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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Why would a record label build a TV empire? Scott Borchetta knows.


Written by Karen Bliss — Toronto-based multi-media company Bell Media has struck a partnership with Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Label Group (BMLG) to develop a new worldwide television talent search “to uncover, develop, and promote pop culture’s next musical superstars,” according to the press release issued today by Bell.

“The centerpiece of the alliance is a unique television format that will leverage Bell Media’s massive reach and extensive platforms to showcase musicians on the national and international stage,” the statement reads. “Bell Media and BMLG plan to advance the format beyond Canada to ultimately become a conduit for discovering new musical voices worldwide.”

Bell Media owns 30 local television stations, 30 specialty channels and four pay TV services. It also claims to be Canada's largest radio broadcaster, with 215 music channels including 105 licensed radio stations in 54 markets across the country, all part of the iHeartRadio’s streaming service. The group operates Astral Out of Home with a network of more than 30,000 advertising faces in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, and Nova Scotia, and operates more than 200 websites.

“Bell Media has a track record of success in live music production, extensive platforms, and leading promotion of homegrown talent in many areas,” said Borchetta, the founder, president and CEO of BMLG, in a statement. “Together, our strengths make us strong partners to lift this global project off the ground.”

Borchetta, who met Taylor Swift when she was just 14 and made the singer-songwriter his first signing to Big Machine, has been named to Billboard’s Power 100 list for his business savvy and global accomplishments. Besides Swift, BMLG’s roster also includes Florida Georgia Line, Steven Tyler, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, and Thomas Rhett, amassing sales of some 50 million albums and achieving 165 No. 1 country and pop radio singles.

Bell Media’s president, broadcasting and content, Randy Lennox has known Borchetta since “Big Machine's early days” when he was president and CEO of Universal Music Canada. He was lured to Bell in August 2015.

“Bell Media builds upon its commitment to artist development with this new initiative, and with whom better to align than the best in the business, Scott Borchetta,” Lennox said in a statement.

Borchetta also appeared on the final two seasons of American Idol to help guide the contestants. Big Machine releases the soundtrack and cast albums for the TV show Nashville and Borchetta recently announced BigMachineTV.com, a video platform launching this month focused on BMLG artists.

No details are currently available about the show, including the name or discovery and judging process.

"Having studied previous formats’ success, we're excited about introducing our approach this spring,” Lennox tells Billboard.

The press release states that the “multifaceted entertainment initiative between Bell Media and BMLG will discover and cultivate musical talent through new television, radio, recording, and live concert projects.”

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