The bidding for Big Machine Label Group — home to Taylor Swift‘s catalog — has climbed north of $300 million and Universal Music Group is the only major record company left in the race, sources tell Billboard.
Macquarie Capital is also among the remaining suitors, sources say. Reps for Big Machine and UMG declined to comment, while Macquarie didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Big Machine, the Nashville-based label that Scott Borchetta founded in 2005, issued Swift’s self-titled debut in 2006 and has since ballooned with artists including Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett. But Swift’s most recent album, Reputation, released in November 2017, was her last under her current contract with Big Machine, making her a free agent come November.
Big Machine has been trying re-sign Swift for months, sources say, other labels have been in talks to try to sign her as well. Core to Swift’s discussions with Big Machine has been the idea of her gaining ownership of her masters from the label, which a major record company would be unlikely to grant.
The current price tag for Big Machine, between $300 million and $350 million, would include Swift’s masters, sources say; a new recording deal with Swift would require a separate deal.
Borchetta has been floating the idea of selling his company since at least three years ago, when Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel was in talks to buy it, sources tell Billboard — at that time it had an estimated value of between $200 million and $250 million, sources tell Billboard. If Borchetta gave Swift back her masters in order to keep her, the value of his company would plummet.
Swift has driven a huge chunk of BMLG’s revenue. As of August, her sales and streaming account for 34.6 percent of BMLG’s market share for the year.