The Hodgepodge: The Band Perry Has Officially Split from Big Machine Label Group

After a couple of weeks of speculation, The Band Perry and Big Machine Label Group have officially parted ways, as announced on Tuesday March 1st. All this is in light of a failed rebranding process for the band, trying to become a pop anthem powerhouse. After balancing pop and country throughout their first two albums, including some great country songs in “If I Die Young” and the Glen Campbell cover “Gentle on My Mind,” The Band Perry released “Live Forever” as the jump-start for their pop move. “Live Forever” charted poorly, barely scratching the surface of the top 30 before stalling and dropping out.

Reactions to “Live Forever” were mostly negative, and the band’s upcoming album Heart + Beat was delayed, apparently to schedule a collaboration with Nikki Minaj, though that was only a rumor. The band then revealed another song from their new pop arsenal, the hilariously pop/hip-hop anthem “Put Me In The Game Coach.” That song sounded like a forgotten song from Disney’s High School Musical. Saving Country Music dutifully documented the head scratching saga of The Band Perry’s failed move into pop. As the band’s videos disappeared from the internet for 24 hours, then reappeared, many began to wonder if The Band Perry and BMLG were done with one another. And now we know they are.

The group’s turn to pop was doomed to fail from the get-go. It seems either they didn’t know what made good pop music, or the producers didn’t know what to do with them. Either way, the idea of turning from country to pop with a feel-good motivational anthem was the wrong choice. Grady Smith said it best back in December:

Aside from the fact that the songs were terrible, there’s a few of reasons why this turn to pop with the help of a major label has failed. The first could simply be that The Band Perry just isn’t an attractive pop sell. The reason why Taylor Swift’s move to pop has worked is because Taylor Swift developed a fan base who will buy anything she records, even 8 seconds of white noise. Taylor Swift fans idolize Taylor Swift because she’s more than just a singer and songwriter. She was a pillar of strength and comfort for young, teenage girls struggling through high school, and as that initial fan base has grown, so has Taylor’s music. The Band Perry doesn’t have any kind of core fan base, nor are they anything more than just a singing group to those fans.

Secondly, The Band Perry tried too much too soon. The group was just coming off a Grammy award for their recording of the folk country “Gentle on My Mind.” From a business standpoint, how do you not try to capitalize off that? And I’m not saying that every song they recorded needed to sound like “If I Die Young” or be a folky style of country. However, if you want to move to pop and have never really had a true pop song, wouldn’t it make more sense to test the waters with a pop song as an album cut/future single?

As opposed to having “Live Forever” has the lead off single for the third album, maybe they should have had something along the pop-country lines of Kelsea Ballerini as a lead off single, then drop “Live Forever” as a second single after the album is released to first gauge reactions to the song. I understand that releasing the song ahead of the album does gauge reactions and help the label predict the album’s success, just as they did. But if you went with my devil’s advocate scenario, I would think it would make the transition easier, and it would almost guarantee an album release by having a radio pleasing pop country single to rally behind before moving into 100% pop territory. That’s exactly what the Zac Brown Band did with “Homegrown” before eventually sending “Beautiful Drug” to radio.

We don’t know who spearheaded this whole move. Did The Band Perry want to be a pop group selling out arenas with generic anthems, or did the decision makers at Big Machine Label Group want another crossover artist under their belt? From what we know about how these major labels work, I think it’s more likely than not that the latter was the case, and the group was contractually obligated to play along. That’s just a theory and I could be 100% wrong.

Regardless of who was the driving force behind the move, the fact is that the move didn’t work. It was poorly planned, poorly executed, and a majority of people didn’t latch onto the idea. What’s next for The Band Perry is anyone’s guess. The group members remain in high hopes for their future. A release from the label’s chains should allow for them to make the music they want to make. Hopefully that music is the more country stylings the band has brought us over two albums. If that music is the pop direction they were headed, then at least The Band Perry should be able to release that music to their fans who want to hear it. For right now though, the soap opera of The Band Perry has appeared to reach its conclusion while we wait to see what the future holds for this country trio.

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • Loretta Lynn will release a new album called Full Circle tomorrow.
  • Texas Country singer turned mainstream Granger Smith will release his newest album Remington tomorrow.
  • Chris King’s Animal was pushed back to a release date on March 11.
  • Randy Houser’s newest album, Fired Up, will be released on March 11 as well.
  • On March 18, the Dave Cobb produced Southern Family will be released.
  • Jake Owen’s newest single will be called “American Country Love Song.”
  • Wade Bowen has announced a new album called Then Sings My Soul. The album will be available for pre order starting tomorrow and released on March 18th.
  • Kelsea Ballerini’s newest single will be “Peter Pan.”

