The days of Taylor Swift at Big Machine Records are over. The international pop star has signed a mega deal with Universal Music Group and Republic Records. Republic now has both Swift and Ariana Grande. That’s a checkmate.
Swift spent a decade with Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine, which used UMG for distribution. Borchetta made her a star. But Big Machine couldn’t afford to keep Swift, who among other things wanted all her master recordings back if she stayed. That demand couldn’t be met if Big Machine was to retain any value in a sale.
So UMG — which also boasts Lady Gaga and is the number 1 record label– has really cornered the market on contemporary female singers. (They also have Katy Perry on Capitol.)
Republic’s next move with Taylor Swift will be to find her a way back to her huge “1989” success. Her most recent album, “Reputation,” was less of a hit and showed that Swift needs new challenges. She also chose to appear on the American Music awards last month, which probably lessened her chances for Grammy Awards for “Reputation.”