I had such a positive response to "The Curious Case of Country Music," I decided to do a follow up. Then, the more research I did on the issues with country music made me realize it's going to require more than one follow up. Unless, of course, I wanted to write a ten thousand word blog. As much as I don't want to, I'm sure it's mutually agreed the readers wouldn't want to read it either.
There are so many ways to go when writing about the issues of country music, I need to focus on them one at a time. When I say issues, I mean problems. The first one needing addressed is Big Machine Record Label president Scott Borchetta.
It's important you remember that statement as I discuss why I feel Borchetta is not good for country music.
I honestly don't know where to start when it comes to Borchetta. Seeing him in action on American Idol made me question how in the world he was able to start a successful independent record label in 2005. Yes, he did have the backing of Toby Keith, who ironically left his affiliation with the label a year later. Keith still holds some ownership with the label and is said to be the reason why year after year he continues to be one of the top grossing country artists. More on Keith later.
We all know Borchetta's claim to fame is his discovery of Taylor Swift. Like I said in the previous blog, you don't discover an artist like Swift, she discovers you. If you want to get down to the dirty of it, Big Machine is only what it is today because of Swift.
One would think if Swift had designs on staying with Big Machine, Borchetta would have sold in a heartbeat. Whatever Swift decides to do in the future, people should really take notice. One of the most played artists in the world, she has the music industry in the palm of her hand, along with Borchetta.
Why should people take notice? People should take notice, because Taylor Swift is Taylor Swift because of Taylor Swift. Borchetta had little to do with her success. Her success came from the tons of hard work she, and her family put into her music career. Now, Borchetta is taking all the kudos in the world for his "discovery." Again, he did not discover her. He simply provided her with a platform.
This is what kind of person I feel Borchetta really is. For the life of me, I can't think of the name people generally call these individuals. For now I will call him a poacher. Swift seems loyal, so if Borchetta truly is responsible for her, she will stay. If not, then this verifies Borchetta just happened to be at the right place at the right time.
The biggest news in the music industry within the next couple of years will be what Swift decides to do. If she happens to leave Big Machine, I suspect Borchetta and his team will start the mudslinging immediately. Trust me, it will make good TV.
Like I said earlier, Borchetta started Big Machine in 2005. Before then, he was a struggling country/rock artist who eventually landed a job working in the mail room for his father. After a couple of different adventures within some major labels, Borchetta decided to start his own independent label with the backing of Toby Keith.
I would personally love to know why Keith ended his affiliation with Big Machine a year later to start his own label. Is it possible he knew the direction Big Machine was going and wanted no part of it? Keith seems to be the type of guy who holds traditional country values dear, and Big Machine is nowhere close to having those same traditional values. To be fair, Keith does still have his hand in the cookie jar at Big Machine. Would this make Keith the type of person who likes to talk out of both sides of his mouth? Again, all speculation as to why he ended his affiliation.
When you take a look at the musicians Borchetta has in his stable, you can't help but be impressed with some of the names. He has a few current hot artists, some up and comers, established veterans and some leaving me shaking my head.
Rumor has it Nelly is interested in going country. Let us not forget both of his collaborations with country artists are members of the Big Machine Team. This would be Florida Georgia Line and Tim McGraw. Both collaborations had major success, so one could see Borchetta pursuing this.
With some of his other up and comers, you have the sound of southern rock and pop continuously being noticed in their music. Is this the vision Borchetta has? Is it his vision to get rid of all genres and have music be one big entity? Or is Borchetta simply trying to stick it to the powers that be in country music? If this is the case, there has to be a better way of doing it.
Part of me wonders if this isn't really who Borchetta is. I have to go back to Swift, but can you imagine any other country artist who is with a country label switching to pop, while still signed to their label? Her pulling this off just goes to show the power she possesses. Maybe Borchetta is just one big act, trying to save face as Swift told him to stick it, because she wants to do what she wants. Now Borchetta is stuck playing games with country music.
Those who watched Idol this year saw or read about his issue with Clark Beckham. A moron could tell Borchetta was completely into Clark as the season started. As the season progressed, Clark refused to change and was caught in a power struggle with Borchetta. Clark eventually lost, because really he had no say. I'm sure the clip of Borchetta and Beckham discussing his direction in no way, shape or form happened with Swift. Could you imagine the conversation.
Swift: Hey Scott, I'm thinking my next album is going to be a pop album.
Borchetta: Okay, thanks Taylor.
I used to be one of those people who was sick of hearing about different genres. After some serious soul searching, I've decided we need those genres. We need those genres to separate the music that people hold near and dear. It's true, music is music, but sound and style are always different.
When I turn on the radio to a country station, I want to hear country. I don't want to hear pop country. I don't want to hear rap country. I don't want to hear R&B country. I want country, traditional country. When I'm in the mood for pop, I will turn to one of the mainstream channels. Same as all the other genres.
It's really up to you people, the fans of country music. Ask yourself if you're happy with the direction. Ask yourself if you would trust this guy handling the careers of your young son or daughter. My answer is no.
This article is my opinion and my opinion only. It does not represent the view of everyone here at itsallaboutthatmusic.com. These are my feeling about Scott Borchetta, and I am always open to someone who believes otherwise. My challenge is for Scott Borchetta, to sit down and have a one on one interview with me to change my mind and convince me he is not bad for country music.
Are you up for it Scott?