Taylor Swift has fearlessly stood up to the man, but it seems like Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta aren’t backing down so easily. On Thursday, the superstar claimed Braun and Borchetta are not only blocking her from performing her old hits at the 2019 American Music Awards but that they also refuse to let Netflix use her those songs in an upcoming documentary about her life.
“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,” she wrote in a post titled “Don’t know what else to do” on her Tumblr page. “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,” she continued. “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, she turned to that strong army of Swifties to make a change, asking them to talk sense into Borchetta, Braun and the other artists they represent.
“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,” Swift pleaded. “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.”
However, the Borchetta-owned Big Machine Label Group has a different side to this story.
“As Taylor Swift’s partner for over a decade, we were shocked to see her tumblr statements yesterday based on false information,” the record label wrote in statement on its website. “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,” the message continued. “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.”
Then, they addressed Swift directly, slamming her actions and seemingly asking her to surrender.
“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.”
In response, the singer, through her rep, released a message sent to her on October 28 by the Vice President, Rights Management and Business Affairs from Big Machine Label Group. The text read: “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.”
Her rep then further clarified the message, calling out the label for its alleged lies.
“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,” the statement read. “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,” the note concluded, “But, an independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties over several years.”
Back in July, the “Lover” singer revealed she was “sad and grossed out” that Braun had acquired her entire music catalogue.
“For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work,” she wrote. “I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past. Music I wrote on my bedroom floor and videos I dreamed up and paid for from the money I earned playing in bars, then clubs, then arenas, then stadiums.”
Later, while celebrating the release of Lover, she announced she would be rerecording her first five albums when her contract ended in November 2020. “I’m very excited about it,” she said during an interview on Good Morning America. “I just think that artists deserve to own their work. I just feel very passionately about that.”