Where Scott Borchetta and Big Machine Records Went Wrong
Despite the rumors and speculation, and Saving Country Music once naming him the “Country Music Antichrist,” apparently Scott Borchetta is indeed a mortal after all.
Look, let’s not be alarmist here. The Big Machine Label Group has suffered a number of setbacks recently, and there’s no sugar coating that assessment. But nobody is putting calls into liquidation lawyers. The problem here was pretty simple to see, even without any leaked balance sheets or unnamed sources inside the company: there was too much growth, and too quickly.
We’re still trying to sift out what exactly has happened to the Big Machine Label Group’s Dot Records, which has apparently bit the bullet, though no official word has come down from Big Machine. Perhaps that’s because the label group is not used to delivering bad news since they’ve never really had to before. Launched in 2005 with flagship artist Taylor Swift, Big Machine Records has seen nothing but incredible growth and increasing market share since the very start.
After Swift’s success, Big Machine brought in more artist, and more artists. In 2007, the record label became a label group after launching the Valory Records imprint with artists like Justin Moore and Jewel. Then there was the joint venture with Universal Republic on the label Republic Nashville, which Big Machine later brought under sole ownership in 2016. There was NASH Icon—Big Machine’s joint venture with Cumulus Media meant to give more attention to older artist, and the signing of Reba McEntire, Hank Williams Jr., and Ronnie Dunn. And then came Dot—the home of Steven Tyler, Maddie & Tae, and those who didn’t fit elsewhere.
Both Dot and NASH Icon were launched in 2014. In 2014, Scott Borchetta though he was invincible, and why wouldn’t he? In 2014, Taylor Swift’s 1989 became the biggest blockbuster record in modern music history. The next year he was mentoring on American Idol, and all of a sudden was a household name. He was opening boutique shops in downtown Nashville for his “Music Has Value” fashion brand. Scott Borchetta was ubiquitous. But the problem was, he wasn’t omnipresent.
And so the bad signings and the failed releases began to pile up. Details went overlooked, releases went under-promoted, and there weren’t enough hours in the day to keep up. Was it really worth all the manpower to put out a country-themed Mötley Crüe tribute record in 2014? Remember Borchetta was running around, flipping the bird at cameras with Nikki Sixx and the boys? The next year he signs Steven Tyler to a country record deal, which turned out to be an incredible disaster, despite the money spent on numerous radio singles, and trying to fit the square Steven Tyler in to the round hole of country. Not enough ink has been expended on that embarrassment. It was like Scott Borchetta was trying to relive his halcyon hair metal days though his label, and nobody was willing to criticize the emperor’s new “Music Has Value” clothes.
And whoever thought that any venture with Cumulus Media—which was so underwater in red ink at the time of the deal—would every positively pay off? 18 months after launching NASH Icon, Lew and John Dickey were out at Cumulus, the radio company was in court with creditors, and stocks were at $0.76 a share, threatening to be delisted by the exchanges. Billionaire Mark Cuban loves to say if you don’t see the sucker in the room, the sucker is you. Apparently, Scott Borchetta didn’t see the sucker.
But who can blame Borchetta for thinking he had the Midas touch? For so many years, he did. Taylor Swift, Florida Georgia Line’s massive single “Cruise” and the rise of Bro-Country—Scott Borchetta had been right way more than he’d been wrong. But how often does arrogance begin to blind the human once they’re on a winning streak? Maddie & Tae had a massive single, but was it really worth a major label deal? Whatever happened with Craig Wayne Boyd? Or La’Porshe Renae who was signed to Big Machine for being the runner up on the final season of American Idol?
At some point, it was time to start reigning it all in, and credit to Scott Borchetta for clearly seeing that. Will anybody blame him for cutting bait with The Band Perry now? Or how about another rocker gone country in Aaron Lewis, who along with Steven Tyler seems to have a uncertain fate in the demise of Dot? It just got to be too many artist, too many projects, and too many tentacles. We say it all the time that part of the problem with today’s country environment is there’s only so many spots at the very top, and a ton of names to fill them. In the world of major labels, if you’re not selling out arenas, you’re losing money. It’s the yoke of the 360 deal.
