While accepting the first-ever Billboard Woman of the Decade award, the “Lover” singer, 30, delivered a powerful 15-minute speech, in which she addressed her recent drama with her former label, Big Machine Records, and blasted some of the business practices in the music industry.
“Lately there has been a new shift that has affected me personally and that I feel is a potentially harmful force in our industry. And, as your resident loud person, I feel the need to bring it up,” she said. “And that is the unregulated world of private equity coming in and buying up our music as if it was real estate, as if it’s an app or a shoe line.”
Swift pointed out that “this just happened to me, without my approval, consultation or consent,” referring to Braun, 38, acquiring Big Machine in June along with her back catalog of master recordings.
“After I was denied the chance to purchase my music outright, my entire catalog was sold,” she said. “And yet, to this day, none of these investors have ever bothered to contact me or my team directly to perform their due diligence on their investment in me to ask how I might feel about the new owner of my art, my music, my handwriting.”
She added, “Scooter never contacted me or my team to discuss it prior to the sale or even when it was announced. I’m fairly certain he knew exactly how I would feel about it, though. And let me just say that the definition of toxic male privilege in our industry is people saying, ‘But he’s always been nice to me’ when I’m raising valid concerns about artists and their rights to own their music. And, of course, he’s nice to people in this room; you have something he needs. … Private equity is what enabled this man to think, according to his own social media posts, that he could ‘buy me.’ Well, I’m obviously not going willingly.”
Later in her speech, the Grammy winner took a moment to thank her fan base and the women who have championed her in the midst of her battle with Braun and fellow Big Machine executive Scott Borchetta.
“The most amazing thing was to discover that it would be the women in our industry who would have my back and show me the most vocal support at one of the most difficult times,” she said.
Swift first called out Braun and Borchetta, 57, via Tumblr in June. Four months later, she accused the pair of trying to block her from performing her old hits at the 2019 American Music Awards, which they denied. Ultimately, Swift ended up performing a career-spanning medley at the November 24 awards show.
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