Last night, Taylor Swift took to Instagram to accuse her former record label, Big Machine, of preventing her from playing a medley of her classics at the upcoming American Music Awards; she also says that they preventing the completion of a Netflix documentary on her career.
In a post on her tumblr, she asked her fans for “help,” asking them to reach out to label executives Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun, and other artists that Braun manages, to “let them know how you feel about this… Please ask them for help with this.” Braun’s management roster includes Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato.
Swift’s message reads: “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. 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.”
Borchetta is the owner of Big Machine, the label who first signed her and for whom she recorded all of her albums, up until 2017’s Reputation. She says that Borchetta wants to prevent her from re-recording all the songs from her catalog, something she’d been discussing publically for weeks. “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.”
Her statement continues: “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 AMA’s, 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.”
This morning, Big Machine responded with a blog post on their website. They strongly rebutted her claims, and even addressed her directly, saying, “Taylor, the narrative you have created does not exist.” They also indicate that they feel that Swift bringing her fans into the argument may put some of their employees and artists in harm’s way.
Their statement reads, “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.”
The comment about the “120 hardworking employees who helped build her career” seems like a rebuttal to Swift’s comment that Borchetta and Big Machine “did nothing to create the relationship I have with my fans.”
Big Machine’s statement concludes: “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.”
The American Music Awards is less than two weeks away; it airs live on ABC on November 24.