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Frances Preston

April 24, 1974 OH145 83 min.


Music industry executive. Born August 27, 1934. Full name: Frances Williams Preston. Founded the BMI, Nashville office in 1958. Recognized for her key role in the growth and development of the Nashville songwriting and music publishing community. In 1985 moved to BMI, New York to become senior vice president for performing rights. BMI president and CEO, 1986-2004. Member, Country Music Hall of Fame®.

Interview Summary

1974 April 24
(1 hour, 23 minutes)
BMI executive Frances Preston describes the development and early years of her career. Discussion includes her childhood; her first job and introduction to the music industry; working as a receptionist at WSM Nashville and expanding the scope of her duties to include publicity and promotion; planning the Country Music Disc Jockey Festivals; meeting Elvis Presley prior to his success; her hiring by BMI to set up their Nashville office; establishing BMI in Nashville and the publishing-writing environment she encountered; expanding her BMI territory; the activities of her first years with BMI; comments on the changes in country music during the late 1940s-early 1950s; memories of George Morgan’s audition for the Opry; comments on her experiences as a woman executive in the music business; BMI fee arrangements and methods for payment disbursement; and comments on BMI’s relationship with its writers.

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