WHAT: Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald’s Prescription Songs, based in Los Angeles, and Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Music in Nashville struck a joint-venture publishing deal in mid-April to connect songwriters from both teams with each other. Their first signing is RaeLynn, a country singer working on her debut for Big Machine, who will be working with writers from the two teams. These are two heavyweights aligning here. Prescription Songs was just named independent publisher of the year at ASCAP’s Pop Awards, and last year, Dr. Luke was Billboard’s No. 1 Hot 100 songwriter and producer of the year. Big Machine Label Group, home to Taylor Swift, Republic Nashville and Valory Music, expanded 10 months ago with the launch of a music publishing operation. Dr. Luke, whose songwriting success began with “Since U Been Gone” for Kelly Clarkson, is working with Katy Perry, a Prescription Songs writer, on her follow-up to the smash “Teenage Dream.”
WHY: Both Dr. Luke and Borchetta see this as a chance to enhance the amount of artist development they do with writers. “We’re both interested in expanding our companies and we love developing writers,” Dr. Luke says. Borchetta adds: “It’s about identifying young talent and providing the arena for those artists to do their best work.” Creating a direct link between Nashville and Los Angeles allows their two rosters to work outside of the genres with which they’re most associated: country and beat-heavy pop.
WHO: Big Machine Music VP Mike Molinar and Prescription Songs GM Beka Tischker will oversee day-to-day management of the songwriters and artists. Big Machine has about 10 songwriters including Justin Moore, Dustin Lynch, Greg Bates and Raul Malo, and the Prescription roster, led by Perry, Ke$ha, Bonnie McKee and Benny Blanco, is nearly 40-strong. “Together, we can offer an opportunity that we couldn’t apart,” Dr. Luke says. “It’s an opportunity I don’t think anyone else could offer.”
IF: Looking at the increase in collaborations among country, pop and hip-hop artists puts Prescription Songs and Big Machine in the driver’s seat for future projects that resemble current hits like Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” featuring Nelly. In addition, it provides Big Machine artists with access to the sorts of songs Swift is having hits with for Big Machine; two of her singles with Max Martin and Shellback are in the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. As more acts emerge from Nashville who see a future outside or beyond the country genre, the agreement opens the door for opportunities to work with specialists from the other side of the spectrum. “You’re seeing a lot more experimentation already,” Dr. Luke says. “I know a lot of writers who really enjoy going to Nashville, but maybe they’re not writing with the right people. Now they will.”