Despite being slated to perform at the upcoming American Music Awards, Taylor Swift says she’s being blocked from performing her own songs.
Update: Big Machine Label Group has now accused Taylor Swift of lying about her claims; Swift in turn has produced an email to prove her case. More on the latest developments here.
The extremely contentious battle between Taylor Swift and both Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun has taken another ugly turn. Just this afternoon, Swift claimed that Borchetta and Braun have attempted to block her from performing her own songs at the upcoming American Music Awards.
Earlier this year, Borchetta sold Big Machine Label Group to Braun for an estimated $300 million. The sale included the master recordings to Swift’s musical catalog, and Swift said she was blindsided by the deal. Swift clearly despises Braun, and didn’t hold back her disdain for the music manager. She called his ownership of her songs “my worst nightmare” while blasting Braun as a piece of human garbage.
More recently, Swift was honored by the AMAs with the ‘Artist of the Decade’ award. As part of the acceptance celebration, Swift was planning to perform a number of her biggest hits. According to Swift, that’s when both Borchetta and Braun swooped in to block her performances.
The reason, according to Swift, is that the singer has threatened to re-record all of her earlier songs in a bid to regain ownership of them.
“I’ve been planning to perform a medley of my hits throughout the decade on the show,” Taylor Swift wrote on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. “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.”
She continues: “Scott Borchetta told my team that they’ll allow me to use my music only if I do these things: If I agree to not re-record copycat versions of my songs next year (which is something I’m both legally allowed to do and looking forward to) and also told my team that I need to stop talking about him and Scooter Braun.”
On top of that, Swift also claims that Braun is refusing to license any of Swift’s classic songs for an upcoming Netflix biopic. The reason is the same, though Swift’s statement suggests that some sort of re-recording arrangement may have been authorized or negotiated starting next year.
Either way, the law allows anyone to perform music in public, including their own music.
Under U.S. Copyright Law, public performances of works are allowed as long as statutory licenses are paid. But things can get tricky with on-demand, post-show plays — and both Borchetta and Braun have a lot of muscle to force programming changes at the AMAs.
So far, there’s been no response from either Borchetta or Braun.
Here’s Swift’s full statement, dropped onto Twitter this afternoon.
Guys – 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.
Scott Borchetta told my team that they’ll allow me to use my music only if I do these things: If I agree to not re-record copycat versions of my songs next year (which is something I’m both legally allowed to do and looking forward to) and also told my team that I need to stop talking about him and Scooter Braun.
I feel very strongly that sharing what is happening to me could change the awareness level for other artists and potentially help them avoid a similar fate. The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished.
This is WRONG. Neither of these men had a hand in the writing of those songs. They did nothing to create the relationship I have with my fans. So this is where I’m asking for your help.
Please let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this. Scooter also manages several artists who I really believe care about other artists and their work. Please ask them for help with this – I’m hoping that 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. I’m especially asking for help from The Carlyle Group, who put up money for the sale of my music to these two men.
I just want to be able to perform MY OWN music. That’s it. I’ve tried to work this out privately through my team but have not been able to resolve anything. Right now my performance at the AMAs, the Netflix documentary and any other recorded events I am planning to play until November of 2020 are a question mark.
I love you guys and I thought you should know what’s been going on.