"Nashville" is music to ears of country record label

Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:11pm EDT
 
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - New ABC television drama "Nashville" takes inspiration from the city's rich history of country music, yet the brightest star may not be the actors but rather a small record label with big ambitions.

"Nashville," seen by some nine million U.S. viewers on its Wednesday night debut, shows veteran country singer Rayna Jaymes (played by Connie Britton) face off against young starlet rival Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) as she struggles to keep her career together.

But another insight into the industry comes from the show's partnership with one of Nashville's independent success stories.

For Big Machine Records, which landed on the map seven years ago after signing a 15-year-old Taylor Swift as its first artist, "Nashville" presented a rare opportunity for the company to not only distribute the music from the TV series, but to also become part of the fabric of the plot.

The label, which also represents country music stars including Tim McGraw and Rascal Flatts, will exclusively release music sung by cast members in the show each week.

Big Machine Records artists such as rising star Justin Moore will also see some of their songs and performances featured throughout the series.

Scott Borchetta, 50, a former DreamWorks Records executive, who founded Big Machine Records in 2005, said Swift's success gave the label "extraordinary license" to expand into new opportunities.

"Because of the success of Taylor and the momentum of the label and bringing on Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, and also breaking artists like The Band Perry, we're really fortunate right now. There's not really anywhere that we can't at least get in the door and have a conversation," Borchetta told Reuters in an interview this week.   Continued...

 
Actresses Connie Britton (L) and Hayden Panettiere, two of the stars of the new drama series "Nashville", speak during a panel discussion at the Disney-ABC Television Group portion of the Television Critics Association Summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California in this July 27, 2012 file photograph. "Nashville" takes inspiration from the city's rich history of country music, yet the brightest star may not be the actors but rather a small record label with big ambitions. Picture taken July 27, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser/Files