- Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun are publicly feuding after she called out Scooter and Scott Borchetta out for exerting “tyrannical control” over her music.
- Taylor claims Scooter and Scott won’t let her play old songs at the AMAs and refuse to let her include any older Taylor performances in her surprise Netflix documentary.
- Scooter tells a somewhat different story.
Remember when Taylor Swift called out celebrity manager Scooter Braun for purchasing her masters and bullying her in a lengthy Tumblr post? Well, she’s back for round two, and it seems pretty justifiable. Here’s the lowdown on why Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun are fighting publicly.
It all started with a fight over Taylor’s music masters.
Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun’s fight has legs beyond just the AMAs or her Netflix documentary. In a nutshell, Taylor left Big Machine Records (where she recorded her first six albums), then Scooter Braun acquired them, which means he’s now in control of most of her work. Taylor was NOT happy about that, especially since she had been trying to buy back her own masters herself.
Neither of them seem to agree on the series of events, though, and you can read all about that Taylor/Scooter drama background here.
Things kicked into high gear with a new Tumblr post.
In a November 14 Tumblr post (where else?) titled “Don’t know what else to do,” Taylor slammed Scooter and Big Machine Records CEO Scott Borchetta for allegedly preventing her from performing her old songs during a medley at the 2019 AMAs, where she’s set to receive the Artist of the Decade award.
“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,” she wrote. “I’ve been planning to perform a medley of my hits throughout the decade on the show. 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.”
She added that (surprise!) Netflix has created a documentary about her and that Scott and Scooter have declined the use of her older music and performance footage for the project. And apparently, the only way they’ll let her have access is if she doesn’t record “copycat versions” of her old songs, and if she stops talking about them.
“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,” Taylor said. “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.”
Taylor went on to ask fans to “let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this,” even asking them to lean on the other artists Scooter managers (Demi Lovato and Justin Bieber, to name a few!).
“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,” Taylor said, later adding, “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 AMA’s, the Netflix documentary and any other recorded events I am planning to play until November of 2020 are a question mark.”
Big Machine Records then fired back in a lengthy statement of its own.
Welp, it looks like this feud will only be getting nastier, you guys. The day after Taylor’s new Tumblr post went live, Big Machine Records, Taylor’s former label, issued a very lengthy statement on its website and straight-up said, “Taylor, the narrative you have created does not exist,” which eep!
The statement read:
“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 [ Lover] in which we do not financially participate.”
Oh, and if this whole situation weren’t already messy enough, Big Machine also accused Taylor of “contractually owing millions of dollars and multiple assets to our company, which is responsible for 120 hardworking employees who helped build her career.”
The statement continued and requested a private conversation with Taylor to sort the matter out:
“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.”
Team Taylor vehemently disagreed.
The same day Big Machine Records dropped a statement, Tree Paine—Taylor’s representative—issued her own statement claiming that Big Machine indeed denied Taylor the opportunity to use her old music in her AMAs performance.
Oh! And that other part when Big Machine claimed Taylor owed them a million dollars? Yeahhh, Tree says that's a lie too and Big Machine actually owes Taylor $7.9 million in unpaid royalties.
Tree posted this in an official statement to her Twitter page that had all the tea and BOY—it’s getting hella dramatic. She wrote:
“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 re-recording restrictions in connection with these two projects: The Netflix documentary and The Alibaba ‘Double Eleven’ event.
“To avoid an argument over right, 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. Please notice in Big Machine’s statement, they never actually deny either claim Taylor said last night in her post.
“Lastly, Big Machine is trying to deflect and make this about money by saying she owes them, but an independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties over several years.”
Statement regarding Big Machine pic.twitter.com/9ZhjE1ntHe— Tree Paine (@treepaine) November 15, 2019
Good news: Taylor gets to play her music at the AMAs if she wants!
It took a few days, but justice has been served! Taylor is officially allowed to play her biggest hits during her AMAs performance next weekend. Last Friday, a Big Machine executive told TMZ that “Taylor Swift can 100% perform all of her catalog, past and present, on the AMAs,” which is great, but like...huh?
Apparently, the true holdup on Big Machine’s end was that they weren’t certain of what happens to the live AMAs broadcast after it airs on television. So Big Machine, along with Dick Clark Productions, clarified that Taylor can perform any of her songs at the show—including re-broadcasts.
The companies reached out to TMZ to issue a joint statement and said:
“The Big Machine Label Group and Dick Clark Productions announce that they have come to terms on a licensing agreement that approves their artists’ performances to stream post show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms.
This includes the upcoming American Music Awards performances. It should be noted that recording artists do not need label approval for live performances on television or any other live media.”
Scooter said Taylor’s fans are threatening his children and asks her to intervene.
Scooter officially spoke publicly on Thursday after six months of silence, calling this whole thing a “miscommunication” at heart.
On Friday, he also added that he’s gotten some pretty horrible blowback for being involved. He said some Swifties have gone as far as threatening the lives of his children, which is disgusting, frankly.
Taylor performed her music at the AMAs with a hefty side of shade.
Once AMAs day finally arrived, Taylor did indeed sing some of her biggest hits from her catalogue and of course, there was some shade thrown into her performance for some good measure...but it was so quick honestly that you might have missed it.
As she was performing, the background lit up and literally looked just like the Big Machine Records logo. A coincidence? I think not!
She also performed wearing an oversized men's t-shirt with all the names of her albums on it (including the albums that Scooter is currently in control of) while singing "The Man" (what else!) with a young girl.
Keep your eyes peeled here for further updates, y’all—something tells me this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing about this Taylor Swift–Scooter Braun–Big Machine Records beef.
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