Taylor Swift Speaks Up Against Major Label Censure

Taylor Swift Speaks Up Against Major Label Censure

Banned from performing her own early music, the pop superstar brought her fight with Big Machine Records to the public.

Banned from performing her own early music, the pop superstar brought her fight with Big Machine Records to the public.

Text: Dylan Kelly

Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Records and his major-label partner Scooter Braun have banned Taylor Swift from playing her old hit songs, and she’s taken to social media to speak up against their tyrannical control. Across her various social media platforms, Swift revealed that the two label heads have barred her from playing her early hit songs at the American Music Awards, where she is set to receive the Artist of the Decade Award. Additionally, the country-turned-pop polymath had to make an early announcement regarding her upcoming Netflix documentary as she claimed that Braun and Barchetta are disallowing the inclusion of her old songs in the life-story film. As necessary components of the Lover star’s career trajectory, songs like “Teardrops On My Guitar” and “Picture to Burn” are crucial to the superstar’s narrative, and their lacking presence takes away from Swift’s powerful rise to fame completely. 

“Guys,” Taylor Swift began in a Twitter post. “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.”

Outwardly voicing her annoyance at the record label, Swift continues her rightful complaints in her Twitter post below. 

In response, Big Machine Records released a statement denying Swift’s claims and instead publically targeted her for owing the label millions. “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,” they wrote. “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 music label continued to deem Swift’s narrative as nonexistent and asked to have a direct and honest conversation regarding her claims. Within less than three hours of Big Machine’s Records statement, a representative for Swift promptly retaliated and laid out the facts. She began her response with a copy of a message sent to Swift’s team from Big Machine Records’ Vice President, which reads:

“‘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’ [an event in China at which Swift performed last week].”

In cooperation with the label, Swift performed three songs from Lover at the Double Eleven event and avoided any older tracks entirely. The statement continues to explain that Borchetta flat-out denied Swift’s performance of early songs at the American Music Awards and in the Netflix documentary.

In closing, Swift’s representative states, “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.”

In public combat, Swift and her army of fans are placing immense pressure on Borchetta and Braun to release her tracks for usage on her own free will. The status of Swift’s fight for her own music remains unknown, but we sure hope to hear a few of her blasts from the past at the American Music Awards on November 24.

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