The signs that something may be wrong with Big Machine started in November at the 2016 CMA Awards. The loss by Florida-Georgia Line for Vocal Duo was such a shock, it seemed to speak to the devaluing of the act and Big Machine’s sway in the bigger market. Then the label lost one of its biggest success stories in recent memory in Tim McGraw. As Saving Country Music said at the time, the loss of McGraw to Sony was surprising. Looking back now, it foretold of the troubles adding up. Big Machine had bit off too much and wasn’t just bungling developing talent, they were losing established talent too.
And let’s not gloss over the financial impact of Taylor Swift skipping an extra year between album cycles. Big Machine may not be cash strapped, but they certainly would be more flush if Swift had dealt a new record last November like she normally does every other year. When Borchetta decided not to sell the label group to a bigger company, and instead re uped their distribution deal with Universal Music Group last summer, it meant they would need to run a tighter ship, and not splurge on boutique hair metal projects, or long shot prospects in a crowded and competitive country field.
The market is shifting, and so is Big Machine. Scott Borchetta may have to fess up to some mistakes, but he’s nothing if he isn’t savvy. The signing of Midland by Big Machine foretells how the mainstream is looking to at least put some money on the rising tide of Americana. Big Machine’s Thomas Rhett is graduating to arenas. Taylor Swift will more than likely have a new album next year. And Big Machine has launched a new video format to aggressively move into the emerging multimedia space.
So isolate the infection in Dot, move Drake White and Tucker Beathard to other imprints, and then amputate. Maybe that leaves Maddie & Tae holding the bag unfairly, but they’re smart girls. They’ll land on their feet somewhere. And though wounded, Scott Borchetta will continued to be feared and respected on Music Row. After all, he didn’t earn the title of “Country Music Antichrist” for nothing.
March 16, 2017 @ 7:39 am
Fuck that pompous, greasy-haired, midget prick. I love seeing him on the ropes.
March 16, 2017 @ 8:11 am
Hmmmm….good article. Will be interesting to see how this plays out.
March 16, 2017 @ 8:43 am
To me the biggest point of that article is the death of radio groups, such as Cumulus.
March 16, 2017 @ 8:45 am
Wow, I had no idea this was going on, although I probably should have. I sure hope you’re right about Maddie and Tae landing on their feet somewhere, they got screwed over big time and I hope they can find more success in a better environment.
I’ve also been surprised to see just how good Midland’s been doing with “Drinkin’ Problem.” They’re in the top 40 with a traditional-sounding song after less than 10 weeks at radio, which is awfully fast for a new artist not On The Verge. I’ll be very interested to see where they go from here.
March 16, 2017 @ 8:57 am
Great article… will be interesting to see if there are any major changes in the next few months. Just one minor thing – La’Porsha was the runner up on “Idol,” haven’t heard anything from her since, but she’s reportedly signed to Big Machine and Motown Records.
March 16, 2017 @ 9:17 am
Fuck Scott Borshitta for screwing over my favorite duo/group, Maddie and Tae. I’m hoping maybe they’ll move to a different imprint or leave the shitshow that is Big Machine and move to another label, like Sony, Warner, or UMG. Any record label would be lucky to have them.
March 16, 2017 @ 10:37 pm
Part of the problem Maddie and Tae have been facing is that when Taylor Swift finally admitted that she is a pop singer and officially left the country genre, she took much of the teen “country” audience with her. You just don’t hear those kinds of songs that often on country stations any more. Probably a big portion of Maddie and Tae’s natural constituency stopped listening to country radio.
March 18, 2017 @ 1:32 pm
Perhaps, but look at Kelsea whatsherface. Granted much of her “success” is probably label created, but she is very much going after the Taylor Swift audience. And I wouldn’t be all that shocked to find out that a lot of the Taylor Swift fans also listen to Thomas Rhett and some of the other poppy country artists out now. I think what killed Maddie and Tae is poor handling by the label and the protest song as a first single may have backfired on them. It’s hard to come out of the gate swinging and no have a solid follow up punch. None of Maddie and Tae’s follow up singles were as interesting as “Girl In A Country Song”. Plus, I think the audience they were trying to court “new traditional leaning fans” have abandoned Country radio and are not coming back. I would be interested to see how they did in terms of Spotify/streaming numbers.
