Luke Lewis, Chairman of Universal Music Group here on Music Row, announced yesterday that the company will be relocated to the new SunTrust Plaza at 401 Commerce Street in downtown Nashville, right next door to the famous Ryman Auditorium.

UMG follows Other Nashville labels that relocated to locations in Nashville other than Music Row: Lyric Street Records, located on Demonbreun, and Capital Records, located on West End.

Reactions of other Music Row residents to the exodus of this powerhouse are reported as being mixed in the Tennessean article entitled Universal will leave Music Row for downtown. Harold Bradley, president of the musician union, is credited with the formation of Music Row in 1954 together with his brother Owen. Mr. Bradley describes the move as “sad news” and as “breaking the ranks.” He remembers a Music Row where walk-about traffic was the way business was done.

Mr. Bradley knows first hand that the country music industry has always been a tight-knit community, somewhat segregated from the “suits” downtown. Not that we aren’t an integral component of Nashville’s business community, but we always did business differently – in a more lay-back fashion. The standard line when making an appointment was, do you want my morning slot or my afternoon slot?

But the country music industry has changed tremendously over the last ten years or so. Nashville is no longer a handshake town. It’s a subisidiiary town. No longer are most of the major decisions about potential artists made on Music Row – the chances are they are made in New York, Japan or Germany. Perhaps this trend to move off the Row is just a reflection of how business is done these days. So, I agree with Harold, it is sad.

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