Big Machine's Scott Borchetta Confident Remaining Radio Conglomerates Will Agree to Share Revenue

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Scott Borchetta

The country label head talked about the importance of partnerships with Clear Channel, Target and other companies ahead of the TJ Martell Foundation Gala in New York.

Country music label Big Machine struck a groundbreaking deal in 2012 with radio giant Clear Channel that allowed the label to share in the revenues from promoting its artists like Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw and Rascal Flatts across Clear Channel's stations and digital properties.

Since then, Big Machine has reached similar partnerships with other radio conglomerates Beasley Broadcasting, Greater Media and Entercom, leaving only Cumulus and CBS Radio as the only major station owners that have not agreed to a deal. 

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of Tuesday night's TJ Martell Foundation Gala in Manhattan, label president Scott Borchetta talked about the benefits of such partnerships and why he thinks CBS and Cumulus will come around.

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"It's a very timely moment in everything that's happening with performance rights. Because as you read with radio really going after the digital dashboard, now is the time to figure out how to get digital rates and physical rates and analog rates on the table and work out what we believe should be one, ubiquitous, revenue-based platform," Borchetta said. "Radio's going to find out really quickly that all these digital dashboard rates are going to be very expensive, very costly, so I believe the solution is having one broadcast, revenue-based agreement with the record companies and that's where Clear Channel and Beasley and Greater Media and Entercom have all understood what the future's going to look like. So, it's a forward move but adding [Warner Music Group] to the platform last month was a huge step in the right direction and it's just a matter of when not if it's gonna happen."

As for CBS and Cumulus, Borchetta seemed optimistic that they would see his vision of the future.

"At a certain point, everybody's going to have to understand this is a great opportunity," he said. "And it surprises me, honestly, that we will run toward streaming services that pay fractions of pennies and not work with our best partner at radio and continue to grow that brand that is so valuable for everyone."

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Big Machine has also often worked with Target, setting sales records for Swift's Speak Now and Red, and Borchetta, who was on hand to present Target's Anne Stanchfield with the Spirit of Excellence Award, praised their partnership with the retailer.

"They're a great physical retailer and they really understand media and they still enjoy providing the experience of buying music in a physical, retail setting, so we don't have a better partner," Borchetta said.

The gala raised more than $1.4 million for the TJ Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research. Other honorees included Carrie Underwood, Clear Channel President John Sykes, Steiner Sports CEO Brandon Steiner and Citi senior vice president of marketing Jennifer Breithaupt.

Former president Bill Clinton and Sony Music CEO Doug Morris honored Sykes and Underwood while NBA Hall of Famer Bernard King presented Steiner with his award. The evening also included a performance by Sting and Bryan Adams.