Big Machine Backs Down, Agrees to Let Taylor Swift to Play Her Own Music Live

Taylor Swift, photo: Jenna Beamer (CC 2.0)
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Taylor Swift, photo: Jenna Beamer (CC 2.0)
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photo: Jenna Beamer (CC 2.0)

Looks like Taylor Swift just won the right to play her own songs at the American Music Awards.

The high-profile battle between Taylor Swift and her former label Big Machine took a surprising turn this morning. After initially refusing to allow Swift to perform her own music at the American Music Awards, the label group — now owned by Scooter Braun and Carlyle Group and overseen by Scott Borchetta — has reversed course.

Here’s their official statement confirming the 180-degree shift.

“The Big Machine Label Group and Dick Clark Productions announce that they have come to terms on a licensing agreement that approves their artists’ performances to stream post show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms. This includes the upcoming American Music Awards performances. It should be noted that recording artists do not need label approval for live performances on television or any other live media. Record label approval is only needed for contracted artists’ audio and visual recordings and in determining how those works are distributed.”

Updated: Dick Clark Productions has now clarified that it did not approve the statement above.  Here’s their statement on the matter.

“At no time did Dick Clark Productions agree to, create, authorize or distribute a statement in partnership with Big Machine Label Group regarding Taylor Swift’s performance at the 2019 American Music Awards.  Any final agreement on this matter needs to be made directly with Taylor Swift’s management team. We have no further comment.”

Either way, the initial statement seems to confirm that Big Machine was indeed attempting to block Swift from performing her own music at the AMAs.

Despite the statement indicating that Swift doesn’t legally require approval to perform her own music live, it also confirms that the live performance is tied to post-performance, on-demand streams and rebroadcasts.  The live performance isn’t technically a re-recording, but the AMAs clearly intend to re-broadcast and repurpose the Swift performance.

That makes Big Machine’s earlier denials a bit of a stretch.  “At no point did we say Taylor could not perform on the AMAs or block her Netflix special,” Big Machine declared last week.  “In fact, we do not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere.”

Earlier, a Taylor Swift representative presented an email from Big Machine confirming efforts to block Swift’s music in an upcoming Netflix special.

Since the very public showdown, Swift has drawn support from some powerful backers, including Elizabeth Warren and Irving Azoff.



10 Responses

  1. Adam Schiff

    Where are the people who commented yesterday defaming Taylor?

  2. Rabbi Shlomo Rubenstein- truth seeker and truth teller, predictor of the future

    The Rabbi is a little confused. How can a label stop you for performing live?

    Or is this about licensing the live performance for streaming or some shitv

    • krk

      The label can’t prevent her from performing live and that is not the issue, it’s about the rebroadcast which is considered a rerecord. The headline is very misleading.

      • Hits Daily Double

        You can’t separate the two!

        Dick Clark wants to rebroadcast and reuse the entire show. Hence re-recording problem.

        Big Machine blocking that meaning they’re blocking TS from performing her own songs live.

        Big Machine is a bully and trying to confuse the issue. Fuck that label.

      • Linie

        They said she couldn’t perform the songs televised UNLESS she agrees to not rerecord and stop speaking out about this. It was basically blackmail, and it’s a good thing that she’s bringing this issue to light. If this can happen to someone like her, imagine what could be happening to the smaller artists. The label keeps trying to gaslight her

  3. Eilo

    Warren a power backer? I think there’s some mistake… heed the words of B.O. about being too far left. I would think that Multi-Millionaire artists and managers tend to be more ambidextrous.

  4. Ted

    TS publicity stunt plea for public backing. Boo hoo. Just perform the songs!

    • Zora

      Please try and realize what the real issue at hand is, it’s not a publicity stunt, this is about artist rights. It’s a good thing that she’s bringing this to light, as it impacts a lot of newer/growing artists

      • Ted

        Actually, it isn’t. It is about artists making good/bad decisions (in this case, to sell their rights away). The topic here is about BM allowing TS to perform her own songs, which isn’t a topic at all since they don’t have the right to deny her that right. Sure, she can’t reap monetary gain from performing the songs, but she can do it.

  5. Tom Hendricks

    DMN , keeping music coverage to single musician scandals; the best in lite, and inconsequential music news, while avoiding the music revolution that would change every aspect of the industry. Why?
    DMN are you afraid of the Big 3 Labels? Sounds like it. You should be more afraid of all those against 3 companies controlling and ruining all music at the expense of all but Swift and 9 other aging pop stars. When some media does talk about the growing musicians movement, then it will make you look like a shill for the Big 3, not a fair and independent media.