Taylor Swift shocked the public with the recent news of being banned from performing her music at the American Music Awards (AMA). In a blog post, Swift accused music manager Scooter Braun and Big Machine Records’s CEO Scott Borchetta of preventing her from performing her older music at the 2019 AMAs.
According to Swift, they consider her singing her older music as “re-recording” her songs which she revealed is not allowed until November 2020. “… Netflix has created a documentary about my life for the past few years. Scott and Scooter have declined the use of my older music or performance footage for this project, even though there is no mention of either of them or Big Machine Records anywhere in the film.”
Swift wrote that they’d only allow her to sing her older music if she did not rerecord her older songs – something she has been looking forward to do.
“Scott Borchetta told my team that they’ll allow me to use my music only if I do these things: If I agree to not re-record copycat versions of my songs next year (which is something I’m both legally allowed to do and looking forward to) and also told my team that I need to stop talking about him and Scooter Braun. “Taylor Swift in her most recent Tumblr post, Nov. 14, 2019.
Swift ended the Tumblr post by saying she simply wants to be able to perform her music. Because this issue continues to pop up Swift says she’s unsure how this will affect her AMA performance, her documentary with Netflix and all future events until November 2020.
Big Machine Records responds:
Soon after Swift posted her blog Big Machine Records posted a statement on their website to clear up some discrepancies.
“As Taylor Swift’s partner for over a decade, we were shocked to see her tumblr statements yesterday based on false information. At no point did we say Taylor could not perform on the AMAs or block her Netflix special. In fact, we do not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere. Since Taylor’s decision to leave Big Machine last fall, we have continued to honor all of her requests to license her catalog to third parties as she promotes her current record in which we do not financially participate.”Big Machine Records ‘ statement on Taylor Swift.
Big Machine Records then accused Swift of not paying her dues to the company along with dragging the situation, a situation they thought was close to a resolution.
“Taylor has admitted to contractually owing millions of dollars and multiple assets to our company, which is responsible for 120 hardworking employees who helped build her career. We have worked diligently to have a conversation about these matters with Taylor and her team to productively move forward. We started to see progress over the past two weeks and were optimistic as recently as yesterday that this may get resolved. However, despite our persistent efforts to find a private and mutually satisfactory solution, Taylor made a unilateral decision last night to enlist her fanbase in a calculated manner that greatly affects the safety of our employees and their families.”Big Machine Records’ statement on Taylor Swift.
Swift’s Representative respond swiftly:
According to Billboard, Swift’s representative responded saying that Swift was actually owed about seven million in royalties, and then they addressed the Netflix situation.
“The truth is, on October 28, 2019 at 5:17 p.m. the Vice President, Rights Management and Business Affairs from Big Machine Label Group sent Taylor Swift’s team the following: ‘Please be advised that BMLG will not agree to issue licenses for existing recordings or waivers of its rerecording restrictions in connection with these two projects: The Netflix documentary and The Alibaba ‘Double Eleven’ event. To avoid an argument over rights, Taylor performed three songs off her new album Lover at the Double Eleven event as it was clear that Big Machine Label Group felt any televised performance of catalog songs violated her agreement. In addition, yesterday Scott Borchetta, CEO and founder of Big Machine Label Group, flatly denied the request for both American Music Awards and Netflix.”Statement by Swift’s representative posted by Billboard
Well things are not looking good for Scooter Braun or Big Machine Records. Both have been receiving endless amount of hate mail and threats, some fans go as far as doxxing their private information. The hate has gotten so bad that Big Machine Records recently closed early due to the amount of death threats they’ve received.
As far as the public reaction, most have been sympathetic towards Swift. Celebrities such as Selena Gomez, Lily Allen, Gigi Hadid, and politicians Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have all rallied on her side – speaking publicity against Big Machine Records for not allowing her to own nor sing her own music. Fans have created and trended #IStandWithTaylor.
But despite all this public scrutiny and attention there is still no telling what will happen with Swift or Big Machine Records. One can only wait for the next statement, and for November 2020 to come around so Swift can legally record her music.