Big Machine Records

Big Machine Records is Billboard’s #1 top country album imprint of 2009, making it the top selling record label group on music row!

Native Californian and musician Scott Borchetta founded Big Machine Records in Nashville in 2005.


It is hard to believe that such a young label could have Big Machine’s level of success in a few short years.  Scott’s father owned an independent promotion company and allowed him to work in the mailroom for a short period of time.  Borchetta always had a love for music, but holding this job spiked a new interest in his mind, the music business.  He continued to make connections and  get closer and closer to the top.  Borchetta ended up in radio promotion and excelled at his job.  He later served as a record executive for DreamWorks Records for a period of time.  He soon found himself irreversibly entangled in the music business and decided to start his first record label, Big Machine Records.

Having only been in business for 5 years, Big Machine’s artists have received 6 CMAs, 6 AMAs, 4 Grammys, 4 ACMs, 4 CMT Music Awards, 3 Teen Choice Awards, 1 MTV video music award and 1 People’s Choice Award.

They have also received 1 Brit Award and one JUNO nomination.

Big Machine is distributed by Universal.


Big Machine label group was one of the first to utilize the Bandbox Widget.  This tool returns 100% of sales to the content owner!  SMART!!!  Big Machine decided to implement this tool with Taylor Swift’s Fearless Album.  Bandbox made it possible for Big Machine to offer not just 1, but 3 creative product bundles.  It was the only way that fans could get presale of the album, so they got to keep 100% of the profit and to say the least it was successful.

Recently, Big Machine Records and Moontoast agreed that BM’s Direct-To-Fan embedded store would be controlled by Moontoast.  Moontoast will allow fans to purchase music, videos and other related products directly from artist related sites and their social networking pages.

Vice President of Sales Marketing and Interactive- Kelly Rich, said “We look forward to a long and successful partnership with Moontoast.  Their passion and innovative social commerce platform were the main reasons for choosing them.”

The store launched on August 19th 2010.

The First Steps

Within their first year of business Big Machine had five Top 30 singles, placed 3 of their new artist releases in the Top 10 Most Played New Artists of 2006 and had a nomination for Record Label of the year.

Amazingly enough, they also had their first #1 hit “Wherever You Are” by Jack Ingram.



Established in 2007, Valory became the first sister label to Big Machine.  Reba McEnitre’s first album released from Valory debuted at #1 on Billboard Top 200, and stayed #1 for 2 weeks on the Country Albums Chart.

Valory also enjoyed great success with Jewel’s first country album Pieces of You which debuted at #1, while label mate Justin Moore was named 2009 Billboard New Artist of the Year.

Valory’s unique, in-house exclusive promotion branding team has contributed largely to it’s success.



Big Machine Records merged with Universal Republic in 2009 to create the other sister label now known as Nashville Republic.  Since the merge they have added a few select artists to their roster.  As of late they seem to have a very promising future with their latest additions.

Jimmy Harnen, former Capital Records Promotion Executive, currently holds the President Position and Borchetta is the CEO.




Although the first artist most think of when they think of Big Machine Records, is Taylor Swift, their roster included many other extremely talented artists.

They are:

>Rascal Flatts

>Reba McEntire


>Trisha Yearwood

>Eli Young Band

>Jack ingram

>Jimmy Wayne

>Sister Act SHELL

>Justin Moore

>Steel Magnolia

>The Band Perry

>Fast Ryde

>Sunny Sweeney

>And of course Miss Taylor Swift

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Taylor Swift

Although Big Machine’s first #1 was as a result of Jack Ingram, the majority of their success is attributed to Taylor Swift.

In 2008 she was the best selling artist of any genre of music.

Taylor is the Country Music Awards and AP’s reigning Entertainer of the Year.  She was also awarded the Artist of the year award in 2009 by the American Music Awards.  In 2009 her album Fearless sold more copies than any other album that year, period.  Fearless won numerous awards for album of the year and held the #1 position on Billboard Top Albums chart for 11 weeks.

Taylor released her newest album Speak Now last week, and it has not had a chance to reach the Billboard Albums chart yet.  I am sure as of next week she will stay at the top for quite some time.

To date, she has sold 30 million digital downloads!

Recent News

As of 2010, Big Machine’s Label group has earned 21 American Country Award nominations.

Big Machine’s Label group has received the 2nd highest number of awards out of all country labels.

Winners of Can You Duet 2010, Steel Magnolia, have just been nominated for 4 of the 21 nominations at Big Machine.

With just barely a year under their belt, The Band Perry is responsible for 3 of the 21 nominations.

USA Today’s Country Aircheck Magazine named Big Machine the Country Label of the Year- 2010.


In Review

In my opinion, the Big Machine label group presents a great example for modern independent labels.  Big Machine has skyrocketed to the forefront of the industry in a mere five years for various reasons, they are:

Borchetta’s personal energy and marketing experience, from radio promotion to executive imagineer.

The Big Machine Group has also used innovative, cutting-edge online marketing and promotional approaches geared to the ever expanding internet age.  Pre-sale internet exclusives, Moontoast retail partnering and social networking are among the many.

Depth and diversity of artist talent with major appeal to many variations of age and demographic.  The interests range from Reba’s adult country radio appeal to Rascal Flatts’ summer tour appeal to Taylor Swift’s teen heartthrob poster girl appeal.  Everyone from the Baby Boomers to the teeny boppers can find an artist they like on one of Big Machines labels.  The music produced by this label is relatable people of all types.

Lastly, Big Machine has created a Reputational “Buzz” from itself by serving as one of the leaders in the constantly evolving industry through the founding of sister labels, corporate mergers, fan focused promotion and retail marketing.

I feel that Big Machine label group seems to cover all of the steps to success in today’s industry and it has definitely worked to its advantage.  If an aspiring independent label went by Big Machine’s model of successful strategies, it will more than likely be bound for success.  Overall it is a very well organized, well run independent label that has and will continue to earn the reputation that it keeps.

Created by: P. Caitlin Jones

Middle Tennessee State University

Indie Labels: RIM 4810


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