David Nail Appears To Be Released From UMG Nashville

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Late Wednesday night many started to notice that David Nail was missing from UMG Nashville’s roster page on their website. As you can see here, he’s no longer listed and appears to be done with the label. Giving further credence to this is an ominous tweet Nail sent out on Tuesday night:

I have reached out to UMG Nashville to officially confirm his status and will update this post when they or Nail provide official confirmation. If Nail is indeed done with the label, the move is not entirely surprising. Nail’s most recent single “Good At Night” failed to even crack top 50 at country radio, peaking at #52. Previous single “Night’s on Fire” reached #14 on the charts, but it took nearly a year to reach this spot. Nail hasn’t had a major hit since 2013 with #1 song “Whatever She’s Got” and his last hit before this was in 2011 with #1 hit “Let It Rain.” Radio has basically left him in the dust and UMG Nashville ran out of patience with him essentially, so they cut him loose.

It’s especially disappointing to see after his latest album Fighter released last year was good and was one of the best album releases by a major label country artist in 2016. But this is life on a major label: you either produce or you lose your spot. If you’re a David Nail fan, don’t be too disappointed by this as I expect Nail to bounce back. There’s no reason why an indie label wouldn’t be interested in him eventually and Nail could always go at it independently through some outfit like Thirty Tigers. This story is yet another reminder of the cutthroat nature of the music business and Nail is another victim chewed up and spit out by the Nashville machine.

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9 thoughts on “David Nail Appears To Be Released From UMG Nashville

  1. This is quite a shame. David Nail is a very talented artist. But I have a feeling another label will definitely pick him up. Thirty Tigers would be an awesome choice, that way he will have more artistic freedom.

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  2. Really bummed, but not that surprised. On sheer talent alone, he should be one of the genre’s most successful vocalists, but unfortunately, he seems to lack the “it” factor. He has consistently recorded and written some tremendous songs, but the single releases have taken an eternity to climb the charts, and have been less impressive than some of the album tracks that have been left in the proverbial chamber.

    I truly hope he lands on his feet as he is a favorite of my wife and I.

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  3. As you say, this is not unexpected. The major labels are businessmen first and foremost, which is why Sam Hunt isn’t going anywhere until his music stops selling. As Nail himself said about this latest album, it is the most personally meaningful work of his career, which means that he took a risk. He prioritized art over sales, although I’m sure that he was hoping for more with “Night’s On Fire,” the slickest, most pop-oriented track on the album. With his enormous vocal talent, he could have just done the Chris Young and Brett Eldredge thing, which is basically to do whatever the label tells you to do. But, as far as I can tell, he didn’t, and now he has to find another means for getting his music out.

    He has a loyal fan base and, while not huge, is a fan base that many a struggling country artist can only dream about. Thirty Tigers seems like a good option, alongside Cody Jinks and Whitney Rose.

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    • The funny thing is Nail did what his label wanted with “Night’s On Fire,” as you rightly say is slick and pop oriented. And radio still was highly reluctant at best to even give him top 15. In a way I think Nail and the label have seen this writing on the wall for a while, so Nail smartly released something more art oriented for the album. I didn’t realize he’s also 37 years old. Labels are prioritizing younger artists more and more, while Nail drifts further away from their desired demographic (which also leads me to believe Gary Allan’s days are numbered at UMG). In fact the label simultaneously removed Nail from the site and added their newest fresh face signing.

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  4. No surprise. As much as i like his voice & music…he was on the b-list. He got four albums to show his ability to become a format-star. His album sales dropped (The Fighter, September 2016, 20.100 – Source: Roughstock) & his last singles did not much on radio.
    Singer/Songwriter on an independent label without the pressure of a Nashville-major & David Nail will be able to make the music he wants.

    Next on my list: a couple of Broken Bow singers like Jordan Rager & Adam Craig. Canaan Smith (remember him?). Frankie Ballard needs a big fat hit or he will be gone too (El Rio, August 2016, 13.300 Source: Roughstock). His single sales are down, radio is not playing his music…

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  5. He is very talented, I really liked Red Light, Turning Home, Kiss you Tonight, Let it Rain, and his version of Someone Like You. He always seemed like he wanted to put out meaningful music. Now hopefully he will get his chance to put out his music on a new label

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  6. Yeah, it was plain to see from miles away he wasn’t going to remain with the label much longer, and that probably especially motivated David Nail to end on a cathartic note with “Fighter”.

    I can’t imagine, fortunately, that he’ll have much of a problem finding a new home: especially if his intention is to release more music in the vein of “Fighter” and “The Sound of a Million Dreams” instead of trying too hard at radio play like “I’m A Fire” largely represented. I’m optimistic much of his best music has yet to come.

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  7. This is a good point. Personally, I think it is sad and just plain unfortunate how Nail’s label seems to have cast aside and\or strung along extremely talented artists like him (I love Sound of a Million Dreams, and he is one hell of a vocalist), Gary Allan (one of my absolute favorites), and Josh Turner (in my opinion, hands down the best male vocalist in contemporary country music), in favor of Sam Hunt and his not-country-in-the-slightest and lots of times shitty music. I believe that David will either the Thirty Tigers route or be picked up by Warner or Red Bow\Wheelhouse. But seriously though, screw MCA. They’ve gone from being one of the most reliable record labels to being just plain crap. I wish David all the best in his future endeavors. He’s simply too talented to be passed by.

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