Big Machine Records

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Big Machine Records
Bm records.jpg
Parent company Big Machine Label Group
Founded September 1, 2005 (2005-09-01)
Founder Scott Borchetta
Distributor(s) Universal Music Group
Genre Country, pop
Country of origin USA
Location Nashville, Tennessee
Official website

Big Machine Records, LLC is an independent American record label specializing in country music artists, including Taylor Swift, whose first-ever pop music album, 1989, was released in October 2014 as part of a six-album deal.[1][2]

The label was launched in 2005 by former DreamWorks Records executive, Scott Borchetta, and initially became a joint venture between Borchetta and country singer Toby Keith.[3] 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 completely under the control of Borchetta and his partners.

Big Machine is based on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee, and is distributed by Universal Music Group. The label is associated with seven Grammy Awards, due to accolades won by Swift.


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 music record 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.[1]

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.[1]

Before he left DreamWorks, Borchetta approached Swift and her family after the musician performed at a Nashville venue. 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."[1]

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".[4][3][1]

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]

In response to a November 2014 claim, whereby Borchetta was reportedly seeking a sum of US$200 million for Big Machine since the release of Swift's 1989, the label head refuted the claim: "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".[1] 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.[1]

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 the 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".[6]


Valory Music Co[edit]

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.[7]

By the end of November 2008, the label entered into a partnership with Midas Records—promotion, sales, marketing, production, publicity and distribution—for Canadian acts Adam Gregory and Emerson Drive.[8] 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.[9]

Republic Records Nashville[edit]

Big Machine joined with Universal Republic Records in June 2009 to found a new label, Republic Records Nashville.[10]

Dot Records[edit]

In March 2014, Big Machine announced that it would be reviving Dot Records.[11] In 2014, Big Machine announced a partnership with Cumulus Media to create Nash Icon Music, a Big Machine imprint serving as an 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.[12][13]

On October 21, 2014, it was announced that McEntire would be the first artist signed to Nash Icon Music.[14]


Former artists[edit]

Artists on Valory Music Co.[edit]

Former artists[edit]

Republic Nashville roster[edit]

Main article: Republic Nashville

Dot Records roster[edit]

Nash Icon Music roster[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Devin Leonard (12 November 2014). "Taylor Swift Is the Music Industry". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  2. ^]]
  3. ^ a b Stark, Phyllis (2006-03-11). "The Honeymoon's Hardly Over, but Show Dog and Big Machine split". Billboard. 
  4. ^ Brian Hiatt (25 October 2012). "Taylor Swift in Wonderland". Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Edward Morris (3 March 2009). "Country Rosters Remain Stable Despite Sales Downturn". CMT News. Viacom International Inc. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Nate Rau (12 January 2015). "Zac Brown Band aligns with Big Machine". The Tennessean. The Tennessean. Retrieved 17 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "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. 
  8. ^ "On Music Row: Valory takes Emerson Drive in tow". The City Paper. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  9. ^ Ken Tucker (11 November 2008). "Reba McEntire Signs With Valory Music". Billboard. Billboard. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  10. ^ "New Nashville label starts with Sunny Sweeney aboard". Country Standard Time. 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  11. ^ Rau, Nate (24 March 2014). "Big Machine resurrects Dot Records name". The Tennesseean. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  12. ^ "Oldies 98.9 becomes older-skewing country NASH Icon 98.9". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Cox Media Group. August 15, 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  13. ^ "Nash Icons launches across the country". Radio Insight. Retrieved August 16, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Reba McEntire Becomes Nash Icon Music Label's Inaugural Signing". 21 October 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  16. ^

External links[edit]