According to sources, a deal is in process for iTunes to purchase the Big Machine Label Group for $250 million. Big Machine’s current distribution deal with UMG is up, and Taylor Swift has one more album left on the label before her contract expires, leading to speculation Big Machine wants to sell before they risk losing their superstar.
But what “Something In The Water” had that no other song that could offer battle to Bro-Country had previously was substance, and one of the most powerful performances we’ve heard from a country artist in the last few years. This is what was needed to defeat Bro-Country. It wasn’t going to take pandering. Leadership is what was needed, and an exhibition of raw talent that could not be denied.
Say what you want about Eric Church’s music, and though he’s sporting one of the most loyal fan bases in popular music these days, he’s also revealed himself as one of the most polarizing figures in country music in the last few years. But you can’t fault the man for thinking outside the box, and scouring the hungry, unwashed faces of independent music when looking for openers.
Spinal Tap, eat your heart out. On Eric Church’s current arena tour, there’s been a special guest making a surprise appearance at each show—a giant multi-story inflatable devil that blows up and towers over the crowd with shimmering eyes and skin on fire. It is conjured during the rendition of Eric Church’s song “Devil, Devil (Prelude: Prince of Darkness).”
2014 has been a year of great flux in country music, with some legendary successes by independent artists and new mainstream artists, and the shuffling out of other artists and the fumbling of what once were legendary, high flying careers. Here’s a run down of the five biggest winners and losers in the greater country music world in 2014.
American Idol, Big Machine Records, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Brandy Clark, Brantley Gilbert, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, Garth Brooks, IBMA, Jason Aldean, Jerrod Niemann, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Sam Hunt, Scott Borchetta, Shane McAnally, Sturgill Simpson, Taylor Swift, Zac Brown Band
Scott Borchetta’s gamble has paid off, and “Girl In A Country Song” is now #1 on country radio according to Mediabase. The distinction shatters a slew of dubious distinctions for the country format, and helps to slay the absolute dearth of female representation on country radio. It means that country radio has its very first female-led act to hit number one on country radio in over 2 years.
As first reported on Tuesday (12-3) and then confirmed Wednesday afternoon, President and CEO of the Big Machine Label Group Scott Borchetta has partnered with American Idol to become the show’s new “mentor.” All of this news comes in stark contrast to how Scott Borchetta felt about the show in 2010 in the aftermath of Taylor Swift’s now legendary off-key performance at the Grammy Awards.
That’s right, the The Country Music Antichrist, aka President and CEO of the Big Machine Label Group Scott Borchetta is in talks to become the newest mentor on the singing reality show competition American Idol. He would be replacing Randy “Dog” Jackson—the only member of the show’s original cast aside from host Ryan Seacrest.
American Idol, American Idol mentor, Brantley Gilbert, Florida Georgia Line, Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Iovine, Keith Urban, NASH Icon, Randy Jackson, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Scott Borchetta, Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Tim McGraw
CBS Evening News reporter Steve Hartman took a deeper look into how his two young kids were computing the lyrics of country songs in their developing brains as they sat and listened to popular country music in the family motor carriage. His conclusion? “I’ve got some sobering news — Nashville is alcohol-poisoning the minds of our young people,” he says in his report.
Saving Country Music’s 2013 Album of the Year was not Jason Isbell’s breathtaking Southeastern, or Sturgill Simpson’s breakout High Top Mountain, but the comeback record from the Latin-inspired Raul Malo and The Mavericks called “In Time.” Now The Mavericks have announced that they’ve been in the studio again and will release the followup to In Time called “Mono.”
Jason Isbell is the most critically-lauded artist in the Americana music realm at the moment, walking away from September’s awards with Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Artist of the Year, but apparently NBC’s talent competition The Voice doesn’t believe he’s well known enough yet that the flotsam and jetsam of the American public wouldn’t potentially gobble him up as an undiscovered gem.
Yes, Billy Bragg is is the super cool British songwriting icon with a sharp wit and a penchant for social justice that many know and love, and Taylor Swift is the American pop princess with shallow radio singles selling out stadiums and amassing more money than God in a bid for nothing short of world domination. But the shade Billy threw Taylor over her decision to pull her music from Spotify is wild-ass conspiracy theory.
On Monday, November 17th when Garth Brooks appeared on Access Hollywood promoting his upcoming tour dates and the release of his new album Man Against Machine, he was pretty loose lipped about his hatred for certain elements of music technology, and how it has taken a lot of the power out of the hands of artists.
On Monday, Jason Aldean pulled his latest record Old Boots, New Dirt from Spotify—a big loss for the company from one of country’s biggest stars, and one who has set streaming records. Subsequently, Brantley Gilbert, whose 2014 release Just As I Am has been receiving surprising sales numbers, has also been pulled from Spotify. So has Justin Moore’s “Off The Beaten Path.”
In a nutshell, Sam Hunt and Montevallo are not country, and this goes beyond opinion. So what that a couple of songs feature a banjo or a steel guitar. This arguably makes the offense even worse because it proves they know they’re trying to put one over on consumers. For every element someone presents to claim this album is country, I can present fifteen that prove it patently isn’t.
Who would have thought that Vince Gill would emerge as one of the big winners in country music over the past seven days, culminating in last night’s 48th Annual CMA Awards? But that’s the thing about Vince Gill. His accomplishments sort of creep up on you because he’s so refreshingly understated, honest, and humble.
Taylor Swift’s 1989 did not appear on Spotify upon release, though the lead single “Shake It Off” was available. Then the shocking news came down Monday that her entire discography was pulled from the Spotify network, singles and all. The impact of Taylor Swift removing her music from Spotify, especially after she just revealed herself as the biggest artist of the last decade-plus, cannot be overstated.
“This site’s called savingcountrymusic.com. Why are you talking about Taylor Swift? She’s not country. She never was. Now she’s even saying she isn’t.” Well guess what, tough titty. This is my damn website, and if I want to talk about Taylor Swift, I will. And guess what, you’ll probably read about it.
1989, Adele, Alan Jackson, Big Machine Records, Enya, Fun, Garth Brooks, Imogen Heap, Jack Antonoff, Lorde, Max Martin, Meghan Trainor, Motley Crue, Nathan Chapman, Nelly Furtado, OneRepublic, Review, Ryan Tedder, Shellback, Taylor Swift
When you talk about an artist known as a songwriter first, you tend to look for the strength in the lyric. But Caitliyn Smith is very much a multi-tool performer, and her vocals can rival any in country music’s top tier, and she’s a great musician as well. Mostly known by industry types as a songwriter whose pen to paper has resulted in some very memorable cuts.
Nashville’s and country music’s most influential record label is reportedly getting ready to be put up for sale according to a new report, and Taylor Swift’s 1989 album release and pending contract situation could have a big impact on it. Despite being a big label with many famous artist and significant subsidiaries, the Big Machine Label Group remains independently owned, operating through distribution deals.
1989, Big Machine Label Group, Big Machine Records, Florida Georgia Line, Justin Moore, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Red, Scott Borchetta, Sony, Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Universal Music Group