NPN, an organization of independent publishers, meets monthly (currently on Zoom) to share information about recording artists and labels looking for material. The main focus is Music Row country; however, other genres are also represented. A guest speaker from the music community is invited to each meeting to share his or her insights with the group. In recent years NPN has hosted an impressive list of guests from all aspects of the music business, including, Producers: Allen Reynolds, Tim Dubois, Doug Johnson, Scott Hendricks, Barry Beckett, Norro Wilson, and David Malloy; Publishers: Tim Wipperman, Larry Shell and Woody Bomar; Artists: Cowboy Crush and Chalee Tennyson; and A&R reps: Margie Hunt, Sheila Shipley Biddy, Alison Jones, and Cliff Audretch. Music Row's best pitch sheet, compiled by Marc Rossi, is discussed and shared among the membership.

Bob Dellaposta was elected President in 2009 and is currently the longest serving president in NPN's 36-year history, along with Vice President Frank Michels, who is also Chairman of the Membership Committee. Current officers include Treasurer Erik Thorson and Secretary Kirsti Manna, who also heads the committee for securing guest speakers for NPN's monthly meetings. Marc Rossi is NPN's editor in chief updating NPN on the latest news regarding Record Label A&R, Artists, Producers, and other music business news, which he publishes in the monthly NPN newsletter pitch sheet.

The group that would become NPN was started back in 1986 by Mickey Hiter under the unlikely name of The Old Turkeys. Thirty people attended the first meeting in the ASCAP boardroom. Mickey had cobbled together a pitch sheet and lined up Jimmy Bowen's assistant, Don "Dirt" Lanier, as the featured speaker. The meeting was such a success it became a regular monthly event. Wood Newton and Rob Crosby were among the first members.

In 1987, Rick Beresford became president, and the name of the group was changed to the NPN. Initially, NPN actually pitched songs. After Erik Thorson became President in 1990, the group was downsized to about 15 members. NPN focused on gathering and sharing information about who was cutting songs, and membership criteria were established to guarantee a highly professional organization.

Marc Rossi was elected as NPN President in 1993. Under his leadership, NPN produced a high-quality demo CD called "Uncut Gems" which was widely distributed in Nashville. Marc also instituted monthly business planning meetings. Following Marc's term as President, Garth Shaw served as President. Garth started the tradition of NPN Writer's Nights, and with member Jeff Chase, established the first NPN website. Bart Barton, who passed away in 2006, served a partial term as President and was succeeded by Larry Sheridan, who passed in 2021.

One of NPN's more influential Presidents was Sherrill Blackman, who served from 1999 to 2001. He instituted the annual Fall Party, revamped the website, put in place attendance regulations, and led the group to institute a limit on the number of members to keep the group from getting too large. Sherrill's leadership was followed by Larry Wayne Clark for 2 terms, and Tom Paden in 1994, who led a group of members who compiled a great demo singer CD. Robyn Taylor-Drake then took up the challenge to encourage more member participation and increase NPN visibility and outreach to the wider music community.

The Nashville Publishers Network has earned the respect of the music community as an effective counterpoint to the huge publishing conglomerates. Many of its members have become successful in getting their songs cut using information shared among the group. More importantly, great friendships have formed, and countless fun times and good memories have resulted from NPN meetings and activities through the years. As we move into the next decade, NPN continues to be an effective networking tool for its members.

By NPN historian Frank Michels

By NPN historian Frank Michels

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