After months of planning, DreamWorks Records has bowed a Nashville outpost and tapped veteran producer and former Giant Records prexy James Stroud as its chief.

Stroud, a well-respected producer who has worked the boards for some of country music’s biggest guns of both the old and new guard, will open the Music City office later this year. DreamWorks had long been planning a move into the country market (Daily Variety, Jan. 13).

Albums produced by Stroud have sold more than 50 million units.

Though the genre is at a crossroads, with flat sales and an increase in the number of labels competing for the same shrinking talent pool, Stroud is undaunted at the prospect of building a major label during this period. He will work closely with DreamWorks Records co-captains Mo Ostin, Lenny Waronker and Michael Ostin to build a preeminent country music label.

“Great music will always find an audience,” Stroud told Daily Variety. “True it’s tough in Nashville right now, and some people are afraid, but Mo believes that’s what makes it a good time to start a label. And there are a lot of talented (execs) on the street who would be great on our staff.”

During his five-year run as prexy of Giant, Stroud hit the sales charts hard with the groundbreaking “Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles,” the multiplatinum disc of country crooners performing top Eagles tracks; and Clay Walker, whom Stroud discovered.

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