Gary James' Interview With
Of Ronnie Gilley Entertainment
Ronnie Gilley Entertainment is a division of Ronnie Gilley Properties. It's a full-service entertainment company located in Enterprise, Alabama. The company is active in all facets of the entertainment industry, including recording, music publishing, artist management and promotion. Their music interests include Stradudavarious Records and Country Crossing Records. They also produce the annual Verizon Wireless Baba Jam Music And Arts Festival.
Trey Wilson of Ronnie Gilley Entertainment talked with us about his job and the job his company offers to performers.
Q - So Trey, who is Ronnie Gilley in relation to Mickey Gilley? Is there a relation there?
A - Well, maybe somewhere distantly along the lines. No direct relationship between the two, other than the fact they both have great taste in music.
Q - Do you have offices here in Nashville?
A - We do. Our main office is in Enterprise, Alabama.
Q - Are you actively searching for new talent on the road. Do you stick primarily to established names?
A - Well, no. We like to think of it as we have a non-traditional approach to the whole music industry. Some of that approach means finding the best talent, not in situations like you would. In other words, we do a lot of social marketing. We're always looking for great talent, for great songwriters, for great bands that kind of have a niche carved out of their own. But we like everything from established artists who have an established fan base, to artists we kind of put with other musicians so we can put something together with 'em. Every situation is truly different in all the artists we've represented, in the entire time we've been in business.
Q - What is your title at the company?
A - Well, at Ronnie Gilley Entertainment you kind of wear many hats. Although my official title is Vice-President Of Live Entertainment, I would say I actually do all the band management as well as all the booking for the Bama Jam Music And Arts Festival, even some of the A&R duties for Bama Jam Records. Kind of jack of all trades, master of none. (laughs)
Q - So, how people work for this company?
A - Ronnie Gilley Entertainment has close to forty employees throughout the different entities. We have Country Crossing Records, Stroudavarious Records, Bama Jam Records and Bama Jam Music And Arts Festival.
Q - A singer could actually sign a record deal with Gilley Entertainment, record the CD in your studio, get the song published by your company and be managed by the company as well. That's a full-service company, isn't it?
A - It's one stop shopping for sure, but that's just kind of the way the industry has evolved. Primarily all the deals out there are 360 deals. They encompass everything from merchandising to management to record labels to publishing as well. And basically it's rightly so. There's plenty of arguments up and down. We truly believe if we're gonna make the investment in an artist and trying to get them out there in the public's eye, you should actually want to participate in all levels of it to give it the kind of quality control and to establish a brand with that artist throughout all the different commodities.
Q - Where is the oversight to make sure the job is getting done for the artist, if you're doing all the job?
A - Well, you really have that relationship between the artist and the management team. We don't manage every artist we represent. Every kind of situation we're involved with is not a complete 360 deal. Most artists actually have outside management and we just kind of own more of the record label stuff. With somebody like Blackberry Smoke and Houston Country, who we actually do manage and pretty much have a participation in all facets of their corporate life, we absolutely believe we're making the right decision. The only person that would disagree would be the band and they all maintain their own attorneys of course. That would be a conflict of interest. We encourage everybody to have their attorneys and have their own internal kind of, I guess, barometer of their success in how they perceive it.
Q - What kind of promotion in Ronnie Gilley Entertainment involved in? Are we talking concert promotion?
A - Sure. I mentioned the Bama Jam Music And Arts Festival. We also do, have done, several events with NASCAR. We own the venue at the Country Crossing project outside of Dalton, Alabama, which we put 'live' events at. We have a big 2,500 seat pavilion tent as well as a 7,500 seat amphitheatre there and 3 stages inside of the Country Crossing that we maintain. We've done stuff all over, but primarily in the Southeast.
Q - I guess, from your stand point by being involved with everything in an artists career, you really can keep an eye on everything going on. You don't have to make as many phone calls.
A - That's right. We're all in it for the same intensive purpose which in to be profitable and to create brand names. We absolutely believe that there's nobody that does it better than us. It kind of goes back to the old systems in the beginning where artists were just trying to get out there and get attention, and the record companies involved the way they were that revenue string is continuing to grow. That's why those other entities started popping up. You had the management companies, you had the attorneys, you had the promotional companies. I just think it's kind of reverting back to the way it used to be. You were out there, kind of out there on your own. That's why I think the internet is the great equalizer for the music industry, to kind of go back to that.
Q - Earlier you mentioned the company was involved in social media. You're talking about Facebook and YouTube?
A - You'll find us on all the social networks, from Twitter to Facebook, to YouTube channels to Flicker pages, to you name it; We're actively involved in.
Q - Were you a musician prior to joining this company?
A - I was never actually in one of the bands. Just enough to know what I'm talking about. I play a little guitar, a little piano. More of the producer aspect of it. I really enjoy music production on more of the studio side.