March 18, 2017 @ 2:52 pm
Starting off your career with a novelty-ish single is not a good way to lay the groundwork for a long term career. I’m sure it has happened but more often than not it locks in a perception of the performer that is not helpful.
Really short term thinking.
March 18, 2017 @ 8:11 pm
“Starting off your career with a novelty-ish single is not a good way to lay the groundwork for a long term career.”
Good point. This didn’t work out too well for Gretchen Wilson with “Redneck Woman” being her first single, basically a novelty song to my ears. She had a good run in 2004-05 with her first album, even won the CMA Horizon Award, but after that she fell off the radar.
March 18, 2017 @ 9:03 pm
From the late 1990s until around 2010, country radio was a girls-and-their-moms format. Teen girls tuned in for Shania, Faith, and Tim in the 1990s and for Taylor Swift about 10 years later, while much of the rest of the format catered to suburban mothers. Teen country grew in an environment where Nashville catered to female audiences and girls were exposed to country radio through their moms and some of their girl friends.
I think it’s much less of a girls-and-their-moms format now. And while I had initially thought that Taylor’s departure from the genre would create openings for other young female artists, it is becoming quite clear that the teen country audience is much smaller than what it was 5-10 years ago. Kelsea has not exactly had blockbuster sales, even with heavy radio airplay. Her album sold fewer than 300,000 copies. She has neither the personality nor the communication skills of Taylor Swift, and even if she did she would not have sold close to the same numbers. Other young females such as RaeLynn, Maren Morris, and Kacey Musgraves have not had huge sales numbers either. And Maddie and Tae’s second single, which sounded very much like an early Taylor Swift song, was not a big hit. I think the “teen country” audience has moved to mainstream pop and won’t be coming back to country radio any time soon.
March 16, 2017 @ 10:16 am
Seems to me that one of the biggest mistakes a newish and growing business can make is over expanding. They end up stretching themselves thin and the law of diminishing returns start coming into play and to top it off often times they will start paying less attention to the things that made them successful in the first place.
It would appear that they are realizing this by trying to consolidate things now.
March 16, 2017 @ 10:24 am
Maddie and Tae having one hit is more then most female groups get. I think the bigger issue is they just haven’t done a very good job at artist development.
March 18, 2017 @ 12:35 pm
I don’t think their one hit was very good either. There was nothing memorable about the music, and the lyrics were not very original. “Girl in a Country Song” was a gimmick song, not much more. I don’t want to break their hearts by saying this since they’re cute girls, but it basically sounded like a bad Shania Twain song, sort of like “Any Man of Mine” without the sex appeal.
March 16, 2017 @ 10:29 am
“Thank God for Scott Borchetta”
(Toby Keith’s inner-monologue every time he considers if he is the biggest douche in country music)
March 16, 2017 @ 10:58 am
I would be interested in seeing someone do some digging on Midland for the following reasons:
1) They say they are based in Austin and say they cut their teeth touring Texas honky tonks, yet I have never seen their names at any of the Texas live venue hotspots (and none of them are from Texas originally)
2) This point is debatable, but they named themselves after a relatively obscure Dwight Yoakam song which happens to be a Texas city and also is a generic one word band name..
3)…yet they don’t name DY or any other country legend as their primary influence or among their favorite songs
4) They have no songs together other than the LP, which means they weren’t a real band before they got signed (or created in a lab by BMR)
5) Drinking Problem is an awesome cover song/medley/distillation of Gary Stewart’s entire career, but it was written by Osborne and McNally….which certainly skews my perspective a bit
I guess my point is, I like their style, but I have been burned too many damn times. I also liked Blake Shelton when he released Goodbye Time as a single, but we all know how that story ends. Do you think these guys won’t be susceptible to the next awful trend (disco country, opera country, Rocky Horror Picture Show country, who knows how bad the next thing could be).
Why create a band like Midland artificially in a lab (label) rather than find a real band and sign them.
I hope they stay the course and remain a George Strait covering The Eagles country band, but seems to be too much plastic/artificial sweetener to get a real sense of where they shake out.
March 16, 2017 @ 11:53 am
I like the EP. But it’s clear these guys are a major label creation. I’d be interested in the real history of the band. Who’s idea and why?
