Since June 2019, the Grammy winner has been at war with the big-wig business partners over the rights to the music she recorded before switching to Republic Records the previous November. Braun acquired Big Machine and Swift’s back catalog of master recordings as part of an estimated $300 million deal.
Shortly after the acquisition news broke, the “Bad Blood” singer took to Tumblr to alert fans that she “had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past.” In her blog post, she claimed she “learned about Scooter Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world” and called out the talent manager for years of “incessant, manipulative bullying” at the hands of his clients Justin Bieber and Kanye West. She called the deal her “worst case scenario.”
The drama eventually simmered down, and Swift released her seventh album, Lover, in August 2019. However, less than three months later, she exposed Braun and Borchetta once again after they allegedly tried to block her from performing her old hits at the 2019 American Music Awards, where she was honored as Artist of the Decade. She also claimed on social media that the executives “declined the use of my older music or performance footage” for a Netflix documentary that she had in the works.
Big Machine slammed Swift’s post as “calculated,” saying in a November 2019 statement that it does “not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere.” The label, however, did not explicitly address claims that it had barred the pop star from performing her old material.
“While Big Machine is not directly blocking her performance, they are putting a roadblock in her way as far as performing these particular songs,” music industry lawyer Erin M. Jacobson told Us Weekly.
The controversy made headlines again in November 2020 after Braun sold Swift’s masters to a private equity company, Shamrock Holdings, in yet another move that she claimed had been done behind her back.
Scroll down for a complete timeline of everything we know so far.