Editor’s Note: Recently, The Country Network launched the TCN App on seven different streaming platforms. In an interview with Madness To Creation, TCN CEO Tim Eaton discusses his wild card predictions on who’s going to launch into the stratosphere in the world of country music along with how the app works. Fans can find The Country Network at the following social media locations:
Madness To Creation: Thank you for taking the time for me for Madness To Creation, Tim, especially with the very hectic schedule that you have. You helped launch the TCN App, what is your vision when you launched this app?
Tim: It’ll get us anywhere, The Country Network is 10 years old, we’ve only had it for four, but one of the questions that you always get asked is “how do I find it, what do I watch, are you on Charter, are you on this”, so for us, we’ve got a standard def network, we’ve got an HD network for cable, a 4K network that we have satellited out, we want to be everywhere in every format, whatever you need, whether you got a $30 antenna at Wal-Mart and you’re watching using an OTA signal, or whether you got cable and you’re watching with the HD signal, or if you have satellite and you’re watching with the 4K signal, now add that to the arsenal of weapons so to speak, what’s in our toolbox now is the app so we can reach everybody, so I think that was our goal from the beginning, we just want to get everyone to get seen everywhere anytime they want.
Madness To Creation: So with this app are you going to have different features like “Artist of the Week” or feature different entertainers or?
Tim: Well, we have our regular shows on there, we have an office in Nashville where we are working on a small studio where we have guest veejays for the Top 20 Countdown, we’ve talked about artist showcases, in other words, do an hour of Jason Aldean, maybe an hour of Luke Bryan, but when you do that, you gotta use people that have got a lot of content, so we play the big boys, but we like playing the up and comers, the independents that you don’t know, so a lot of our shows are showcases of up and comers, so I think we’re going to push that, but we’re always going to be looking at how we can get more Jason Aldean or Luke Bryan or Keith Urban, we’ve gotta keep pumping those people in, but if they’ve changed labels on us in the last several years, then we might not have that agreement with that new label. So, we have 113 labels that we have agreements with, so if they’ve changed one or if a new one pops up, we gotta get that, but we’ll continue to focus on the new talent but also on seasoned talent.
Madness To Creation: I think it’s so cool that The Country Network focuses the majority of their energy on the up and comers. Give me a list of three to five artists that we should focus on in the year 2020.
Tim: I’d look out for Runaway June, which is a threesome that has John Wayne’s granddaughter in the group, and they have just recently dropped their new EP and are now opening for the likes of Maren Morris, I think they’re going to be a part of a woman’s tribute on the CMA’s, but Runaway June is one of those that I would say to keep an eye on. Another guy that has a song called “The Power of Garth” out, his name is Lucas Hoge, and I think that Lucas is rising the charts, we have known him for about four years, and he’s starting to open for bigger people, and he’s going out on tour, and he’s sponsored by Southwest Airlines so he flies everywhere, for an up and comer to fly everywhere instead of taking a dadgum bus, I think they appreciate that, he’s hosted “Live From The Valentine”, which is one of our shows on the app. Another guy that you have to take a look at, his name is Sean Whiting, and he’s on our shows that come out of the Bluegrass Hills of Kentucky, Sean is another Chris Stapleton, grew up about 20 minutes from where Chris Stapleton grew up, and for the longest time, he looked like Chris Stapleton, well now he has shaved the beard, shaved the hair off, got back down to a clean-cut guy to where he won’t be labeled as, “oh he’s just trying to be Chris Stapleton”, with Sean Whiting, that’s somebody that you’ll have to look at. An up and coming female that we think is pretty strong is Stephanie Quayle. Stephanie Quayle is one of those that her first hit was “Drinking With Dolly”, and it’s amazing how these people make a song about a big name person, and all of a sudden, everybody wants to hear it, which I think is great marketing. Stephanie Quayle, her first number one hit was “Drinking With Dolly”, then she ended up with “Winnebago”, then she ended up on a tour in a Winnebago bus going to all of the KOA’s, those two right there are really rising up. Don’t ever forget people like Tate Stevens, who was on the X Factor a few years back, and I think his good days are ahead of him, and with someone like a Sundance Head, Sundance Head is a good old Texas boy that won “The Voice” a couple years back, and I think you’re gonna see him continue to rise, so there’s a few that I gave you. There’s a three-piece there is going to rise and that is Runaway June. I just think that the music that they’re playing, I think the world is ready for another Dixie Chicks that don’t have their mouth open talking politics, so I think your Runaway June could be your next Dixie Chicks.
Madness To Creation: I remember that when Dixie Chicks opened their mouths up about President Bush at a concert overseas I think it was. You mentioned earlier about having agreements with 113 record labels. As a CEO of a company, what is something that you look for in order to strike up that deal?
Tim: Two things, do they use us as marketing and allow us to play it, or do they want dollars to play it? That’s the first thing we look at because we got too many people that want us to play their content and not pay for it, that’s the first thing that we look at. The second thing is what does their stable look like? Who is on that list? Who is on that record label, and is there one or two from there that we really need? From an independent, on a lot of independents, there’s only one person on that label and it’s usually that person that submitted it, so those are really easy for us to get. We have a really good relationship with Broken Bow and Big Machine, which are two of the big ones. When you get a Broken Bow, you get the world of Jason Aldean, Dustin Lynch, Kelsea Ballerini, you get those kind of people on a label like that, and they’re willing to do a marketing deal where you can get it for marketing purposes and you can play it without paying them half of the money that you make for the year, those are the kinds of things where you say, “oh, absolutely we’ll sign that document”.
Madness To Creation: Where do you see this app next year?
Tim: I think next year, you’ll see us on XBox and Playstation. Those apps obviously come through telephones, Amazon, Apple and Roku, but we’ve been on Roku for four years, but now people are getting us in HD instead of standard def, because before we had to dumb everything down so low in order to get it out, but now we’re able to do that on HD, but those apps, obviously you’ll see us grow to XBox and Playstation where people pick up a lot of their content, so you’ll probably see it expand there, but then again, what else is out there, what new technology in the marketplace is going to come along, you gotta be there, I think right now Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and both sets of phones, we’re at an option of 70 million households that could find us, that’s huge, how do we grow that, we build an app for two more platforms, we just keep looking, what is the next app, you have it for telephones, and you have it for the biggest Smart TV’s, and you have Roku, which is 70 million households, you got a good start.
Madness To Creation: Any last plugs you want to have for this?
Tim: I just hope that people are happy with it, you can get it in your car, on your phone, get out of the car and walk into your house, get it in there, I hope that people are excited to carry the music with them everywhere that they go.
And there you have it! Check out the app here!