I can’t stand listening to them banter between songs, and the one dude looks so uncomfortable in his country band costume it’s hard to look at.
Great voice, and well written catchy songs. Better than anything else on Country 105 FM that’s for sure.
March 16, 2017 @ 12:19 pm
Mark, that is not true. They are not a label creation. They’ve been together before they were signed. They are based out of Dripping Springs, Texas actually. Anyway I’m not worried at all. They listen to real Country. They mentioned “Drinkin’ Problem” being influenced by Gary Stewart songs and even Merle Haggard. Their sound is made to sound old school, but also modern. It will never sound full Pop.
March 16, 2017 @ 2:41 pm
I’ve never heard of Midland until I read your comment here. Then I went to YouTube and listened to “Drinking Problem”. It’s a good song, one of the coolest mainstream songs I’ve heard in a long time.
Are you making the Gary Stewart connection on your own, or did they say it was influenced by him?
March 17, 2017 @ 11:03 am
Honky, they said that they thought of Gary Stewart when they wrote the song.
March 16, 2017 @ 11:10 am
While Big Machine is now more than just Taylor Swift, they don’t need to bet too heavily on her next album. Taylor’s fan base has aged and moved on to other flash-in-the-pan pop acts, and she has lost the attention of awards shows and the mainstream media. Other pop acts such as Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Katy Perry have managed to keep the public captivated even with a lack of music, but outside of Taylor’s random boyfriend drama, the media is no longer obsessed with her. 1989 is more than likely her last major smash album, and while any future albums she releases will undoubtedly sell well, Big Machine should severely temper their expectations.
March 16, 2017 @ 12:21 pm
Last I heard Swift only has one more album with Big Machine. Don’t think she renewed her deal with them. Anyway I agree. She’s definitely not as popular now as she was when 1984 was released.
March 16, 2017 @ 12:23 pm
My bad I meant 1989.
March 16, 2017 @ 1:06 pm
As much intense dislike as I have for Taylor Swift, I have to disagree. She may not be getting a ton of media attention right now, but just wait until words comes out of her next album or song release. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss her as being that far behind the likes of Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Katy Perry, etc. She is still one of the largest names in all of modern Pop music and I don’t see that changing until she gets a bit older and her window closes (like it does for every other Pop starlet).
March 16, 2017 @ 1:38 pm
Totally agree – I’m not a fan, but I wouldn’t call her washed-up yet.. She was the highest-paid celebrity (not just musician) of 2016 ($170 million according to Forbes) and the two songs she wrote recently (“Better Man” by Little Big Town and that Rihanna song) were hits. When she finally releases a new album, it’ll most likely be a huge event.
March 16, 2017 @ 6:25 pm
She said she was taking a break and that’s what she did. She was way over exposed so she was smart to hide out for a while. She still had Better Man and her song with Zayn and her Calvin Harris/ Rihanna song tho so she has kept her name out there pretty well I’d say. Any artist would love to have Taylor Swift’s “low profile” Year.
March 16, 2017 @ 9:20 pm
Don’t forget the song “I Don’t Want To Live Forever” that’s currently sitting at #1 on the pop charts.
March 16, 2017 @ 11:33 pm
1) It is true that Taylor Swift only has one album left on her Big Machine deal. That came out last year when Borchetta was shopping around Big Machine to be sold. That doesn’t mean Taylor Swift won’t re-sign with Big Machine, but that’s the status at the moment.
2) Taylor Swift is far from done. She will release another album, likely this late October and November, and it will be massive. She talks about over-exposure herself all the time. She’s laying low to recharge public appetite for her return.
March 17, 2017 @ 7:08 am
And the thing about her is that she can always write songs. All by herself if necessary. My guess would be that she’s got a long career ahead of her.
July 24, 2018 @ 12:37 pm
Well, it’s mid-2018 and Taylor’s Reputation came out last December and even with only 2-3 weeks before year-end it still became the biggest selling album of 2017 and her stadium tour is breaking records and will most likely be the biggest grossing tour ever. In addition, Taylor’s fan base is clearly locked into her for the long haul despite the major shift in sound and approach with this last album. Her song-writing is still strong and helps other musicians too (most recent being Babe for Sugarland). Lastly, she is a media darling again. Her life and career is a 180 since she went on her break and has left that Kardashian and other drama behind her… I think she is here to stay for a long time (says she won’t take a break again – we’lol see about that – so more albums to come again) as the musics and business powerhouse she set herself up to be since she was a teenager.
