Arista Records Methodically Phasing Out

Arista Records’ country acts and their managers reportedly have been meeting with designated RCA staffers to smooth their transition when RCA takes over the remains of the Arista roster. Publicists for Arista say they know of no such meetings.

The phasing out of Arista/Nashville is expected to be complete when Tim DuBois leaves the label’s presidency at the end of June to establish a record label for Gaylord Entertainment.

“There have been times when [RCA Label Group chairman Joe Galante] has been out on the road that he’s seen [Arista] artists,” says Fletcher Foster, Arista’s senior vice president of marketing, “but they’re more like get-to-know meetings. No decisions have been made as to which artists are staying or going.” Sherrie Austin departed Arista recently after two albums.

Foster says Arista staff members have not been given a notice of their final day of work. “Everybody’s just working on the June 30 date when Clive’s [Arista chairman Clive Davis] contract ends.”

Six Arista staff members have already left, Foster says, most of them from the manager level on down. The highest-ranking staffer to exit was David Macias, senior director of sales and marketing.

Further indication of Arista/Nashville’s imminent shutdown is the paucity of new album releases. Only three albums bearing the Arista logo are scheduled through May, and two of them are basically collections of music already released in other configurations. They are a BR5-49 live album, April 4; Ultimate Country Party II by various artists, April 18 (tentative); and BlackHawk’s Greatest Hits (May 16).

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to