News: Reba McEntire signs with Valory Music

Wow.

Country superstar Reba McEntire has ended her 25-year association with MCA Nashville and signed with the Valory Music Co. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The move reunites 2007 Billboard Woman of the Year McEntire with Scott Borchetta, now president & CEO of Big Machine Records and the Valory Music Co. Borchetta was senior VP of promotion at MCA Nashville during most of the ’90s.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Valory team,” McEntire says. “Scott and I worked together on some of the biggest singles of my career, and I am excited to renew our partnership.”

“It is as if a day hasn’t even passed,” Borchetta adds. “The toughest thing about leaving MCA Nashville again was leaving behind this relationship that I value so much.”

The announcement comes roughly a year after the launch of Valory. The label is home to Jewel, Emerson Drive and Jimmy Wayne, among others. Sister label Big Machine is home to Taylor Swift, Trisha Yearwood and Jack Ingram, among others. Both labels are distributed by Universal Music Distribution.

McEntire’s debut single on Valory will ship to country radio in early spring 2009, with her new studio album to follow later that summer. The artist crowned her MCA tenure with a three-disc boxed set, “50 Greatest Hits,” released late last month.

Perhaps what’s most surprising about this is that Reba’s coming off of her most successful album in years, the all-genre #1 Reba Duets.   This isn’t quite on the scale of Madonna’s Live Nation deal, which also encompassed touring revenues, or Garth Brooks’ ‘take the masters with you’ approach, or even the start-your-own-label path of Toby Keith.  But it’s certainly huge news that one of the biggest country stars of all-time is choosing to leave her label home of 25 years, all while still at the top of her game.

And what to say of MCA, the label that was once king of kings on Music Row?  Trisha Yearwood already left, and now Reba McEntire has followed her out the door.   Will George Strait and Vince Gill be far behind?  Can Universal’s majors get by on Sugarland alone?   What if Shania Twain crunches the numbers and realizes the label group needs her far more than she needs them, especially given their spotty record at getting her on the radio?

Perhaps the entire Music Row structure truly is the Titanic, and Sony BMG has all the first-class seats.

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11 Comments

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11 Responses to News: Reba McEntire signs with Valory Music

  1. It will be interesting to see if McEntire falls in line with other veteran artists– Dwight Yoakam, Kathy Mattea, Trisha Yearwood, and countless others– who have gone on to make some of the most artistically rich music of their careers after leaving the major labels on Music Row. Particularly after the middling quality of her last few records, McEntire is perhaps overdue for a renaissance of sorts.

    It will also be interesting to see if this renewed partnership with Scott Borchetta works out better for McEntire than it has for Yearwood, whose debut album for his Big Machine label is arguably the finest of her career but which has received a fraction of the promotion that the label has bestowed on Taylor Swift.

  2. Reba’s simply tranisitioned from the old ‘best label’ to the latest ‘best label’ in town though Sony Nashville isn’t too far from ‘best label’ in terms of success. I think being with Scott Borchetta will be a great thing for Reba. I imagine she’ll continue to work with Tony Brown and that the music will be virtually the same. Also, Trisha wasn’t making a record to sell millions of records or to tour behind so I’m very confident she’s content with the success it has received.

  3. Kevin J. CoyneNo Gravatar

    I thought great things were on the way from Reba when she went into the studio with Alison Krauss, but that only resulted in a gorgeous cover of “Sweet Music Man.” A Reba roots album would be can’t-miss, but I can’t imagine her following through with one.

  4. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I love that version of “Sweet Music Man”, gorgeous indeed. If Reba’s new album is half as good as Trisha’s, I’ll be happy.

  5. Blake BoldtNo Gravatar

    This move isn’t a shock to me. Reba can continue to work with Tony Brown and she’ll be reunited with good friend Borchetta. I’m looking forward to seeing how radio responds to her new material. She’s been inconsistent in this decade, creatively and commercially, but I believe she transcends radio boundaries. While she’ll never reach the heights of the ’80s and ’90s, she could still have a few hits in her future.

  6. J.R. JourneyNo Gravatar

    I think is a definite plus for Reba fans. And I think she has several more radio hits in her future, especially with a promotion whiz like Borchetta the helm. He as the man behind her most recent #1, ‘Somebody’ and has been instumental in the biggest radio successes of her career. I am more than optimistic about this pairing …

  7. J.R. JourneyNo Gravatar

    filthy typos … we really need a preview button before we post here …

    *I think it is a definite plus …
    *… with a promotion whiz like Borchetta at the helm.
    *He was the man behind …

  8. Tony CNo Gravatar

    I’m with this. Borchetta will make her a label priority for sure and hopefully radio will respond accordingly. I could see her re-writing the books on how successful 50+ female artists are allowed to be in country music.

  9. SheldonNo Gravatar

    Miss Reba is going to need more than a marketing whiz like Borchetta to get her another number 1…she’s going to need some heavy duty cash – When “Somebody” hit #1, The Nashville Tennessean had a front page story on MCA buying up all sorts of radio spots to push the single to number one…thats why it surged past “Live Like You Are Dying”, hit number one, and when the MCA money dried up, so did “Somebody”‘s chart run.

  10. LynnNo Gravatar

    It has been interesting to watch Reba’s career moves of late. Recording a duets album, going on tour with Kelly Clarkson, and now this change. I’m not quite sure if she’s moving in a direction that enables her to make artistically rich music, or simply making moves in an attempt to stay relevant in the mainstream. I’m tempted to think the latter, while hoping for the former.

  11. J.R. JourneyNo Gravatar

    Lynn said “I’m tempted to think the latter, while hoping for the former.”

    Aren’t we all?