March 16, 2017 @ 11:53 am
Will Scott Borchetta be feared & respected in the future? Sure.
But Music Row can see the signs too. The Broken Bow label group was acquired by BMG Rights Management. Benny Brown clearly saw a sign or two.
Too many artists, too many labels & too many vice-presidents-this & marketing-that people.
My Playlist: Jess Moskaluke – “Drive Me Away” (#26 – Canada)
March 16, 2017 @ 5:07 pm
“Borchetta also found himself at the forefront of the industry when his company struck deals with broadcast companies to pay BMLG and its artists performance royalties when their songs are played on the radio in exchange for a smaller cut of digital royalties.”
March 16, 2017 @ 5:11 pm
I’ve thought about this for a while, actually. For someone who supposedly has the ‘Midas Touch,’ Scott Borchetta has had more misfires than successes at this point. His biggest BMLG achievement will always be Taylor Swift. There’s really no disputing that. He also helped launch bro-country with FGL and unleashed Thomas Rhett onto the world. You also cannot underestimate his success with Tim McGraw, who has released his most worthy material in years through BMLG.
But Scott isn’t the ‘all-mighty’ he’s been made out to be. He’s been marketed as the guy who gets whatever he wants, is never told ‘no’ and could manipulate and rig any situation in his favor. Yet, the statistics don’t add up. He helped Garth Brooks score a historic #1 with “More Than A Memory” yet failed to reach a deal to keep him on BMLG. He claimed Jennifer Nettles’ latest album was full of hits, yet he couldn’t get any to the upper trenches of the charts. He failed to properly develop Maddie & Tae, which led to their demise. He sabotaged both Cassidee Pope and Danielle Bradbery with crap songs. If the point of NASH Icon was to regain favor for the veteran artists he signed, then that was another example of mismanagement and ultimately poor judgment. The Band Perry, on the other hand, have only themselves to blame for whatever they think they’ve become.
In the beginning, he was smart. After launching Taylor Swift (who, please don’t judge me, is a favorite of mine) he financed (my other favorite) Trisha Yearwood’s HEAVEN, HEARTACHE AND THE POWER OF LOVE, releasing it on Big Machine. He worked with her at MCA, so I figured he was setting up to allow the artists he had relationships with to retain full creative freedom and release their strongest music under his imprint. I, being way too nieve just ten years ago, was (sadly) dead wrong.
So, in the span of the label group’s inception, he’s lost: Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, The Mavericks, The Band Perry and likely Taylor Swift once she fulfills her contract after her next album.
It’ll be interesting to see where BMLG goes from here. FGL and Thomas Rhett are ‘era artists’ who likely won’t continue to have success once their ‘brand’ has expired (I laugh even thinking of them trying to diversify). Without them, his only two major mainstream country acts, where does he fit into any mainstream conversation? He’s certainly cemented his legacy, but you can’t ride that into the future.
March 16, 2017 @ 5:51 pm
Regardless of his successes/failures in the last 12 years, he’s a businessman who started a label with some pretty solid contacts and a lot of experience from his previous work with MTM in the 80’s, along with MCA, Dreamworks, and others. He helped promote George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, Martina McBride, and Reba during the heights of their careers. He knew there would be risks to starting a label on his own, especially since his first artist was a 14-year-old girl who was popular on MySpace. There will always be times for slashing, burning, and starting over in any successful business venture, and sometimes everything just shuts down. I don’t see him selling BMLG unless either T-Swift leaves, or unless he decides that one day, he’s gonna hang it all up.
**For the record, none of this is an endorsement of his assistance in breeding the Bro-Country movement. He’s still an ass for that.
March 16, 2017 @ 11:35 pm
Good stuff Jon.
March 17, 2017 @ 7:24 am
Every businessman has failures. A great businessman bounces back. A poor businessman fails even more.
We will see how it goes.