Throwback Thursday Song

“Colder Weather” by Zac Brown Band – This 2011 single from Zac Brown Band is easily my favorite song from the group. I would even make the argument that “Colder Weather” is one of the best mainstream singles from the past decade. And if you haven’t heard it, the song’s cowriter, Levi Lowrey, performs the song with a third verse that didn’t make it into the Zac Brown Band recording.

Non-Country Suggestion of the Week

“Waves” by Miguel feat. Kacey Musgraves – “Waves” is a song off Miguel’s third album, Wildheart. Miguel released a 5 song EP with various remixes of his original song, including this one where Kacey Musgraves provides vocals. I like this remix, and Kacey sounds great singing R&B.

Tweet of the Week

Am I allowed to write in candidates when I vote in November? A Willie Nelson presidency would seem to bring promises of better country music!

Two Maren Morris iTunes Reviews

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 7.16.00 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 7.15.23 PM

I don’t get the critique of the first one. Hippie? That’s your only complaint? That’s a stupid reason to hate an EP. The second review though is one I agree with. Maren Morris has a unique vibe to her music that I’m on board with.

11 thoughts on “The Hodgepodge: The Band Perry Has Officially Split from Big Machine Label Group

  1. Josh Schott March 3, 2016 / 11:55 am

    Great stuff, Derek! As for the Band Perry, this will be the million dollar question as you mention:

    We don’t know who spearheaded this whole move. Did The Band Perry want to be a pop group selling out arenas with generic anthems, or did the decision makers at Big Machine Label Group want another crossover artist under their belt?

    We’ll know the answer if the Band Perry goes ahead with releasing Heart+Beat or not. If they go ahead with it, we know it’s on the band and in that case Borchetta looks pretty smart wiping his hands clean of them. If they ditch that album and instead release something along the lines of “If I Die Young,” The Band Perry will look pretty smart and make BMLG look pretty foolish. And the band’s next release is pretty critical. If they release another dud, they will go the way of Jerrod Niemann and we won’t hear from them again. It would be a shame too because I don’t think we’ve heard their best work yet. And if Heart+Beat gets released it will be the album to beat for worst of the year I guarantee.

    Glad you gave some love to the Kacey Musgraves remix of Miguel’s “waves.” That whole EP is a pretty cool listen, as I applaud Miguel for doing cross genre collaborations right. I wouldn’t mind Miguel and Kacey teaming up again in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Derek Hudgin March 3, 2016 / 12:20 pm

      Yes, their next release will definitely redefine how the band is received post-BMLG.

      And I really do like EP as well. I’d buy into Kacey Musgraves doing a whole R&B EP if she wanted to experiment with music. She sounds natural in “waves.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Frank the Tank March 6, 2016 / 7:10 pm

      I’m really liking that “Waves” song as well! Thanks for posting this as I likely wouldn’t have found it otherwise.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Joel Beaver March 3, 2016 / 12:43 pm

    I know that Wikipedia is not reliable at all. However, according to TBP’s page they will be announcing the “Live Forever Tour” with openers Jana Kramer and Scotty McCreary. This leads me to believe that their sudden turn to pop was of their doing. I think Kimberly is very talented. I would hate to see them go away forever. I think BMLG was foolish to part ways with them after one failed single.

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  3. Joel Beaver March 3, 2016 / 12:46 pm

    Also, Waves is killer. Maybe Kacey could have more radio success / single performance success if she dabbled into other genres. I’d buy anything she did. She has so much talent.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Raymond March 3, 2016 / 1:02 pm

    I imagine that since it’s listed on iTunes “Live Forever” now owning to The Band Perry and not Big Machine, the pop music idea was their idea. It’s a shame because they had a lot of potential on their debut album and I am personally amazed that these guys fell faster in relevance than Lady Antebellum. Like I am more of a fan of Lady Antebellum probably more than I should be, but I never expected The Band Perry to slip so fast. At least Lady A is on hiatus so when they said they’ll come back at the end of next year they wil probably be able to regain their momentum. Anyway back to The Band Perry, such a shame that someone falls that fast.

