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Big Machine Records is an American independent record label, which is distributed by Universal Music Group, specializing in country and pop artists. Big Machine is based on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee. The label was founded in September 2005[1] by former DreamWorks Records executive Scott Borchetta and became a joint venture between Borchetta and country singer Toby Keith.[2] The company concentrates on publishing, management, and merchandising and oversees imprints, such as Valory Music, that are part of the Big Machine Label Group.

Big Machine Records
Bm records.jpg
Parent companyBig Machine Label Group
FoundedSeptember 1, 2005; 14 years ago (2005-09-01)
FounderScott Borchetta
Distributor(s)Universal Music Group
Country of originUnited States
LocationNashville, Tennessee


Scott 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 Music Group's MCA Records. 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 Taylor Swift and her family after the musician performed at the Bluebird Café in Nashville, Tennessee after first meeting her in 2004. 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" and her debut album Taylor Swift. 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: "[Taylor Swift’s father] 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]

In February 2010, Swift won 4 Grammys—including Album of the Year (Fearless), Best Country Album (Fearless), Best Country Song ("White Horse"), and Best Female Country Vocal Performance ("White Horse")—becoming the first Big Machine artist to win a Grammy Award.

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 fifth studio album 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, 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 Universal Music Group (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]

In May 2017, the label branched out into the alcoholic beverage industry by launching Big Machine Vodka, a premium brand distilled in Lynnville, Tennessee. Borchetta described the new venture as "perfectly [complimenting] the music we take such great pride in".[10]

In November 2017, Swift released her sixth studio album Reputation, her last album released under Big Machine.

In October 2018, Big Machine was placed for sale, with bids from Macquarie Group, Evan Spiegel and Universal Music Group. Big Machine was valued at $300 million.[11]

On November 19, 2018, after her contract with Big Machine expired, Swift signed with Republic Records, under a deal in which she would maintain ownership of her masters going forward.[12][13][14]

On June 30, 2019, it was announced that Scooter Braun's Ithaca Holdings had acquired Big Machine Label Group. This purchase was backed by the Carlyle Group, a firm that has taken millions of dollars from the Bin Laden family.[15][16] Borchetta will remain as CEO, and also gained a minority stake in Ithaca. However, this was met with criticism from many celebrities and fans as Swift spoke out against Braun. She revealed in a tumblr post to fans that Braun had bullied her in the past when she had undergone her sexual assault case and the infamous feud between the singer and Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian, along with multiple other times. Swift also revealed that she had tried to obtain the rights to her masters, but her attempts to purchase them were denied by Borchetta.


Spotify issueEdit

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.[18]

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".[18][19] According to Borchetta, the amount Swift earned from streaming her music videos on the Vevo site was greater than the payout she received from Spotify.

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]

Taylor Swift's catalogue returned to Spotify in June 2017.[20]


Big Machine Label Group
Limited Liability Company
IndustryMusic & entertainment
FoundedSeptember 1, 2005; 14 years ago (2005-09-01)
FounderScott Borchetta
HeadquartersMusic Row, ,
Key people
Scott Borchetta, (CEO)
Sandi Spika Borchetta, (VP Creative Services)
Andrew Kautz, General Manager
Taylor Swift, the first signed artist
ParentIthaca Holdings
DivisionsBig Machine Records
Valory Music
BMLG Records

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, Thomas Rhett, and Justin Moore.[21]

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.[22] 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.[23]

BMLG RecordsEdit

Big Machine joined with Universal Republic Records in June 2009 to found a new label, Republic Nashville.[24] In August 2016, Republic Nashville was rebranded as BMLG Records after Big Machine took back full ownership of the label.

Dot RecordsEdit

In March 2014, Big Machine announced the revival of Dot Records and, as of February 2015, the imprint was run in partnership with Republic Records.[25] Dot was shuttered in March 2017 and a number of its artists moved to other Big Machine imprints.

Nash Icon RecordsEdit

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.[26][27]

On October 21, 2014, it was announced that McEntire would be the first artist signed to Nash Icon Music.[28] Nash Icon Records folded into Big Machine Records in 2018.

