Demise of Frances Williams Preston – A trailblazer of music industry

Frances Williams Preston- the music industry pioneer and a legend died peacefully of congestive heart failure in Nashville. She was 83. She was a former President and CEO of the music rights management company – BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporation) from 1986 to 2004. Frances Williams Preston began her career as a mail messenger and rose to become one of the most successful and consequential executives in the history of music industry.

Mrs. Preston was born in Nashville on 27th August.1928. She started her careerat the city’s WSM radio station. She rose quickly through the station’s ranks and eventually started her own fashion show on air.  Later on, she was hired to open BMI’s southern regional office at Nashville in 1958. In the year-1964, Preston rose to the position of Vice President of BMI. She was the first women corporate executive in the state of Tennessee and the first fulltime performing rights organization representative in the South. In 1985, she was made Senior Vice President- Performing Rights and was named President and CEO of BMI the following year.

During the six decades of her career, Preston influenced many aspects of the music industry and helped in nurturing the careers of thousands of performers, songwriters and publishers in all music genres. Even after retirement, she continued to consult BMI on public policy agenda and international relationships.


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