Looking for a male Taylor Swift

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Cannot find Taylor Swift's music in Spotify? Blame Scott Borchetta, chief of the label that discovered and groomed Swift, Big Machine Records, and mentor on the current season of American Idol.

But while he has made his stance clear about not letting fans listen to Swift for free on Spotify, he is more supportive of streaming services when it comes to American Idol contestants and emerging talents.

In a recent telephone interview with Life! and members of the American press, he says: "The problem I have with Spotify and some of the free streaming services is the one-size-fits-all concept. Well, one size does not fit all.

"When you're a new artist, free is fine. What I mean by that is, you need the promotional push. Once you've created value, you don't continue to give it away. Value is value. Music has value."

Borchetta, 52, says artists and labels can work together with streaming services to get fans to adopt this attitude. "It's like, okay, this is new, I want to sample it. It now has value. I'm willing to pay for it."

He joins American Idol in its 14th season, replacing long-time judge and mentor Randy Jackson. He took on the role as a challenge to groom contestants in front of the show's audience in real time, he says. He believes American Idol is still an important avenue for budding talents in the United States to try to make a career out of singing.

"Over the last three or four years when I talk to new artists looking to get a record deal and figuring out how to have a career, American Idol showed up as one of the consistent talking points."

His involvement does not end with the crowning of the winner. He says: "My goal is, when the winner is announced on May 13, that on May 14, we are bringing a new recording artist into the market.

"Big Machine Records is going to work diligently in the continued development of whoever wins."

American Idol's latest champion will be in good hands. Apart from Swift, one of the biggest sellers in the contemporary music world, his stable of artists includes country music stars Tim McGraw and Rascal Flatts and veteran Reba McEntire.

Hailed as a "modern day music mogul" by Rolling Stone magazine, Borchetta co-founded his independent label in 2005 after working in Universal Music Nashville and DreamWorks Nashville.

Impressed by a 14-year-old Swift singing in a Nashville cafe, he recruited her as the new label's first act. She was an immediate success - her first few singles and debut album charted on Billboard and sold millions around the world.

Swift's latest offering, 1989, was the best-selling album last year in the United States.

Borchetta does not believe in rehashing formulas and says the next big star will probably be very different from her. He says: "I'm looking for some of the things I feel are missing. If you look at pop radio, it's being dominated by female artists. I think there's a huge opportunity for a couple of male pop artists. That's something I'm looking out for."

The most important qualities, he emphasises, are singers who have something to say, are unique and have artistic vision.

"I think we have contestants on the show this year who can do that."

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