have a show on Country Now, Hear & Now. When Dominic and I were discussing original programming and how to best serve the country music community we talked about in Nashville "it all starts with a song." So with that in mind Hear & Now was created. Research tells us with our busy lives it takes multiple listens before we connect with a song's lyrics. Hear & Now not only will play the song but gives the artist an opportunity to intro their song themselves, tell the inspiration behind the song. The fan will hear the single, know why the artist wrote or recorded the song, and in some cases see the artist image for the first time. Connecting the dots and driving the awareness process.
9) What is your advice to anyone wanting to succeed in the Country Music Industry?
The most important things for an artist in country music are the song and the fans. Every successful artist has a great work ethic, an inner drive, a passion for music, and boundless energy, but if you want to compete in this town you have to know what separates you from the others. Keep in mind once you are on a company's single release schedule you are competing with every artist and every song on the chart, bring everything you have, you only get so many chances.
10) If you were to trade lives with anyone for a day, who would it be?
I would trade with Skip Bishop; he is the most creative person I know. I would like to get into his head and find out what is going on in there. I would trade places with son Tyler. He knows more about the internet, social media, electronics, cars, music, politics, and movies than anyone I know. How do you get that smart?
I would not mind changing with Kenny Chesney, look out at an audience of 60K fans every night knowing they know every song you have ever recorded, that is special.
1. What is your ultimate comfort food?
My comfort food is my wife's Belinda's homemade soup, good grief it is awesome! And my daughter's Drew's sausage pasta.
2. What is your all-time favorite sitcom?
My favorite sitcoms are "House Of Lies" and all-time "Seinfeld." Favorite movie this year is "Django" and all-time "Pulp Fiction." Favorite album is "Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet." Favorite game is "Texas Hold 'Em." My favorite restaurant is "Alfredo's" in Atlanta and "Angelo's" in Little Italy. Favorite actor, not counting John Wayne, is Michael Douglas.