The Association for Independent Music Publishers celebrated the 2023 AIMP Nashville Country Awards on Wednesday at Music City’s Ryman Auditorium. Songwriting luminaries Bob DiPiero and Craig Wiseman hosted the Spotify-sponsored event, which honored Nashville’s independent songwriters and music publishers.

“It is great to gather the independent publishing community once again at the Ryman,” Ree Guyer, President, AIMP Nashville Chapter, said via a statement. “We are fortunate to feel the love and support for one another in the room.”

The coveted song of the year honor went to Chris Stapleton’s “You Should Probably Leave,” written by Stapleton, Ashley Gorley and Chris DuBois. Round Hill Music was named publisher of the year, while Michael Hardy (HARDY) was a double winner, picking up artist-writer of the year and songwriter of the year.

Meanwhile, the rising songwriter of the year honor went to SMACKSongs’ Ryan Beaver and the rising artist-writer of the year honor went to Big Loud Publishing’s ERNEST.

The most-streamed song of the year honor went to “Wasted on You” (writers: Morgan Wallen, Ernest Keith Smith, Josh Thompson, Charlie Handsome), while the 2023 publisher pick of the year was a tie between “Don’t Think Jesus” (writers: Mark Holman, Jessi Alexander, Chase McGill) and “Reverse Cowgirl” (writers: Jared Scott, Joe Fox, Zak Dyer).

Warner Music Nashville co-chair/co-president Cris Lacy was honored with the 2023 song champion award, while Jody Williams, of Jody Williams’ Songs, was honored with the 2023 AIMP independent spirit award, which recognizes his significant contributions to the independent publishing and songwriting community.

“Nashville’s independent publishers are usually the first to take a chance on fresh, groundbreaking talent,” Williams said via a statement. “I’m proud to be a part of this effort and thrilled to be honored by my AIMP peers.”

This year’s performers included Jon Pardi, Tenille Arts, Corey Kent, Pillbox Patti, Meg McRee, Ashley Cooke, Jackson Dean, HARDY, Ruston Kelly, Jordan Davis, and ERNEST.

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