“Individuality” and “a sense of who they are”–according to Big Machine Label Group CEO and president Scott Borchetta, those are some of the key characteristics that define the artists he signs. Borchetta sat down for an interview today with CBS This Morning and talked about the state of country music and country radio, how and why the format is skewing younger, and some of the rumors surrounding the artist that Big Machine is best known for, Taylor Swift.
Founded in 2005, the Big Machine Label Group (which also includes the labels Valory and Republic Nashville) is the home of such superstar acts as Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, and of course Taylor Swift. The label group is also home to such up-and-coming artists as Brantley Gilbert, Justin Moore, Florida Georgia Line, and the Eli Young Band. As CBS This Morning notes, “Combined, Borchetta’s artists have sold more than 40 million albums worldwide.” In this day and age, that’s a lot of music.
The label’s biggest success story remains Taylor Swift, who was among the first artists on Big Machine. Though she was only 14 when Borchetta first heard her, Taylor’s young age was not a deterrent to him. “What I saw in Taylor was…just a great artist,” he says in the interview. “Even at 14 years old I was enamored by her songwriting prowess, and just her process. So I just always saw her as a great artist.”
And that term “great artist” has serious weight for him. As he explains it, the main thing he’s looking for when he signs an artist is “individuality.” In other words, he says, an artist who “has an artist vision and a sense of who they are and what they want to say.” Music fans are “not going to hear artists on our label that sound like other artists. I don’t need somebody that sounds like Tim McGraw. I have Tim McGraw.”