Throw your cowboy hats in the sky if you feel the vibe.
While it's unlikely we'll be seeing any Jay Z and Tim McGraw collaborations anytime soon, Hov is expanding his growing Roc Nation empire into country music. As reported by Billboard, Roc Nation has agreed on a publishing partnership with powerhouse Warner/Chappell Music that will result in the launch of Roc Nation Nashville. As part of the partnership, the two companies have created Rhythm House, a music writing and publishing venture with Jesse Frasure who has written and produced for the likes of Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, and Luke Bryan among other Nashville heavyweights.
On the partnership, Roc Nation President Jay Brown (does Kanye still tell Jay Brown stuff?) says the move is a "natural extension of the relationship we started so many years ago," referring to the first deal signed by the two companies in 2013 to oversee Jay Z and Roc Nation's music publishing roster.
Initially, the news of one of rap's icons moving into the land of break-up songs and pick-up trucks might seem odd, but if you look at the news closer, Roc Nation was never meant to be a rap record label or a record label at all for that matter. Hov set out (and continues) to make Roc Nation a multi-faceted entertainment company, not only specializing in music but also Roc Nation Sports, their sports management division, and Three Six Zero Entertainment, a partnership with Three Six Zero Group to represent clients in the world of television and literary arts.
Going back to music, and with the recent announcement of Roc Nation Latino, a new Latino music division being headed by Latin superstar Romeo Santos (this feels like Roc La Familia all over again), it's easy to see that rap has been somewhat of an outlier on Roc Nation. There are exceptions as rap is represented across management, publishing, and record label arms by the likes of Kanye West (co-managed with Scooter Braun), Fabolous, Meek Mill, J. Cole and others (we can't count Jay Electronica because he doesn't...you know...release music), but the broader view of Roc Nation is a melting pot of genres, with a stronger focus on pop, rock, and dance-pop.
The other side of the coin here is the sheer lucrative nature of the country music business. As one of the last genres to be impacted by the decline in physical music sales (in 2015, CD sales accounted for 63% of all country music sold), the genre benefits from its wide demographic appeal. In 2015, the median age of a country music fan was 46-years-old, which means physical music sales and lots of disposable income for merchandise and concerts.
It's safe to say that when he was starting his rap career alongside Jaz-O on the streets of Brooklyn, New York, Jay Z couldn't have dreamed of bringing his business acumen and music industry knowledge to country music, but here we are. Might we suggest to Luke Bryan the "Huntin', Fishin' & Lovin' Every Day" Roc remix featuring Jay Z and Kanye West? Y'all welcome.