Ever since his breakout in 1993, the label has pretty much hyperfocused on him and ignored almost every other country act on its very large roster. Sure, Jo Dee Messina got a few big hits in 1998-2001 and Rodney Atkins had a couple bigger ones, but really, can you name anyone else who has ever managed even more than a zillionth of his success on Curb?
McGraw himself is not immune to this. His 2007 album Let It Go produced seven singlesnote one of which was a live recording, "If You're Reading This," which was retroactively added to the album after it began charting. After the next two singles following "If You're Reading This" both failed to make Top 10 note until that point, he had missed Top 10 all of once since his second album back in 1994), the smart choice would've been to move on to the next album. Instead, Curb released two more singles from Let It Go. Unfortunately, they went with the weak "Let It Go" and "Nothin' to Die For" instead of "Train #10," "Between the River and Me" or "Whiskey and You," which most of the fanbase had been begging to see released since the album came out.
It gets worse. While the singles from Let It Go were charting, the label issued his third Greatest Hits Albumnote which was laden with filler, as his last Greatest Hits was in 2006, right before the release of Let It Go. McGraw publicly decried his third Greatest Hits package.
And even worse than that! Southern Voice was stalled for nearly a full year after the last single from Let It Go fell off the charts. There was lukewarm at best reception for its three singles: the frivolous "It's a Business Doing Pleasure with You," co-written by Chad Kroeger of Nickelback; the bland List Song "Southern Voice" (which went to #1 almost entirely because it was featured in The Blind Side); and the alt-rock-ish "Still," which at least got some critical praise.note Note that "Business" and "Still" both missed the Top 10, too; "Still" and "Kristofferson," one of the singles from Let It Go, are his two lowest-peaking singles since 1994.
And the stalling continues; despite being from a different label, one song of his from the Country Strong soundtrack got shipped to radio in early 2011 just to delay the first single from the next album.
And after that, they sued him for submitting the masters for the last album in his contract too soon, saying it was a "transparent" attempt to get out of his record deal sooner. He countersued and won. Emotional Traffic ended up the last album in his contract, finally freeing him from Curb and allowing him to move to Big Machine Records.
Now that he's free from Curb, it still hasn't stopped… two singles into his first Big Machine album, Curb shipped a duets album consisting of a few duets with his wife, one with ex-labelmate Jo Dee Messina, and a few other scattered songs.
A rare positive example. His 2014 single "Lookin' for That Girl" was doing well on the charts, but poorly with critics and listeners. In April 2014, he sang a new song at the Academy of Country Music awards titled "Meanwhile Back at Mama's." That song was well-received, so Big Machine withdrew "Lookin' for That Girl" in favor of releasing "Meanwhile Back at Mama's."