After Taylor Swift called upon the artists represented by Scooter Braun to weigh in on Big Machine Records allegedly not allowing her to play her old songs, Justin Bieber has weighed in. Well, sort of.
On Thursday, Swift claimed that Big Machine Records — the company which owns Swift’s masters and that Braun purchased over the summer, much to Swift’s ire — would not allow her to play a medley of her older music at the American Music Awards. She also alleged that the company had vetoed any use of her pre-Lover catalog in a planned Netflix documentary.
On Friday, Bieber shared a screenshot of a TMZ story of Big Machine Records’ side of the conflict, suggesting he is taking the side of his longtime manager in this ongoing battle.
The company alleges that they never forbid Swift from any of the things she has accused them of and that she owes “millions” to the company and “multiple assets” since parting ways with Big Machine Records.
“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,” the statement reads. “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 in which we do not financially participate.”
Tree Paine, Swift's publicist, hit back at these claims, sharing a notice allegedly from Big Machine Records that said the company would not issue licenses for Swift's upcoming Netflix documentary and a concert event for internet commerce site Alibaba in China that has already occurred. Paine noted that Big Machine Records does not deny the claims Swift made in her original post and that, despite their arguments over Swift owing them assets, Big Machine Records owes Swift $7.9 million in royalties according to an independent accounting.
Bieber was pulled into the conflict between Braun and Swift this summer, she shared a screenshot of Bieber and Braun together in her message about Braun purchasing Big Machine Records. At the time, she accused Braun of “incessant, manipulative bullying” and claimed that his purchase of her masters was her “worst case scenario.” Bieber is one of the manager’s biggest clients, along with Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato, and he stood up for Braun.
Bieber claimed on Instagram that Braun always had Swift's best interest, ever since the manager had a young Bieber open up for the rising singer. He said that he and Swift never had the opportunity to talk about their issues face to face, and to post about Braun's actions on social media and "get people to hate" on Braun "isn't fair."
One person who is standing up for Swift is her best friend Selena Gomez, who has a complicated history with Bieber.
"My heart is so heavy right now,” she wrote on her Instagram Story about her friend’s issue with Big Machine. “It makes me sick and extremely angry. I don’t mind if there may be retaliation. This is my opinion. It’s greed, manipulation, and power."
Refinery29 reached out to Borchetta, Braun, Bieber, and Swift for comment.