Taylor Swift has published a statement on social media claiming that Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun are preventing her from performing her old material live, including at her upcoming American Music Awards performance.
Earlier this year, Braun acquired Borchetta’s Big Machine Label Group for a reported $300 million dollars. The deal included the ownership of the six albums Swift released under Big Machine Records. Swift previously expressed dismay over the transaction, calling it her “worst case scenario.” Now, in a Tumblr note titled “Don’t know what else to do”, Swift details the restrictions she’s allegedly been put through.
She begins by revealing her intention to play a career-spanning medley at next month’s American Music Awards, where she is being honored with the Artist of the Decade Award this year. However, according to Swift, “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.”
Swift then reveals that Netflix has been creating a documentary about her “life for the past few years” in secret. Apparently Borchetta and Braun’s threats also apply to the documentary. “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,” she writes.
Originally, Swift planned to reclaim her catalog by re-recording old songs — a smart move that’s also totally legal. As it turns out, the duo allegedly threatened her if she does decide take such a route. “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,” she writes. “The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished.”
Swift goes on to ask for help from her fans and from The Carlyle Group, who put up money for the sale of her music in the first place. Her line of thinking goes like this: Braun manages other artists, and fans could ask those artists to talk to Braun about this whole ordeal — essentially acting as a trusted friend or mediator who may be able to change his mind. That and, of course, they could apply some extra pressure and embarrassment.
“I just want to be able to perform MY OWN music. That’s it,” she concludes. “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 AMA’s, 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.”
This is a new era for Taylor Swift where she doesn’t just talk about taking no shit, she walks the walk, too. This year has seen Swift vow to be more politically active, rip into “two-faced” Kanye West, and criticize Trump while saying she’s “obviously” pro-choice. She also performed the 2012 cut “All Too Well” at her Tiny Desk Concert, which may or may not have contributed to Borchetta and Braun’s revamped threats about filming old material. In other words, it’s been nice to see a mega-famous pop star take a stand for something that doesn’t always double as a financial bump.
Read Swift’s full statement about the matter on her Tumblr or in a series of Twitter screenshots below.
Don’t know what else to do pic.twitter.com/1uBrXwviTS
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 14, 2019