Taylor Swift’s former label, Big Machine Records, issued a lengthy statement after she accused executives Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta of blocking her from performing her old songs at the 2019 American Music Awards and featuring them in a planned Netflix documentary.
“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,” Big Machine Label Group told Us Weekly on Friday, November 15. “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.”
Big Machine’s statement went on to accuse Swift, 29, of “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,” the label said. “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 statement concluded, “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.”
Swift called out Braun, 38, and Borchetta, 57, in a message shared across all of her social media platforms on Thursday, November 14. She revealed that she had been “planning to perform a medley of my hits” on November 24 at the AMAs, where she is being honored with the Artist of the Decade Award. However, she alleged that the Big Machine partners will not allow her to do so “because they claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year.”
Braun — whose clients include Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Demi Lovato — acquired the “Me!” singer’s back catalog of master recordings in June after teaming up with Big Machine. She subsequently called him out on Tumblr, dubbing the move her “worst case scenario.” Back-and-forth drama ensued, and Swift later announced that she plans to start re-recording her first five albums in the fall of 2020.
In her post on Thursday, the Grammy winner urged her fans to “please let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this.” She added, “I just want to be able to perform MY OWN music. That’s it. … 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.”
Swift’s spokeswoman responded to Big Machine’s statement later on Friday, stating that the label’s vice president of rights management and business affairs sent the entertainer’s team a message on October 28 that read in part, “Please be advised that BMLG will not agree to issue licenses for existing recordings or waivers of its re-recording restrictions.” Her spokeswoman added, “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.”
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