Big Machine Records rosterEdit

Current country artistsEdit

Current rock and pop artistsEdit

  • Badflower[29] (Big Machine/John Varvatos Records)
  • Cheap Trick[29]
  • Elijah Woods X Jamie Fine
  • Friday Pilots Club (Big Machine/John Varvatos Records)
  • Poesy
  • Logan Staats
  • Pretty Vicious[29] (Big Machine/John Varvatos Records)

Former country artistsEdit

Former Nash Icon Records artistsEdit

Former Nash Next Records artistsEdit

  • Breaking Southwest
  • Todd O'Neill
  • Jessie Ritter
  • Radio Romance

Former pop artistsEdit

Valory Music Co. rosterEdit

BMLG Records rosterEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Caulfiend, Keith; Tucker, Ken (November 10, 2007). "Valory Unveiled". Billboard. 119 (45): 8.
  2. ^ a b Stark, Phyllis (2006-03-11). "The Honeymoon's Hardly Over, but Show Dog and Big Machine split". Billboard.
  3. ^ a b c d e f 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. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Edward Morris (3 March 2009). "Country Rosters Remain Stable Despite Sales Downturn". CMT News. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  6. ^ a b c 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. ^ "Scott Borchetta's Big Machine Launches Vodka Brand". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  11. ^ "Universal Is Only Major Label Left in Running to Buy Taylor Swift's Big Machine Label Group, as Bids Top $300M". Billboard. 2018-10-30. Retrieved 2019-06-30.
  12. ^ Wang, Amy X. (2018-11-19). "Taylor Swift's New Record Deal Affects Thousands of Other Musicians". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  13. ^ Willman, Chris (August 27, 2018). "Taylor Swift Stands to Make Music Business History as a Free Agent". Variety. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  14. ^ Aswad, Jem; Willman, Chris (November 19, 2018). "Taylor Swift Signs New Deal With Universal Music Group". Variety. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Staff, Variety; Staff, Variety (2019-06-30). "Scooter Braun's Ithaca Holdings Acquires Big Machine Label Group". Variety. Retrieved 2019-06-30.
  18. ^ a b Brian Mansfield (4 November 2014). "Taylor Swift says goodbye to Spotify". USA Today. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  19. ^ "Spotify says it paid Taylor Swift millions. Her label disagrees. Here's the truth". The Verge. 2014-11-13.
  20. ^ "Taylor Swift returning her music to Spotify". USA TODAY.
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ "On Music Row: Valory takes Emerson Drive in tow". The City Paper. 15 September 2008. Archived from the original on 10 January 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  23. ^ Ken Tucker (11 November 2008). "Reba McEntire Signs With Valory Music". Billboard. Billboard. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  24. ^ "New Nashville label starts with Sunny Sweeney aboard". Country Standard Time. 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  25. ^ Rau, Nate (24 March 2014). "Big Machine resurrects Dot Records name". The Tennesseean. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  26. ^ "Oldies 98.9 becomes older-skewing country NASH Icon 98.9". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Cox Media Group. August 15, 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2014.
  27. ^ "Nash Icons launches across the country". Radio Insight. 2014-08-15. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  28. ^ "Reba McEntire Becomes Nash Icon Music Label's Inaugural Signing". 21 October 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Big Machine Records – Artists". Big Machine Records. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  30. ^ "10 New Country Artists You Need To Know". Rolling Stone. July 1, 2016.
  31. ^ "Jennifer Nettles Signs New Record Deal With Big Machine Label Group". The Boot. August 26, 2015.
  32. ^ "Melissa Peterman Signs to Big Machine Records". February 23, 2010.
  33. ^ "Laura Signed To Big Machine Records". Laura Marano Official Website. March 28, 2015.
  34. ^ "Who Is Fancy Talks Shedding The Mystery". Billboard. April 10, 2015.
  35. ^ "Eli Young Band Make Move to the Valory Music Co". Valory Music Co. July 8, 2015. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  36. ^ a b c d e f "Valory Music Co. – Artists". Valory Music Co.
  37. ^ "Taylor Swift fans unite to support Delta Rae after band leaves Big Machine". Taste Of Country. July 2, 2019.
  38. ^ "Tara Thompson Joins BMLG's Valory Music Co. Roster". MusicRow. October 26, 2015.
  39. ^ a b c d "Republic Nashville – Artists". Republic Nashville. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  40. ^ "Lady Antebellum Signs with Big Machine". 2018-09-04.
  41. ^ "Big Machine Label Group Signs Brett Young". Big Machine Records. August 21, 2015. Archived from the original on June 3, 2016. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  42. ^ "The Band Perry Part Ways With Big Machine". Billboard. March 1, 2016.
  43. ^ "Republic Nashville Signs Greg Bates". Big Machine Records. December 7, 2011. Archived from the original on August 10, 2017. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  44. ^ a b c d "Big Machine Publicity Adds Burr". MusicRow. November 4, 2010.
  45. ^ "Big Machine Records Creates New Label With Universal Republic". June 5, 2009.
  46. ^ "Jackie Lee Inks Deal with Republic Nashville". Big Machine Records. February 16, 2012. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  47. ^ "Martina McBride Signs to Republic Nashville". November 8, 2010.
  48. ^ a b c d "Dot Records – Artists". Dot Records. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  49. ^ "'Voice' Bummers: Kimberly Nichole Leaves Show, Craig Wayne Boyd Leaves Label". Yahoo!. June 13, 2015.

External linksEdit