The Business Side of Music

The Business Side of Music is an interview show designed to help independent artists and songwriters better understand and navigate the music industry. 25-year industry veteran, Bob Bender talks to successful guests from every corner of the industry about their careers to discover the things they did right as well as the lessons they learned from any mistakes they made.


Songwriting University

Michael Blanton has had a celebrated career in the national and Nashville music industry. But today finds him in all kinds of artistic and entertainment development, not limited to just artist management. With such a stellar musical history, it only seemed natural that he join forces with some of today's best and most talented songwriters, and create "Songwriting University".

10 years ago, there are were over 4,500 songwriters in Nashville with publishing deals. Today there are approximately 250. Songwriting University is designed to provide the up and coming songwriter the ability to co-write with the established artist, and help take their music writing to the next level, and give them an equal opportunity that otherwise wouldn't be afforded to them.

A native of Amarillo TX, Michael Blanton got his start in music as an A&R representative at Word Records in Waco, Texas, moving to Nashville in 1978 to open the company’s office on Music Row. He and business partner Dan Harrell launched Blanton/Harrell Production and Management in 1980 with Amy Grant as their first client. In 1981 with friend Brown Bannister (’75), they created Reunion Records and Reunion Publishing and soon launched the careers of artists including Michael W. Smith and Rich Mullins and Wayne Kirkpatrick.

Blanton served as executive producer for some of Grant’s biggest hits, including the albums Unguarded (1985), Lead Me On (1988), and the multi-platinum Heart in Motion (1992), which sold more than ten million copies and received five Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year. He also executive produced hits for Smith including his debut, Michael W. Smith Project (1983) featuring the song “Friends,” The Big Picture (1986), i 2 (EYE) (1988) and Change Your World (1992). Blanton and Harrell worked with authors including Frank Peretti, helping him release his multi- million selling This Present Darkness in 1986 and Piercing the Darkness in 1989.

Currently, Blanton has partnered in the development with Songwriting University, to help support the songwriters of Nashville, and help develop new artistic talent.

Also Blanton is a partner with Vertigo Media, and a new management launch called Halogen-BNA. Vertigo and Halogen will work together to build and develop new artist and songwriters thru technology and community.

The Business Side of Music ™

© 2020 Beyond the Music

Produced & Hosted by Bob Bender 

Creator & Technical Advisor: Tom Sabella

Audio Engineer: Jim Tennaboe

Continuity: Deborah Halle

Recorded at: The Franklin Coffee House and Bunker in Franklin, TN

Mixed & Mastered at: Music Dog Studios in Nashville, TN


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Special Thanks to Tom Sabella and Traci Snow for producing and hosting over 100 episodes of the original “Business Side of Music” podcast, and trusting us to carry on their legacy.


 2020-01-14  35m