    Loretta Lynns album is something I’m definitely curious to hear. Randy Houser’s album is apparently getting some decent buzz as a decent album so far based, on the iTunes songs so far released. Jake Owen new song is up on AllAccess and it’s decent, it has a better production than “Real Life” and decently catchy, some spoken word but not quite as bad, so basically mediocre. Also I did take a listen to Kelsea Ballerini new song to remind myself of how it sounds, and wow it sounds great! The Peter Pan metaphor works very well, Kelsea Ballerini truly lets her voice shine and it sounds like something out of the late 2000s Pop-Country, like something in the hands of what Taylor Swift might do on her debut album, like it reminded me of “Tim McGraw” or “Teardrops On My Guitar” but just sounding a little more modern. I’m curious to know what your guys thoughts are on “Peter Pan”, I’m assuming they are largely unchanged and that the song is decent or meh.

    Fabulous Zac Brown Band song, although I would say their favorite song they have ever released is “Highway 20 Ride”, but both rank among some of the best mainstream country music songs released in the last 10 years.

    I love Maren Morris music so much, you know what’s amazing is that I don’t think “My Church”, is the best song on the EP, that honor for me would go to “I Wish I Was”, where Maren really pushes herself vocally and shows a very strong singing voice.

    Good Hodgepodge this week Derek.

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  5. southtexaspistolero March 3, 2016 / 3:04 pm

    As I have put it elsewhere, I would be more bummed about The Band Perry’s crashing and burning with their new music had Kimberly Perry not been so damn happy about not having to sound like a country band.

    “I feel like for the first time ever, it seems like country has no creative glass ceiling. And that’s a great thing for country music.”

    I remember reading that at cmt.com and was like, uhh, okay Kim. We all know what that really means.

    “I hear down there, it’s changed, you see, well they’re not as backward as they used to be.”

    Are y’all going to review the Granger Smith album? I am curious to see if the rest of it is as bad as “Backroad Song.”

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    • Josh Schott March 3, 2016 / 5:10 pm

      Love the quote of Alan Jackson’s “Gone Country.” Everyone loves to point at “Murder on Music Row,” which is excellent, but “Gone Country” is just as great and deserves more attention. Probably because it’s one of the more subtle protest songs you’ll hear, but once you listen closely it’s clear as day and pretty scathing towards outsiders thinking they can “go country” and sell millions of records at the drop of a hat.

      Definitely reviewing that one. I have the same morbid curiosity towards it. I’m expecting it to be as bad as “Backroad Song.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • southtexaspistolero March 3, 2016 / 8:06 pm

        Yeah, I always did think that song was pretty brilliant, even if I did prefer the blunt approach of “Murder On Music Row” at the time. I think I preferred MOMR because there was no way for it to be spun but for exactly what it was, whereas I saw “Gone Country” touted as a celebration of what was going on in the ’90s with everybody and their dog going to Nashville in search of a hit.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. OlaR March 4, 2016 / 1:35 pm

    Bye-bye TBP. I don’t see a future in Country Music. Next stop might be a smaller label outside of Nashville. But who will touch TBP after the “Live Forever” fiasco!?

    A new Blake Shelton single will be released next week: “Came Here To Forget”.

    Forgotten Artists: Remember Jessica Andrews? A new album was released a couple of weeks ago: “Ain’t That Life”. Her husband Marcel (“Country Rock Star”) released a new album too. It’s called “Believin'”.

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  7. Bill Rich March 6, 2016 / 1:40 pm

    TBP definitely was all 110% onboard with this pop transformation. It also had to be a mutual decision by BM. They are the ones that make it happen by investing the Big $$$. Imo this was a market test for Lady Gaga’s possible foray into “Country” music. She has hinted about it. Just like JT and Tyler hinted. But looking at TBP’s past interviews tells it all. Kimberly said, “I’m gaga for Gaga… We would love to be her guinea pig.” And this album was just that. They used her guys to produce and co-wrote a lot if it, and the weird video that went with Forever was Gaga-esque. Gaga tweeted her support and urged her fans to buy it. This thing had a lot riding on it, and didnt happen overnight. Well it didn’t wash with Country fans, who I think are an afterthought with a lot of pop country stars now. They want that pop demo. So CS’ song applies to BP here, Nobody to Blame but… them. My belief is they might go full pop and end up signing with a Gaga label, Interscope Records. IF Gaga will still support them. We’ll see.

    Liked by 1 person

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