Big Machine Records

Big Machine Records
Parent company Big Machine Label Group
Founded September 1, 2005 (2005-09-01)
Founder Scott Borchetta
Distributor(s) Universal Music Group
Country of origin United States
Location Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Official website
For other uses, see Big Machine.

Big Machine Records, LLC is an independent American record label specializing in country and pop artists. Big Machine is based on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee, and is distributed by Universal Music Group (UMG). The label was launched in September[1] 2005 by former DreamWorks Records executive, Scott Borchetta, and initially became a joint venture between Borchetta and country singer Toby Keith.[2] As of November 2014, the music company consists of 88 employees—in the areas of music publishing, management, and merchandising—and four office buildings. The business also oversees numerous imprints, including Valory Music, that are under Big Machine Label Group.

Among the artists signed to the label is Taylor Swift, whose most recent studio album, 1989, was released in October 2014.[3] Swift's father owns a stake in the record label. Other artists include Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, and Rascal Flatts.


Borchetta is originally from Los Angeles, California's San Fernando Valley area ("The Valley"), and he played bass guitar in punk rock bands in his younger years. Borchetta's father, Mike Borchetta, worked in Nashville as a country promoter who courted radio stations with music he transported in the trunk of his car. Mike Borchetta was married to an aspiring country singer at the time, as he had divorced Scott's mother. Borchetta did not leave Nashville after a 1981 visit.[3]

Borchetta worked in the mailroom of his father's music company and eventually became a promotions staff member in 1991 for Universal’s MCA Records label. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Borchetta was an "involved manager" at MCA, "choosing singles and dispensing advice." After he was fired from MCA in 1997, Borchetta accepted a role at the Nashville division of DreamWorks Records, but later decided to start his own label after Universal acquired the division.[3]

Before he left DreamWorks, Borchetta approached Swift and her family after the musician performed at the Blue Bird Café in Nashville, TN. At the time, Borchetta had no infrastructure or financing, made an offer to Swift and her parents, whereby he would recruit her to the new label's roster after it was established. Swift eventually recontacted Borchetta around two weeks later, telling him: "I’m waiting for you."[3]

After he formed the label in 2005, Big Machine released Swift's first ever recording, the single "Tim McGraw". Keith dropped his affiliation with the label in 2006, but he was reported as an equity holder in November 2014, alongside the Swift family and Borchetta (the latter reportedly owned 60 percent of the business at the time). In October 2012, Borchetta told Rolling Stone magazine: "Scott Swift owns three percent of Big Machine".[2][3][4]

By March 2009, Big Machine artist Danielle Peck had left the label. The departure occurred during a downturn period for the overall U.S. music industry.[5]

Borchetta signed a deal with Clear Channel, which later changed its name to iHeartMedia, in 2012 that ensures payment for Big Machine artists from terrestrial and digital radio airplay. Three years after the deal was signed, Borchetta said that the revenue streams were "very meaningful."[6]

On November 3, 2014, Swift removed all but one of her songs from Spotify after indications of her disapproval of the streaming service emerged in July of the same year. Swift, statistically one of the world's most popular music artists at the time, had previously delayed the streaming of her 2012 album, Red.[7]

Big Machine country music artists Justin Moore and Brantley Gilbert removed their music from Spotify on November 12, 2014. Like Swift, both artists allowed a single song to remain on the streaming platform.[8]

In response to a claim that Borchetta was seeking a sum of US$200 million for Big Machine since the release of Swift's 1989, the label head refuted the claim in November 2014: "Every time we have a Taylor [Swift] record, they’re like, 'Oh, he’s selling the company'." However, Borchetta did not rule out a future change of ownership, stating that "the business is changing so quickly, and if I see a strategic opportunity that’s going to be better for our artists and executives, it’s going to be a serious conversation".[3] Following the release of 1989, Swift's fifth album, her Big Machine contract requires her to produce one more full-length album for the label.[3]

The Zac Brown Band announced on January 12, 2015, that it had finalized a four-way strategic partnership involving the Southern Ground Artists record label, Big Machine Label Group, Republic Records and John Varvatos Records for the release of its fourth studio album. The terms of the deal state that Zac Brown Band will work with Big Machine Label Group for marketing and distribution, while Southern Ground Artists will work on radio promotion, Republic will provide support in the area of non-country radio formats and international promotion, and Varvatos will oversee branding and styling. Borchetta was quoted in the Big Machine press release as saying that there is "literally no ceiling" to what can be achieved by the new partnership, and also spoke of "moments when our best artists hit a global stride and a deeper sense of engagement that speaks a clearer musical language".[9]

