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Taylor Swift Calls Out Former Record Label Again, Big Machine Hits Back

This is some serious drama, and it's all happening in public.

Written by Chris Parton
Taylor Swift Calls Out Former Record Label Again, Big Machine Hits Back
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - AUGUST 26: Taylor Swift attends the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards at Prudential Center on August 26, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for MTV)

Taylor Swift has brought more allegations of dirty tricks against her former record label and the new owner of her song catalog, posting a scathing letter to fans on social media Thursday (November 14).

Building on the fight which has been ongoing since entertainment manager Scooter Braun purchased the rights to most of Swift’s work from Big Machine Label Group, the global superstar publicly stated she was being blocked from performing her songs on the upcoming American Music Awards, and that a new Netflix documentary on her life (which until now was still secret) was being held up. She went on to directly ask her fans to speak up in her defense.

Swift’s entire statement is below:

“Guys – It’s been announced recently that the American Music Awards will be honoring me with the Artist of the Decade Award at this year’s ceremony. I’ve been planning to perform a medley of my hits throughout the decade on the show. [BMLG head] Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun have now said that I’m not allowed to perform my old songs on television because they claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year. Additionally — and this isn’t the way I had planned on telling you this news — 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.

“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.

“I feel very strongly that sharing what is happening to me could change the awareness level for other artists and potentially help them avoid a similar fate. The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished.

“This is WRONG. Neither of these men had a hand in the writing of those songs. They did nothing to create the relationship I have with my fans. So this is where I’m asking for your help.

“Please let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this. Scooter also manages several artists who I really believe care about other artists and their work. Please ask them for help with this – I’m hoping that maybe they can talk some sense into the men who are exercising tyrannical control over someone who just wants to play the music she wrote. I’m especially asking for help from The Carlyle Group, who put up money for the sale of my music to these two men.

“I just want to be able to perform MY OWN music. That’s it. I’ve tried to work this out privately through my team but have not been able to resolve anything. Right now my performance at the AMAs, the Netflix documentary and any other recorded events I am planning to play until November of 2020 are a question mark.

“I love you guys and I thought you should know what’s been going on.”

Braun reportedly bought the rights to Swift’s Big Machine catalog — which includes all the music made before this year’s Lover — for $300 million in June. Swift said she was blindsided by the sale, and immediately leveled personal and professional allegations at Braun. Following Swift’s most recent post, Big Machine released this response.

“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.

“The truth is, 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.

“Taylor, the narrative you have created does not exist. All we ask is to have a direct and honest conversation. When that happens, you will see there is nothing but respect, kindness and support waiting for you on the other side. To date, not one of the invitations to speak with us and work through this has been accepted. Rumors fester in the absence of communication. Let’s not have that continue here. We share the collective goal of giving your fans the entertainment they both want and deserve.”

Sounds Like Nashville will continue to monitor the situation and report as it unfolds.

Update: Swift’s publicist, Tree Paine, has responded to the statement made by Big Machine.

Update: Big Machine has released a statement saying they have come to terms with dick clark productions — the company behind the American Music Awards. Swift is not mentioned by name, but it appears to confirm she can now perform work from throughout her career during the show’s Artist of the Decade segment. The statement makes no mention of Swift’s upcoming Netflix documentary.

Update: In a confusing turn of events, dick clark productions — the company behind the American Music Awards — disputes Big Machine’s statement that an agreement has been reached. According to Variety:

“At no time did dick clark productions agree to, create, authorize or distribute a statement in partnership with Big Machine Label Group regarding Taylor Swift’s performance at the 2019 American Music Awards. Any final agreement on this matter needs to be made directly with Taylor Swift’s management team. We have no further comment.”