Nick Fradiani and His Label Go Separate Ways

It’s the real reality of reality singing shows for Idol’s penultimate winner Nick Fradiani who has parted ways with his (and Idol’s) label Big Machine Records. Rather than the usual “mutual” parting – a music business alternative fact – both parties have described the break-up as amicable and necessary.

This is a very different situation than what happens to winners of The Voice aka The Game Show With Singing who frequently get dropped by the show’s label Republic Records before they even release an album. As opposed to Republic, Big Machine’s head Scott Borchetta was an active presence on Idol: mentoring, shaping, critiquing and generally preparing the Idolists for the real competition that happens after the show against people like Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Keith Urban, Adele and Big Machine’s own Taylor Swift.

Furthermore, Nick did release an album Hurricane in August 2016. Unfortunately, Hurricane sold a mere 5,000 copies which clearly endangered his future prospects with Big Machine. Nick’s release suffered from two problems. First, he just wasn’t that good which I mused about quite frequently[1]. Rather than requote myself, here’s a review from Newsday:

The problem is what happens after the show is over. Like several winners from “Idol” and “The Voice,” Fradiani needs the infrastructure of a network TV show to help sell the songs from his debut album “Hurricane” (Big Machine) because his voice just isn’t distinctive enough generally to get it done on its own[2].

Second, Big Machine seems to have realized how difficult marketing pop acts is as they have dropped all of the pop artists from their roster except for Taylor Swift to focus on their country acts. A hyper-competitive market and a non-competitive product spells disaster in any industry. 5,000 copies sold by a major label is, frankly, embarrassing.

So now we – and by we, I mean me – wait to see how well Scott and his Big Machine do with the final Idolists Trent Harmon and The Peerless La’Porsha Renae. Trent remains associated with the label as they work on an album for the country market (good luck with that). And the final runner-up The Peerless La’Porsha stays on as part of a Big Machine/Motown joint label project.

AND . . . Jax (see footnote #1) has been spent her post-Idol time persistently building a loyal fan base and public relations, and has an EP coming out on Friday that’s been getting quite a bit of buzz in early reviews.

I’ll be looking to see if any of the three can redeem the promise that the reality shows once held. Stay tuned.


[1] Not only should Jax have been the winner over Nick and runner-up Clark Beckham, I remain committed to my belief that Scott wanted her to win.


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