Chris Stacey, former senior VP of promotion for Warner Nashville, set up shop at his new office down the street on Music Row last Friday — as head of the revamped Dot Records, inside Big Machine’s global headquarters. As the first executive to sit in the office previously occupied by Big Machine Label Group president-CEO Scott Borchetta, Stacey knew he had a lot to live up to.
“I’m hoping some of that mojo that brought us Taylor Swift and all these other superstars with plaques on the wall rubs off on the Dot imprint,” Stacey told Billboard Monday, his second official day on the job.
Dot Records officially opens for business this week in partnership with Big Machine and Republic Nashville, some 37 years after its first incarnation as a gospel, doo-wop, country and vocal pop label in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s that was home to everyone from Pat Boone to Lawrence Welk to the Surfaris. Though no official artist signings are in place, Stacey says Dot 2.0 will reflect the diversity of its legacy.
“Our artists are going to lead us down the path to whatever might fit,” Stacey says. “Country music is certainly going to be the center lane of our musical highway, but if you look at the format and the sound of the radio today, there’s so many boundaries being pushed. The great thing about our partnership with Universal Music Group and Monte and Avery Lipman is we’re an independent label based in Nashville, but with multi-format capabilities.”
Borchetta notes that Nashville as a city has become home to major rock acts like Jack White, Kings of Leon and the Black Keys. “It’s time that the city get the respect that it deserves as a world music center. It’s one of the few places in the world that you can go and have a chance at having a career in music, so it’s a fantastic time to start a new label today.”
Stacey expects to have Dot’s first signing locked in soon, and says several acts are already in progress. “The short version is we’re on the quest to find the best music and the best people,” he says. “As soon as we have both of those things in place, we’ll start pulling the trigger and jump into the marketplace.”
Dot is the third imprint — technically the fourth, counting Big Machine itself — launched under Big Machine Label Group, following Valory (Brantley Gilbert, Justin Moore, Reba McEntire) and Republic Nashville (Florida Georgia Line, The Band Perry, Eli Young Band). BMLG has sold a collective 36 million albums in the U.S. since launching in 2005, and played a big part in distributor Republic’s industry-leading market share in 2013 in current album plus track-equivalent album sales (9.9% share, with 20.9 million units).