- Taylor Swift says she is being prevented by her former label, Big Machine Records, from performing her old music. Big Machine Records denies the superstar’s allegations.
- Now, Swift’s spokeswoman shared with Insider a letter dated October 28, 2019, that appears to be from the vice president of rights management and business affairs from Big Machine Label Group.
- “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 letter read, as given to Insider.
- Swift’s spokeswoman went on to say, “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.”
- The statement also says that Big Machine Records “owes Taylor $7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties over several years.”
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Taylor Swift is at war with her former label, Big Machine Records. In a message to fans on Thursday night, the 29-year-old superstar said that she was being prevented from performing her old songs by the company.
Now, Swift’s spokeswoman has responded to a statement by Big Machine Records that denied the singer’s claims that she had been prevented from performing her catalog of music.
Swift’s spokeswoman shared an email she says is from Big Machine Records that appears to back Swift’s allegation that she is being prevented from performing her old songs
Swift’s spokeswoman provided a statement to Insider that began: “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.'”
“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,” the statement continued.
“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,” Swift’s spokeswoman said.
The statement concluded: “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.”
Big Machine Records denies that it’s keeping Swift from performing her old music
On Friday morning, Big Machine Records responded to Swift’s assertions that Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun were preventing her from performing a medley of songs from her back catalog during the upcoming American Music Awards, where she will be honored as the artist of the decade. Swift also claimed she was denied permission to include songs from her first six albums — “Taylor Swift,” “Fearless,” “Speak Now,” “Red,” “1989,” and “Reputation” — in a forthcoming Netflix documentary.
“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,” Big Machine Records’ statement said. “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.”
However, the phrase “Taylor could not perform on the AMAs or block her Netflix special,” does not include mention of whether Big Machine Records gave permission to Swift to use songs made during her time with Big Machine in those projects.
Other stars and fans are standing by Swift
On Thursday night, Swift issued a statement across her social media platforms that said, “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.”
—Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 14, 2019
The drama between Swift and Big Machine Records has been brewing since the summer
Earlier this year, Braun purchased Big Machine Records in a deal made with Borchetta, the label’s founder. After the sale was announced to the world, Swift took to social media to express how “sad and grossed out” she was over the deal, which included the rights to the masters of everything she created under the label through 2017’s “Reputation.”
Swift labeled the agreement her “worst case scenario” as she apparently had multiple issues with Braun throughout her career, accusing him of “bullying” her with his clients, Justin Bieber and Kanye West. The songstress also said she wasn’t given the chance to buy back her catalog, but was instead offered a deal in which she could “earn” back one album at a time for each new album she put out under Big Machine.
The “Lover” hitmaker has since said that she plans to rerecord her music when her contract allows her to in November 2020. She reiterated that she’s “legally allowed” and “looking forward” to reproducing her past work in her Thursday night post.
A representative for Big Machine Records didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.