In a February 2015 interview, Borchetta refused to comment on the status of the label's distribution deal with UMG, which was up for renegotiation at the time. He confirmed that the label would release the next American Idol album, in partnership with 19 Entertainment and UMG—Borchetta would be one of the mentors on the reality program's next series. Borchetta also disclosed that Swift agreed to the withdrawal of her catalog from Spotify after he first suggested the idea to her, and that he would remove the music of all Big Machine artists if it was within his power.[6]

Spotify issue

After Swift and Big Machine withdrew her catalog from Spotify in November 2014, the streaming service launched a social media campaign to persuade Swift to return and, in a statement on its website, claimed that 16 million of over 40 million users had played her music in the preceding 30-day period.[10]

In mid-November, Borchetta disputed figures released by Spotify that claimed that Swift would receive US$6 million annually from the streaming site—Borchetta said in a TIME magazine interview that Swift was paid a total of US$500,000 over the previous 12 months. Spotify responded to Borchetta, by clarifying that Swift had been paid US$2 million for global streaming over the year-long time frame. Spotify further explained: "We [Spotify] paid Taylor [Swift]’s label and publisher roughly half a million dollars in the month before she took her catalog down".[10][11] According to Borchetta, the amount Swift earned from streaming her videos on the Vevo site was greater than the payout she received from Spotify. He said to TIME:

The facts show that the music industry was much better off before Spotify hit these shores ... Don’t forget this is for the most successful artist in music today. What about the rest of the artists out there struggling to make a career? Over the last year, what Spotify has paid is the equivalent of less than 50,000 albums sold.[12]

Borchetta then clarified in a February 2015 interview that Swift's catalog would be permitted on a streaming service "that understands the different needs that we [Swift and Big Machine] have," whereby "the choice to be [on the free, ad-supported tier] or not" is provided. Borchetta argued that Swift's musical oeuvre is "arguably the most important current catalog there is" and stated that the streaming issue is "about each individual artist, and the real mission here is to bring … attention to it."[6]


Valory Music Co.

In November 2007, Big Machine Records founded a subsidiary imprint called Valory Music Co. Acts signed to this roster include Jimmy Wayne (who was formerly signed to Big Machine), Jewel, The Mavericks, and Justin Moore.[13]

By the end of November 2008, the Valory imprint entered into a partnership with Midas Records—promotion, sales, marketing, production, publicity and distribution—for Canadian acts Adam Gregory and Emerson Drive.[14] The announcement that Reba McEntire would join Valory was also publicized in November 2008. McEntire's debut single on Valory was scheduled for 2009, with her new studio album scheduled for the northern summer of the same year.[15]

BMLG Records

Big Machine joined with Universal Republic Records in June 2009 to found a new label, Republic Nashville.[16] In August 2016, Republic Nashville was rebranded as BMLG Records after Big Machine took back full ownership of the label.

Dot Records

In March 2014, Big Machine announced the revival of Dot Records and, as of February 2015, the imprint is run in partnership with Republic Records.[17]

Nash Icon Music

In 2014, Big Machine announced a partnership with Cumulus Media to create Nash Icon Music, a Big Machine imprint serving as an offshoot of Cumulus's Nash FM brand, focusing on active country acts who achieved mainstream fame in the 1990s and early 2000s. Cumulus also operates Nash Icon-branded radio stations with a similar focus.[18][19]

On October 21, 2014, it was announced that McEntire would be the first artist signed to Nash Icon Music.[20]