March 17, 2017 @ 10:28 am
One thing I would take Mr. Borchetta to task for, besides his propagating a god awful thing like Bro-Country, is that he and his label didn’t appear to do much for Trisha when she put out HEAVEN, HEARTACHE, AND THE POWER OF LOVE. Three singles were released from that album, but only the title track did all that well (#19); and it always seemed to me that Borchetta was propping up the then still relatively untried Taylor Swift at the expense of a proven artist that he had at MCA. Is it possible that he thought Trisha was “over the hill”?
Borchetta, in my opinion, really has gotten to be a cynic as a record industry potentate. And as Oscar Wilde astutely observed once, a cynic is someone who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.
February 6, 2019 @ 7:45 pm
Martina McBride was on Republic Nashville (Big Machine) for 1 CD and left the label and she returned to back to Big Machine Nash Icon for another CD and she left again. Zac Brown Band made 1 album and left plus they got signed with BMG/Broken Bow, and Sugarland is struggling on Big Machine. Lady Antebellum is on Big Machine and now Sheryl Crow just got signed as well.
Six String Richie
March 16, 2017 @ 6:19 pm
It seems to me a small part of BMLG recent problems are due to splurging on veteran artists that were clearly past their prime. Signing Reba, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Steven Tyler and the Nash Icon artists seemed like an attempt to make a point. They were attracting major veterans to their label.
Unfortunately, Reba and Rascal Flatts commercial days are basically over. McGraw saw great success but his leaving hurts BMLG’s image.
I don’t know how much was spent to attract these established artists but I think it might not have paid off.
March 16, 2017 @ 8:21 pm
1000000% agree. That cash flow could have been directed toward developing an artist instead of maintaining the popularity of ones whose run at the top has faded. It sucks to see folks like Reba and Martina fade off into the sunset commercially, but it’s the natural progression.
March 16, 2017 @ 7:00 pm
All I could think while reading this was one, Maddie & Tae got fucked over big time, and two, I wonder how Toby Keith feels right now.
March 16, 2017 @ 7:27 pm
I can totally see Big Machine probably folding or at least dropping artists once Swift leaves. It’s inevitable at this point. This whole shtick of her vs Spotify has Scott written all over it. She also doesn’t seem as happy seeing as they kept pressuring her to include country songs on 1989. She just doesn’t feel into that anymore. And I can see her moving completly to Republic Records after she releases her highly anticipated sixth album.
March 16, 2017 @ 9:42 pm
All I know I saw Aaron Lewis play a sold out show here in Chicago last Saturday night and he was incredible just like his album which is better and more real than all the shit you guys say is great on this site including Simpson, Jinks, and Isbell etc…. Most of the public has no idea who’s on what label or managed by who and don’t care. They either buy the tickets or they don’t. Recorded music is free and has been for years. You think I paid for the Simpson , Jinks, and Isbell files on my computer?….LOL Aaron gave me the album with the ticket I purchased.
March 16, 2017 @ 11:38 pm
The last Aaron Lewis record received a positive review here, so I’m not sure what’s up with painting this as a hotbed for anti Aaron Lewis sentiment. Saying he (likely) got dropped from the label is not an indictment of Lewis, it’s just reporting what happened.
March 17, 2017 @ 7:17 am
Yeah I guess as I read it back again I was thinking you were lumping Aaron in with the Steven Tyler disaster but I kind of mis read it. My bad. I remember you giving his album a good review. He tore into the radio people from U.S. 99 that were in attendance here in Chicago that night as well. My point is he’s on YOUR side (your meaning you people on this site) he thinks like you do. His music is honest and real and not CountPop like you all hate and the radio plays. And Scott of course Aaron can carry Cody’s guitar but he doesn’t have to. His last 2 albums sold 220K and 109K respectively as well as selling out everywhere on his own terms. Cody sold 40K. I actually like some Jinks tunes but don’t say something silly like that. That’d be like saying Aaron can’t carry Simpson’s guitar because he won Grammy….lol (for an album that isn’t Country or one tenth as good as Sinner mind you) It’s all opinion anyway. Aaron Lewis will never starve in this business because he’s a great writer and he can put asses in the seats no matter what record company he ends up with now.
