HITS Daily Double


The industry folk showcased here first appeared in our publication as eager young strivers—they’ve since acquired a bit more seasoning and, in many cases, have moved up to positions of greater responsibility. But they still don’t have enough juice to get out of dealing with us.

Jen Ashworth
VP, Commercial Marketing & Streaming Strategy, Capitol Records

Ashworth, who’s been with Capitol Music Group since 2013—earning her VP stripes at the Tower in 2019—has gone from Spotify account lead to overseeing the label’s relationship with Spotify and Pandora and as of fall 2021, is also formulating streaming strategy for Apple Music, Amazon and YouTube, remaining ever vigilant for DSP editorial and marketing opportunities. “With Michelle Jubelirer as our new chair & CEO,” Ashworth says, “I’m feeling very optimistic.” We’d be optimistic, too, if MJ were running this joint instead of they who shall remain nameless.

Adam Mersel
Founder, Immersive Management/Records (Interscope Geffen A&M JV)

In 2021 Mersel launched Immersive Records, a JV with IGA that kicked off with “21st Century Vampire” and Teenage Heartbreak, the first single and album by pop-punk artist Huddy (fka Lil Huddy), who has more than 30m followers on TikTok. On the management side, Mersel continues to handle Grammy/Emmy/Tony-winning Broadway star Ben Platt. And in a personal update, he notes, “I wear nothing but black T-shirts—I have worn one every single day since my last Noisemakers.” We’re accustomed to people wearing black in our presence, which tends to inspire mourning.

Paige Altone
VP, Marketing, Sony Music Nashville

Altone was elevated from Senior Director to VP of Marketing in 2020. This year, she’s basked in the success of Old Dominion, who became five-time ACM Group of the Year champs, and Chris Young, whose “Famous Friends,” a collaboration with Kane Brown, tore up the country charts. She’s also helped raise the profiles of developing artists like Kameron “Steady Heart” Marlowe and Jameson “Porch With a View” Rodgers. Altone says the words “TikTok” and “content” have come to dominate her professional vocabulary. We’re still learning how to use Instaface, or whatever.

Braeden Rountree
Partner and Agent, WME Nashville

In 2019 Rountree made partner. He went on to book Kane Brown’s 2021-22 Blessed & Free Tour, making Brown the first country headliner to play all 29 NBA arenas on a single tour. He continues to rep Marcus King and Ryan Hurd, is part of Zach Bryan’s team and recently secured singer/songwriter Granger Smith his first acting role—the lead—in the film Moonrise. Since the last time we checked in, this Belmont University alum and Nashville Rescue Mission supporter has added two kids and a dog to his personal roster. The HITS roster is pretty much all weasels.

Katie McCartney

GM, Monument Records

McCartney became GM in 2020 and subsequently witnessed the rise of Walker Hayes, which she calls “an incredible ride,” and singer/songwriter Caitlyn Smith, another “huge highlight.” Hayes’ Grammy-nominated “Fancy Like” topped country charts for weeks and inspired a national Applebee’s commercial, while Smith has released the acclaimed Supernova and High, producing the latter, toured with Old Dominion, Little Big Town and Reba and this year was ACM-nominated for New Female Artist. We, on the other hand, have spent the last few years doing… well, this.

Jackie Shuman
Marketing Music Manager, Netflix

Shuman spent three-plus years as a supe at Good Ear Music Supervision (known for its collaborations with Apple, Target and Google), where her work got her recognized by no less than Rolling Stone. She hit the ground running at Netflix in 2018 and is now supplying music for trailers and other promotional content. Prior to her stint at Good Ear, Shuman managed licensing for artists like Sia, Lorde and Fall Out Boy as Head of Sync at Crush Management. She does indeed have good ears—which makes it all the more surprising that she didn’t hear us coming yet again.

Ian Planet
Co-Founder, The Peak Music

After nearly four years at Crush Music handling such artists as the double-platinum MAX, Planet co-founded his own management company with former Crush colleague Eli Wenig. The Peak Music represents acts like good problem, who recently opened for JXDN on the road and will play its own dates later this year. TPM can also be counted on for tour consulting and logistical support. Among its clients in this capacity have been Salem Ilese, Cautious Clay, PVRIS and Isaac Dunbar. Planet is likely sick of people riffing on his name, so we won’t. You’re welcome.

Scott B. Bomar
Publisher and Senior Director, BMG Books

Bomar and his colleagues at BMG’s book-publishing program recently launched a line of limited-edition, high-end collectible titles, starting with The Byrds: 1964-1967, a super-deluxe edition of which comes hand-numbered and signed by Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman and David Crosby. Rodney Crowell’s book of lyrics, Word for Word, will arrive in September. Among other volumes, Bomar is the author of 2014’s Southbound: An Illustrated History of Southern Rock. As you can see, he sports some impressive facial hair. Ours is patchy, like everything else around here.