Ronnie Dunn, A Musical Free Agent After Split With Sony and Arista Nashville

After more than 20 years with Arista Nashville, Ronnie Dunn is moving on. Arista Nashville, under the umbrella of Sony Music, has been home to Dunn as a solo artist as well as the duo that launched his career, Brooks & Dunn. Dunn, who has been quite vocal on Facebook about Sony, posted on June 7th, “Deal with Sony is over, Next chapter. Moving on.” The post has since been removed, as has his post from May 15th: “Got a call from Sony today … said that my FB post killed the ‘Let The Cowboy Rock’ single. Holy s—, I didn’t know people in the music business read this stuff !! 8 weeks (2 months) at #30 on one chart. :) A very appreciative shout out to the promo team. We just haven’t picked the right song. Keep the faith ! RD”.

File:RonnieDunnApr10.jpgThe post from May 15th seems to have stemmed from Dunn bypassing his record label and soliciting fan opinion about what the label should select as his next single. After fans weighed in and chose ‘Once’ as their choice, Dunn bypassed his label again and posted a message “Hey, RADIO…will you start playing ‘ONCE’? If a FB post can kill a single, then maybe it can get one to the top? Maybe we can make CNN…! Just sneak it in on your lunch break. My name is Ronnie Dunn and I approve this message! RD”

This split comes just a year after the release of Dunn’s self-titled début solo album, which was well received critically. Unfortunately, Ronnie Dunn has failed to land a top 10 hit. In fact, his lead single ‘Bleed Red’ peaked at Number 10 on the charts. His follow-up releases of ‘Cost of Livin’ and ‘Let the Cowboy Rock’ only peaked at 19th and 31st respectively. One would think that after as many years as Dunn spent with the same label, the executives would give him a bit more freedom to listen to his fans. ‘Cost of Livin’ had potential to become a number one hit, especially in the current economy, but it didn’t get close enough to the top of the charts to become one of the songs that are a major part of rotation.

As it’s not yet known what label Dunn will call home, he has become musical free agent, but he is not the first artist to part with the label that birthed their career. In 2011, Alan Jackson left Sony and Arista Nashville after 20 years recording there.

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