Scott Borchetta Defends Promoting Aaron Lewis’ Right-Wing Country Hit

Scott Borchetta, Large machine label groupfounder, chairman and chief executive officer, defended the company promoting a free-spirited song by Aaron Lewis, “Am I the only one,” is about Bruce Springsteen and advocates keeping Confederate statues.

Borchetta’s words in praise of the song came in a letter to industry blogger Bob Lefsetz, who wrote the song that brought down the divisive Lewis song, now a celebrity conservative. Singer of the hard-rock band Staind In recent years, has devoted more and more of his career to being a solo country artist, openly espousing polarizing political views in his songs in the process.

“It’s HEINOUS!” Lefsetz wrote about “Am I Unique” on his blog, which is read by many of the music industry rockers and lovers. “This middle-class right-wing wanker recorded a song that should have been played at CPAC, in the midst of nitwits speeches like saying ‘Fauci ouchie.’

Borchetta replied in a letter that Lefsetz republished, “First, I believe in the First Amendment. My job has never been to tell my artists what to sing and write about.”

Borchetta wrote: “Aaron Lewis and I had political disagreements. But there are also things we agree on. I think that’s the basis for our idea of ​​the country. It doesn’t work if we’re so divided that we can’t reach across the aisle, chat or argue, and, finally, shake hands. If we can’t do that, and the moment is so divisive, we may never get our country back.”

“Am I the Only One” became the #1 country song on the Billboard charts after it was released just before July 4 and was heavily promoted on Fox News, Breitbart, and other conservative outlets. . It hit that #1 mostly based on paid downloads after all the TV shows came in contact with each other. Big Machine has yet to promote the song on country radio, but starting July 26 its sub-label Valory will begin adding in this format – where it faces a future. uncertain, with political lyrics that would protest at least one segment of the Audience.

Despite the song’s generally belligerent tone, the lyrics of “I’m the Only One” are often vague about what upset Lewis about progress, though he specifically stated in some cases. Lewis sings about ‘red and white / And blue, red’ on the ground / Another statue is falling on a town near you”, suggesting that his main concern is the flag burning incident – this hasn’t been in the news lately – and something has happened, the removal of Confederate statues in memory of the leaders in the war of secession from the United States. slavery prompts “Am I the only one who can’t quit/Scream ‘If you don’t like it, It’s the damn door,'” Lewis sings in the non-radio edit. expressed a willingness to “take a bullet to be free,” and confront the Boss with this bridge: “Am I the only one who quit singing along / Every time they play a Springsteen song?” (Lewis no state what his problem with Springsteen is.)

Referring to the BMLG subsidiary that is releasing and promoting the single, Lefsetz continued, “Why would Valory release such crap. Come on Scott Borchetta, David Geffen dropped Geto Boys for their silly lyrics and now you’re marketing this crap? The blogger then talked about how Geffen was seen as a role model by his colleagues and successors, suggesting that Big Machine is making the wrong move if he wants to earn the same respect. Come on Scott, get your head out of the back of the car. How much money are you going to make here anyway, and it’s all about the money at this point, right? … Lewis is calling (Trump voter), with Borchetta’s help. Without it, Lewis’ track would have died in the water.”

Borchetta’s Response: “Just ‘canceling’ (removing) Aaron is absurd and I’m disappointed you would even suggest such a thing. Comparing Aaron Lewis to the Ghetto Boys? That’s reach and a half. You don’t have to agree or admit it, but Aaron’s message is speaking to millions. Let it be a wake-up call to Representatives and Employees alike – raise your voice and be heard! It wakes you up. It inspires you to make a statement. It worked. And it is working. It was an inspiring conversation.”

Some observers have wondered if Valory really wanted to promote the song on radio, as the format has been shown to have no interest in playing divisive songs, even between radio groups have conservative owners. The company may have been forced after the song hit number one on Billboard without any radio play. Still, Borchetta’s defense of the single is surprisingly strong.

In a follow-up email to his subscribers, Lefsetz reprinted a series of letters from music industry readers, most – though not all – of which refuted the objection. Borchetta’s response and support Lefsetz’s original article. Some of the problems with Borchetta imply that the First Amendment is tied to his actions as a business leader.

Borchetta indicated in her letter to Lefsetz that Big Machine is also home to progressive-minded artist Sheryl Crow and has released her Kamala Harris support song “Woman in the White House”.

In response to that, Rick Sorkin, co-founder and partner of Remarkable Digital Group in LA, wrote: “He should keep the name Sheryl Crow out of his mouth.” Sorkin also wrote, “What an asshole… Ask him how he feels about the “people should be loud” statement after the Republican Party’s next homegrown terrorist attack (or after it). ) based on misinformation and misinformation, and see if he changes his tune. Pervert warning: he won’t, because he’s not really in favor of anything other than making money. “

But Dawn Soler, music SVP at ABC Television, has written in support of the fact that Big Machine can provide a basis for Lewis’ views. “From a very blue-skinned girl,” she wrote, “with the exception of the statue and knowing Aaron’s political beliefs, the song could have been sung by any American. Across the country, red and blue, we’ve all felt most of his lyrics over the years. When an artist is able to arouse patriotism and ideology on both sides, that is beauty and must always have a voice. I applaud and more than appreciate the executives who made those calls, even if it went against their personal beliefs… We can find common ground, working together. with the intention of creating a multicultural society that includes, teaches and rewards all beliefs without judging or destroying anyone. “

Disagreeing with that is Jarred Arfa, COO of Artist Group International. Arfa wrote: “What a funny guy (Borchetta’s reaction). “Aaron’s message is speaking to millions of people – lol. Most, as you rightly pointed out, have no idea who Aaron Lewis is or who cares. And what inspired the conversation? You could say the same thing about Tucker Carlson. Not a good thing. Thank God someone like Olivia Rodrigo has more influence in helping campaign for a vaccine. Maybe Aaron can continue the bad tour and play to all the hospitals of the unvaccinated with the ventilators.”

Borchetta and Lefsetz have had a cryptically, openly hostile relationship for years, which may explain the music mogul’s opening line, “You and I didn’t have a good time.. so, let’s go.”

Borchetta was responsible for making the blogger an influential Swift supporter early in her career. Lefsetz then opened up about her after her performance at the 2019 Grammys, writing: “Did Taylor Swift kill her career overnight? I would argue that she did… In one fall, Taylor Swift deposited herself in the trash can of teen icons. … It’s hard to be a singer if you can’t sing. “

Of course, this famously inspired a hit on Swift’s next album, “Mean”. So there’s one thing Lefsetz and Borchetta have in common: Swift writes ramblings about both of them. But before the singer and the head of her studio became estranged, he occasionally wrote to Lefsetz in her defense as the blogger went on to criticize her almost every move in the film. for the past 11 years.

Borchetta uses other parts of his latest work to address Lefsetz about the latter’s view that streaming is the only real measure of contemporary success – and his dismissal of business. Lewis’ strong number of downloads and was suddenly deemed irrelevant. In response to Lefsetz’s enthusiastic praise of Morgan Wallen as a much greater and more relevant artist than Lewis, Borchetta writes, “You’re just preparing for failure and you don’t represent the whole sentence. story or picture. Ironically and culturally, Aaron Lewis and Morgan Wallen have more in common than either of them have with you. You are speaking out on both sides. But that’s why we read you. You inspire conversation. For that, I thank you.”

https://variety.com/2021/music/news/scott-borchetta-aaron-lewis-defends-am-i-the-only-one-big-machine-1235022291/

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