Big Machine Records roster

Current country artists

Current pop artists

Past country artists

Past pop artists

Valory Music Co. roster

Past artists

BMLG Records roster

Main article: BMLG Records

Past artists

Dot Records roster

Past artists

Nash Icon Music roster

See also


  1. Caulfiend, Keith; Tucker, Ken (November 10, 2007). "Valory Unveiled". Billboard. 119 (45): 8.
  2. 1 2 Stark, Phyllis (2006-03-11). "The Honeymoon's Hardly Over, but Show Dog and Big Machine split". Billboard.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Devin Leonard (12 November 2014). "Taylor Swift Is the Music Industry". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  4. Brian Hiatt (25 October 2012). "Taylor Swift in Wonderland". Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Edward Morris (3 March 2009). "Country Rosters Remain Stable Despite Sales Downturn". CMT News. Viacom International Inc. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 Melinda Newman (5 February 2015). "Taylor Swift's Label Boss on Her Future, His Spotify Showdown and 'American Idol'". The Hollywood Reporter. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  7. Jack Linshi (3 November 2014). "Here's Why Taylor Swift Pulled Her Music From Spotify". TIME. TIME, Inc. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  8. "Justin Moore, Brantley Gilbert pull music from Spotify". Toronto Sun. 12 November 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  9. Nate Rau (12 January 2015). "Zac Brown Band aligns with Big Machine". The Tennessean. The Tennessean. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  10. 1 2 Brian Mansfield (4 November 2014). "Taylor Swift says goodbye to Spotify". USA Today. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  11. "Spotify says it paid Taylor Swift millions. Her label disagrees. Here's the truth". The Verge.
  12. Jack Dickey (12 November 2014). "Taylor Swift's Spotify Paycheck Mystery". TIME. TIME, Inc. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  13. "Big Machine starts new label, signs Jewel, Jimmy Wayne, Justin Moore". Country Standard 2007-11-02. Archived from the original on 11 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-08.
  14. "On Music Row: Valory takes Emerson Drive in tow". The City Paper. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  15. Ken Tucker (11 November 2008). "Reba McEntire Signs With Valory Music". Billboard. Billboard. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  16. "New Nashville label starts with Sunny Sweeney aboard". Country Standard Time. 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  17. Rau, Nate (24 March 2014). "Big Machine resurrects Dot Records name". The Tennesseean. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  18. "Oldies 98.9 becomes older-skewing country NASH Icon 98.9". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Cox Media Group. August 15, 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  19. "Nash Icons launches across the country". Radio Insight. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  20. "Reba McEntire Becomes Nash Icon Music Label's Inaugural Signing". 21 October 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  21. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 "Big Machine Records - Artists". Big Machine Records. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  22. "Jennifer Nettles Signs New Record Deal With Big Machine Label Group". The Boot. August 26, 2015.
  23. "Big Machine Label Group Signs Ella Mae Bowen". Big Machine Records. October 5, 2011.
  24. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Country Labels Keep Rosters Full Despite Album Sales Dip". April 8, 2008.
  25. "Edens Edge - Big Machine". Big Machine Records. June 12, 2012.
  26. "Melissa Peterman Signs to Big Machine Records". February 23, 2010.
  27. "Steel Magnolia Exit Big Machine Records". January 18, 2012.
  28. "Laura Signed To Big Machine Records". Laura Marano Official Website. March 28, 2015.
  29. "Who Is Fancy Talks Shedding The Mystery". Billboard. April 10, 2015.
  30. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Valory Music Co. - Artists". Valory Music Co.
  31. "Eli Young Band Make Move to the Valory Music Co.". Valory Music Co. July 8, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  32. "Tara Thompson Joins BMLG's Valory Music Co. Roster". MusicRow. October 26, 2015.
  33. 1 2 3 4 "Republic Nashville - Artists". Republic Nashville. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  34. "Big Machine Label Group Signs Brett Young". Big Machine Records. August 21, 2015.
  35. "The Band Perry Part Ways With Big Machine". Billboard. March 1, 2016.
  36. "Republic Nashville Signs Greg Bates". Big Machine Records. December 7, 2011.
  37. 1 2 3 4 "Big Machine Publicity Adds Burr". MusicRow. November 4, 2010.
  38. "Big Machine Records Creates New Label With Universal Republic". June 5, 2009.
  39. "Jackie Lee Inks Deal with Republic Nashville". Big Machine Records. February 16, 2012.
  40. "Martina McBride Signs to Republic Nashville". November 8, 2010.
  41. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Dot Records - Artists". Dot Records. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  42. "'Voice' Bummers: Kimberly Nichole Leaves Show, Craig Wayne Boyd Leaves Label". Yahoo!. June 13, 2015.
  43. 1 2 3 4 "Nash Icon - Artists". Nash Icon Music. Retrieved October 26, 2015.

External links

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