Platinum Nashville Perseveres, Signs Statlers

Platinum Nashville continues to sign artists and record new albums as its parent company, Platinum Entertainment, tests the water of offering its entire catalog online for free downloading. The company announced its free download program in November.

The country division’s most recent signing is the Statler Brothers, one of the bestselling, most-awarded acts in country music history. It plans to have an album out on the group this year.

“I’ll continue to sign artists,” says George Collier, senior vice president and general manager of Platinum Nashville, noting that his focus will remain on acquiring acts that have established a recording history. “I don’t get into the new-artist thing because that’s for the major labels,” he notes. In addition to the Statlers, Platinum Nashville’s roster includes the Oak Ridge Boys, Crystal Gayle, Suzy Bogguss and T. Graham Brown.

The Statler project, Collier reports, will be “a new album with all new songs. It will be a very modern one.” Jerry Kennedy, who produced all the Statlers’ top albums, will also produce this one. “I don’t think there’s anyone else who could go into the studio with the Statler Brothers and do a righteous job,” Collier says.

During a recording career that stretches back to 1965, the Statlers have won nine Country Music Association and three Grammy awards and earned a platinum, a multiplatinum and nine gold albums.

“We’re going into the studio in two weeks to start a new T. Graham Brown album,” Collier says. He plans to have a second Suzy Bogguss album out near the end of the year. There are “a couple of other projects” in the works, he adds, that he’s not ready to announce.

All the country albums — both new and catalog — are being made available for free online downloading, along with Platinum’s rock, pop, blues, R&B, gospel and classical titles.

“I’m furiously looking to do more established artists and put them up there [online],” Collier says, “especially some [of their] re-recordings, whether it’s a couple of songs or an entire album. I’m always glad to do that. And they get paid when they go up there.”