On Friday morning, Big Machine Records released an adamant denial of Taylor Swift's claims that Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun are blocking her from performing her past body of work at the American Music Awards, as well as using footage of that work in a reported upcoming Netflix special, and Taylor Swift has already fired back with receipts.
"As Taylor Swift’s partner for over a decade, we were shocked to see her Tumblr statements yesterday based on false information," Big Machine's statement begins, according to Variety. "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 honour 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. 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.
“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. Rumours 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.”
“The truth is, on October 28, 2019 at 5:17 p.m. the Vice President, Rights Management and Business Affairs from Big Machine Label Group sent Taylor Swift’s team the following:
“‘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.’
The Netflix documentary and
The Alibaba ‘Double Eleven’ event.’
“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. 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 but, an independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties over several years.”
Original story published below on November 14 at 7:20 p.m.
Taylor Swift posted an emotional message on social media in which she called for fans to support her following alleged plans by Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta to block a slew of new projects.
On Thursday, Swift shared a lengthy message about how Braun — a producer as well as manager of stars like Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and Demi Lovato — and Big Machine Records founder Borchetta are allegedly using their influence to stop her from releasing a new Netflix special as well as perform a medley of her songs at the American Music Awards. Swift is being honoured at the award show this year as their Artist of the Decade.
“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 me re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year,” Swift wrote on Twitter.
She also added that the men have forbid an upcoming Netflix documentary — which had yet to be announced — from using any of her old songs or footage from old performances, despite there being no mention of Big Machine Records in the project.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Borchetta, who signed Swift as a teenager to his label, sold Big Machine Records to Braun. This included Swift’s master recordings of her previous work, with the exception of her new album Lover.
Immediately after the sale went public, Swift shared her anger over the situation. She claimed Braun — who once represented the artist’s most notorious enemy Kanye West — was guilty of “incessant, manipulative bullying” and that the sale of her music to him was her “worst case scenario.”
"Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words ‘Scooter Braun’ escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to,” Swift wrote on Tumblr after the news broke. “He knew what he was doing; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them. In perpetuity. That means forever."
In August, Swift declared in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning that she would re-record her masters, thereby making the originals owned by Big Machine Records less valuable.
Swift stated on Thursday that her plan to re-record her previous work was why Borchetta came for these upcoming projects. Per Swift, Borchetta said that he and Braun would allow Swift to use her old footage for the award show and Netflix doc if the singer chose not to re-record her music. Borchetta also told Swift’s team, per the artist, to “stop talking” about him and Braun publicly.
“The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished,” Swift shared.
The singer called upon fans to stand up for her in this situation, and to ask other artists represented by Braun for help as well. She also implored fans to put pressure on the Carlyle Group, a private equity, alternative asset management and financial services corporation that reportedly helped put up money for the sale of her music to Braun and Borchetta.
“I’m hoping 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,” said Swift.
Refinery29 reached out to Borchetta, Braun, Swift, and Netflix for comment.