Updated: Dec 14, 2019
News around Nashville is focused on the buzz of activity surrounding Big Machine Label Group and its recent headlines.
It started last week with a Variety article titled “Taylor Swift Stands to Make Music Business History As a Free Agent” by Chris Willman featuring a tag line: “Come November, the superstar will be able to sign a new deal for the first time since she was 15. And it’s sure to be a big one.”
Speculations about what Taylor will do when her contract comes up for renewal this fall abound in the article with quotes from Swift’s attorney, Doug Davis, son of famous Sony Music Maven Clive Davis quoted as saying, “There’s no precedent to look to regarding the top-selling artist of the digital era becoming a total free agent.”
It’s interesting to note that Swift was the flagship artist at BMLG, and while its true her talent is widely known and appreciated, there’s also no denying the financial and time investment made by the label into developing, and breaking Swift as an artist in the first place.
She has a long established publishing deal with Sony Music Nashville, and has celebrated outside cuts on her catalog, as well as tracks featured in movie soundtracks under this arrangement.
Here’s the official video for “Better Man” recorded by Little Big Town written words and music by Taylor Swift
While it’s true that Swift might fly the coop when it’s time to resign with Scott Borchetta and company, Nashville tends to operate on longevity of relationships based on good ole country values summarized in the adage, “You dance with the one that brought you.”
That’s why we’re predicting that the Variety article is representative of the typical bolstering and fluffery that happens when any big negotiation is about to go down.
This hunch is compounded by the fact that nearly identical headlines can also be found with the same quotes in other magazines including Vanity Fair released this same week. That means someone sent a press release…
This one falls squarely into the “we shall see” category.
As for the other headline grabbing news, and perhaps in answer to the grand standing, BMLG made its own announcement in Variety this week with the headline: “Lady Antebellum Signs With Big Machine.”
Lady A has been a staple of Country Music since they emerged on to the scene, and have sold more than 18 million albums to date, along with winning a slew of awards including seven Grammys.
Just like other businesses, a source of a record label’s power is in its track record of success, and its ability to replicate that success into the future.
Lady Antebellum is about to begin the second leg of their impressive artistic journey with a powerhouse label accompanied by, “old friends… people who have been part of our story over the years.” The trio remains in the Universal Music Group family with their shift from Capital to BMLG under the same distribution of UMG.
We’ll keep our eye on these developments to see what happens.
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