By: Elizabeth Runde
Big Machine Records is an independent record label based in Nashville,Tennessee. It specializes in country music artists and its records are distributed by Universal Music Group. Big Machine was founded by Scott Borchetta in September 2005.
Scott Borchetta developed an appreciation and a love for music in his childhood years. Borchetta grew up in Southern California and he played in various different bands before moving to Nashville in 1981. Borchetta worked for his father’s independent promotion company for a short period of time, and then worked for several years in the radio promotions department at DreamWorks Records in Nashville, Tennessee. While working at DreamWorks, Borchetta began to consider starting his own label.
After DreamWorks Records merged with Universal Music Group, Borchetta decided that if he ever wanted to run a record label, he would have to create it himself. He started Big Machine Records with Toby Keith, his partner at the time, and signed several country music acts to the label. Big Machine Records has achieved a great amount of success in a short amount of time by hiring experienced professionals who understand the music business, and by signing a wonderful roster of artists including Jack Ingram, Taylor Swift, Steel Magnolia, Trisha Yearwood and many more. Other artists who have recorded for Big Machine Records include Garth Brooks, Dusty Drake, Danielle Peck, Kate & Kacey, Sunny Sweeney, Adam Gregory, and Jimmy Wayne.
Big Machine achieved its first #1 single with Jack Ingram’s song “Wherever You Are.” However, Scott Borchetta got his biggest career break when he spotted 15 year old Taylor Swift at a showcase in Nashville at The Bluebird Cafe. He was so impressed with her that he signed her to an artist deal on Big Machine Records in 2005. Taylor Swift is now Big Machine’s signature artist, as well as the best-selling all-genre artist of 2008 and again in 2009. Swift’s second album, Fearless, became the highest-selling album of the year across all genres, spending 11 weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts, which is longer than any other album in the past 10 years.
In November of 2007, Scott Borchetta launched a record label called “The Valory Music Co.” as a sister imprint to Big Machine Records. Acts signed on Valory include Jewel, Jimmy Wayne, and Justin Moore. Reba McEntire joined Valory Music Group in 2009, through an association with her own independent label, Starstruck.
Monte Lipman, president of Universal Republic, and Scott Borchetta, president of Big Machine Records formed a new label partnership with Republic Nashville in June of 2009. Artists on Republic Nashville include The Band Perry, Eli Young Band, Shel, Fast Ride, and Sunny Sweeney.
Big Machine artists have won many awards over the last several years. The label has received 6 American Music Awards, 6 Country Music Association Awards, 1 MTV Video Music Award, 4 Academy of Country Music Awards, 13 GRAMMY Nominations, 5 People’s Choice Award Nominations, 3 Teen Choice Awards, and 4 CMT Music Awards.
Big Machine was the highest-selling record label group on Music Row in 2009, and was named Billboard’s #1 Top Country Album Imprint for that year.
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