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R&R drops Americana chart, AMA head dismisses move

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 – Radio & Records is no longer publishing an Americana music chart, nor including it in an email blast it sends out, but that didn't seem to bother the head of the Americana Music Association at all.

Josh Bennett, R&R, direct of music operations, said Tuesday, "We never did our own (chart). We just republished the one from the Americana Music Association. We had to make some cuts on several things that basically weren't bringing in any revenue, and that was one of them." He said the Latin charts were also gone.

The chart, which R&R carried for five years on its web site, also was included in a weekly sent by R&R to its mailing list. "It was a free product for people to receive, but the work that goes into creating the product costs money. We weren't getting any advertising. Really nothing."

Bennett said the R&R "brand is very strong in the industry. Having it have the R&R name on it lent it to probably more exposure, probably a little more credibility even though the chart itself was not our chart."

But AMA Executive Director Jed Hilly had a decidedly different viewpoint. "I don't think it makes a huge (difference). I appreciate R&R's support. The message is print media's in trouble. And a trade magazine in particular. I'm a little bit surprised it exists as it does."

"Where we've been moving for better or for worse, I don't know that industry has been (accepting) Americana the way the public has," he said. Hilly referred to the recent five Grammys won by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss as an example of acceptance. Hilly talked on broadcasting to a "wider audience."

"I don't think it has any bearing on anything I'm doing," he said of R&R. "I loved having R&R's support."

"The industry is in the dumpster. Americana has been an independent."

"To be honest, I found it really surprising," he said of the decision.

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