Fans think Taylor Swift created a fake band — fronted by her brother! — to get back at Scooter Braun

Taylor Swift has always been a savvy social media maven, from her Twitter “lurker” campaign for “Swiftmas” (when she stalked fans' accounts and then sent them personalized gifts) to her “no its becky” T-shirt that referenced a viral Tumblr meme (the ultimate social media in-joke). She also regularly fills her music videos with Easter eggs for her devotees to pore over, and she has frequently used her platforms to mobilize her following in her ongoing battle against the head of her former label Big Machine, Scott Borchetta, and his new partner, Scooter Braun.

And now Swift is really giving her fanbase something to talk about — by seemingly creating a fake band (with lead vocals by her own brother, Austin!) in another, very sneaky strike against Borchetta and Braun.

Taylor Swift and brother Austin Swift in 2016. (Photo: Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/Getty Images)
Taylor Swift and brother Austin Swift in 2016. (Photo: Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/Getty Images)

Over the weekend, a spooky indie-folk cover of Swift’s Reputation hit "Look What You Made Me Do" appeared in the opening credits of the most recent episode of the BBC spy comedy Killing Eve, credited to a totally unknown band called Jack Leopards & The Dolphin Club. Swift even sanctioned the remake, giving them a shout-out on Twitter and saying she was “very stoked” with their version. But shrewd Swifties quickly noticed that JL&TDC had only this one track on Spotify, and that listed in the song’s credits was the name Nils Sjoberg — the pseudonym that Swift had used when she co-wrote Rihanna’s "This Is What You Came For” with her then-boyfriend Calvin Harris.

Other online detectives noted that Austin Swift’s former Twitter handle was “The Dolphin Club,” and pointed to a February 2020 Daily Mail article reporting that Taylor had “begged” Killing Eve head writer/executive producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge to feature Austin on the series’ soundtrack. Some fans also observed that Jack Leopards & The Dolphin Club’s cover art for "Look What You Made Me Do" resembles a famous childhood photo of Austin.

The biggest speculation of all, however, is that Taylor actually manufactured Jack Leopards & The Dolphin Club as part of her promise to re-record her entire back catalog now that she has parted ways with Big Machine. Swift, who is currently signed to Republic Records, voiced that intention last year, after she learned that high-powered music manager Braun, a man she’d accused of “incessant, manipulative bullying” over the years, had purchased the Big Machine Label Group — thus acquiring the rights to the music on her first six albums. (She described the deal as her "worst case scenario.”) Fans are hypothesizing that by putting out a “cover song,” Swift was able to sneak her music into Killing Eve without Braun profiting from it.

Last month, Swift took to social media to blast Borchetta and Braun over Big Machine’s plan to put out a live Taylor Swift album — a release that she apparently had no knowledge of until her eagle-eyed fans alerted her on social media, and one that she condemned as “just another case of shameless greed in the time of coronavirus.” If Swifties’ theories are correct, then the singer is now seizing control of her catalog in an intriguing creative and shady way.

Swift’s camp did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but regardless if this is Austin Swift, or if Taylor Swift really is behind this project, we’d love to see what sort of moody magic Jack Leopards & The Dolphin Club could work on “I Knew Your Were Trouble” or “Blank Space.”

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