March 18, 2017 @ 1:25 pm
Lewis might actually benefit from splitting with Big Machine. Dude’s handling has been somewhat schizophrenic from the start. He trashes mainstream Country, then goes on Bobby Bones and walks back his statements. Just like his “That Ain’t Country”, which was a protest anthem, that basically had a semi-Bro Country video attached to it. It would be interesting to see Lewis just go the Thirty Tigers route and see what he could come up with. Right now he is an interesting artist to watch, but really the inconsistencies with his image and the like have somewhat hurt him.
March 17, 2017 @ 6:00 am
Aaron Lewis couldn’t carry Cody’s guitar.
March 17, 2017 @ 7:28 am
Hey, let’s give Borchetta credit for rolling the dice on Taylor Swift. She’s a fine writer, full stop, end of discussion. We can all hear the way young people speak reflected in her lines, and with the right intelligence.
I don’t much care if Big Machine rusts out and collapses. It’s an old story. As long as people care about being HUGE and winning the decades popularity contest, we’ll see more Borchetta and bust. The only thing that really matters is rewarding quality, i.e. finding ways to match enough listeners and buyers to quality writing/music to make the latter financially viable. It’s the same with every small artisanal business.
In my opinion, if you want to “save country music,” it’s has to be done county by county. We still have good pickers where I’m from, and bluegrass isn’t zombie yet.
March 17, 2017 @ 7:58 am
But I don’t think we can give the guy grief for not signing The Next Taylor Swift. Nobody else has either.
Since there is all this documented proof that he has no soul, then going forward he can do whatever he wants and it’s no problem. Until Satan calls in his marker and makes him fornicate with Kellyanne Conway to progenate the False Prophet incarnate before getting thrown in a lake of fire himself. There’s that eventuality to deal with.
March 18, 2017 @ 11:32 am
Just a note regarding La’Porsha, she’s got a single in the top 10 single on her format (Urban AC) and her album is out at the end of the month. Honestly she’s doing better than I thought she would so they’re not really doing wrong by her.
March 18, 2017 @ 6:00 pm
I read this article earlier today and, coincidentally, caught a documentary on BBC4 here in the UK in which Scott Borchetter was featured heavily. It was about The Shires, the English country duo and their success both here and in landing a deal with Big Machine. Maddie & Tae and Thomas Rhett were also interviewed and it all made for a very interesting hour. It was called The Shires: New Country and is well worth a look if you can find it online.
March 18, 2017 @ 10:40 pm
Nash Icon records is not making any waves and Martina and Hank Jr cd’s was not good but Reba’s and Ronnie dunn cd’s were good. None of the 4 haven’t cracked the top 20 on that label.. Big machine label Group is not going anywhere because it is a healthy label still.
March 19, 2017 @ 7:37 am
The Nashville Icon label isn’t looking for mass airplay though. While quality is subjective
March 19, 2017 @ 12:41 pm
1) I’m confused by the seeming slap at Aaron Lewis, hinting that dropping him is a smart idea. Didn’t his last album debut at #1, or at least reached there at some point? Hell, he’s seemed to take his career move seriously, and could now be considered an artist that mainstream country is unfairly ignoring, alongside Isbell etc etc.
2) While I *completely* understand the notion of picking at a Nashville dude for opening a clothing line/boutique, frankly its kinda nice to see folks walking around with the world “Music Has Value” emblazoned across their chest in big letters. Also, opening the storefront for MHV meant that the Big Machine label had an “official” home/store in Nashville’s tourist hub off of Broadway, which again I gotta give them points for opening one of the few places for folks to buy music in Music City, even if it was their label’s output exclusively
March 19, 2017 @ 1:58 pm
I think you may be reading some implied sarcasm into this article that is probably not there in places. My point about the boutique shops and clothing line is it was just another thing for Scott Borchetta to manage. I don’t take exception to the message he was trying to convey. As for Aaron Lewis, I gave his album a positive review here, but it’s also fair to point out how he was trying to portray himself as outside of the system, when he was on the same label as Florida Georgia Line. Ultimately, the music must speak for itself, and Lewis sold alright upon debut. I can’t tell you why Dot dropped him (though that has yet to be confirmed). I’m just reporting the situation as we know it.