When Nashville record executive Scott Borchetta decided in 2005 to strike out on his own, few probably imagined that his fledgling Big Machine Records--with the help of a skinny, 15-year-old Pennsylvania native named Taylor Swift (see No. 78)--would go on to create the biggest new-label success story of its time. Led by the massive, runaway popularity of Swift-who has racked up total U.S. album sales of 17.3 million units and digital track sales of 42.4 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan-Big Machine Label Group has built up a formidable roster that includes Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Jewel, Martina McBride and Eli Young Band, as well as new stars like the Band Perry, Justin Moore and Brantley Gilbert. Borchetta has capitalized on Big Machine's breakout success to build important partnerships. McBride, the Band Perry and Eli Young Band are all signed to Republic Nashville, a joint-venture label that Big Machine formed with Universal Republic in 2009. The following year, Borchetta partnered with Live Nation Entertainment chairman/Front Line Management Group chairman/CEO Irving Azoff (No. 1) and Front Line artist manager Virginia Davis to form B.A.D. Management. Today, Borchetta is one of Music City's top power players. "He likes to win," Republic Nashville president Jimmy Harnen told Billboard last year. "It takes courage to say it-and then deliver it. And he does both."
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