Music Business

Music Row Magazine Review: What Is Music Row Magazine?

Photograph of the blog post author, Pete Briley

Pete Briley

25.5.2021

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Music Row Nashville Tennessee is one of the most famous areas in music. Pretty much every building is either a recording studio, label office, publishing house or production suite. But it also has its own dedicated magazine. For 40 years, Music Row Magazine has been Nashville’s foremost industry trade publication.

Music row logo

In this article, we will take a look at what Music Row Magazine is, their pricing, and some alternatives to Music Row.

Be sure to stay until the very end so you don’t miss out on any key information!

What Is Music Row Magazine?

music row magazine front cover dixie chicks

In short, Music Row Magazine is a trade publication centered around downtown Nashville and the music scene there. 

Of course, the nature of the Nashville scene is that it tends to lead the world in global trends in all genres. Particularly when it comes to country music in the USA. Many country music hall of fame artists have emerged from Nashville.

What Does Music Row Do?

Now that we have gone over what Music Row is, let’s go into what specifically the magazine is known for.

The Music Row Charts

music row top songwriter charts page

Music Row Magazine has a number of really interesting charts as a way of tracking which artists and songwriters and hot both today and looking back.

Their Radio Chart shows which artists are trending in terms of radio popularity. What’s really neat is that they also highlight new additions to the charts. This is so that you can see new entries as they come in.

We’re also really big fans of the Songwriter charts. This is really handy for musicians or artists looking to collaborate with established songwriters (or for anyone interested in songwriting credits in general). This is because you can easily see which songwriters are having the most chart success. Also, which artists they are working with.

Another nice angle is that the Music Row website lists the Current Radio and Songwriter charts but also lists the archives so you can go back and see radio and songwriter performance charts historically. 

The Challenge Coin

music row chart challenge coin

Music Row Magazine has a tradition of awarding it’s No.1 Challenge Coin to all artists that hit the top spot of the Country Breakout Charts.

They then catalogue the distribution of the coins and highlight who has received them each week.

DISClaimer

music row nashville

DISClaimer is Music Row Magazine’s weekly review update, giving the Magazine’s take on the newest singles released in the Country world.

Their reviews are often pretty significant for the artists whose songs are featured here.

Obits

Music Row Obits section

One of the great things about the country genre is its longevity. Country has been popular for decades and shows no signs of slowing down. Sadly, this means a lot of people involved in the scene as the years go by pass on. 

Music Row is excellent at providing detailed obituaries to honour artists who have passed away.

It also pays homage to those industry figures behind the scenes. It offers a window into their fascinating careers during some of the most exciting periods in music; let alone just in country music. 

RowFax

music row row fax web page

RowFax is a separate publication provided by Music Row Magazine. It’s an industry-leading tipsheet that provides up-to-date information about which artists are currently working on recording projects and looking for material. 

It is used by publishers, songwriters, producers, A&R, artists, and anyone else interested in finding and recording new songs. It’s been going since 1992 so it is certainly one of the established tipsheets for the country music market. 

Calendars – Music Industry Events

calender stock photo

Music Row Magazine also maintains a number of calendars. The single and album release calendars are really useful but what really stands out is the Music Row Industry Events calendar.

This handy portion of the magazine gives an overview of all the upcoming music industry events from Hall of Fame awards through to Bonnaroo through to events like the Country Radio Seminar. 

Again for songwriters and musicians looking to break into the industry (as well as for music fans in general) this can be really useful information that allows you plan your networking and event attendance and potentially look for opportunities around those events which often include performances as part of the show.

There are also annual events hosted by Music Row Magazine including the Music Row Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and Rising Women on the Row. All of these are pretty spectacular and entertaining shows.

Music Row Pricing

Music row subscription pricing

Music Row has a couple of different subscription models – you can subscribe for 1 or 2 years and you can also do a Music Row / RowFax combo subscription.

All subscribers receive the print magazine (issued 6 times a year); morning, afternoon and breaking news emails; the Music Row CountryBreakout Radio Chart, Voting Eligibility for the Music Row Awards and exclusive notifications of Music Row Events. 

You can also choose to subscribe just to the RowFax tip sheet which comes in at $179 per year.

Music Row Alternatives

There are tons of different trade publications in the music industry and in many cases its really a question of what kind of information you are looking for.

Here are a few alternatives that you may have heard of.

Music Week

Music week logo

For UK-based artists, Music Week is the leading music industry publication. Like Music Row it has charts, industry news, reviews, and features.

It also has a jobs section for people looking for roles in the music industry and a very handy Music Week industry directory full of contacts within the business so for those really looking to make progress in the UK Music Industry this would probably be a better bet than Music Row. 

It also covers all genres so it is a little more relevant to artists outside of a specific genre. Subscriptions start at £179 but again there are a few options.

Billboard Business

Billboard logo with colour

You are probably already familiar with the Billboard brand. The Billboard charts are the main charts for all genres in the USA and they have a dedicated Business Publication that covers industry updates, charts, etc. 

Unlike Music Row, it covers all genres across the entire industry so it is very broad, which can be good if you are looking to learn about the wider industry but if your interest is in Country and specifically the business  of that genre in Nashville, then you probably won’t get the detail you need from a publication like Billboard.

Outside of the industry news – Billboard Business has a number of Pro tools. Whilst Music Row seems to be aimed at serving songwriters looking to place their songs with artists, Billboard offers the same kind of service in reverse – i.e. a catalogue of the songs that are currently available to be picked up by artists – so it appears to be focussed on A&R looking to source material for artists rather than songwriters looking to place their songs.

Music Gateway

Music Gateway logo

Music Gateway has a number of services and crosses multiple genres and countries. In terms of news and features, they have some industry coverage such as the Grammy results, etc.

But, the majority of the news features are targeted at people looking to break into the music or film industries. They have a lot of really helpful articles on the blog that compare different services. Additionally, they explain how to get certain kinds of work.

Like MusicRow Magazine, Music Gateway also has a tip sheet element in that there are opportunities for songwriters to place their songs with artists from all over the world.

Music Gateway goes a little beyond Music Row magazine. In terms of the genres spanned but also in terms of the types of opportunities offered. This is since Music Gateway includes opportunities for things such as sync

Music Row Magazine goes into more detail around specific industry developments and the business mechanism of the Nashville scene. Generally, the opportunities in the RowFax tip sheet are quite specific to Nashville and the USA. 

In terms of pricing, Music Gateway comes in at a friendlier price point with an annual cost of £60 per year for the basic membership.

That Was Our Guide On Music Row Magazine

Music Row front cover with sam hunt

Music Row is a really useful publication if you are working in the country scene. Particularly if you are working in Nashville. For any musician or artist, having a good network of contacts is key.

Additionally being able to understand the changes, challenges and opportunities at an industry level allows you to much better understand and interact with your contacts. All in all, it will ultimately grow your career.

Music Row is quite a specialist magazine. So, if you are looking for something more generalist, we’d recommend Music Week or Billboard. But if breaking into the country business is on the agenda, Music Row Magazine and the RowFax tip sheet is not a bad place to start!

Just to note, it is worth not getting Music Row Magazine and Music Row area in Nashville confused.

What is the street name of Music Row in Nashville you ask? The Music Row area is centered on 16th and 17th Avenues South. These are known as Music Square East and West respectively. This is considered the heart of Nashville’s entertainment industry, so be sure to check it out if you’re in the neighbourhood!

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