Taylor Swift’s claim she is blocked from performing old songs at AMAs ‘based on false information’

Updated November 16, 2019 15:32:45

Photo: Taylor Swift’s former label says the narrative she “created does not exist”. (Reuters: Steve Marcus

Taylor Swift and her former recording label have traded accusations about her rights to perform her old songs.

Key points:

  • Swift signed with record label Big Machine at age 15, recording some of her biggest hits including Shake it Off
  • She left the label in November for Universal Music Group
  • Since leaving, Swift has aired her grievances with Big Machine, accusing the label’s owner Scooter Braun of “bullying”

Swift, 29, one of the best-selling names in pop music, said on social media that her performance as “artist of the decade” at the American Music Awards (AMAs in Los Angeles on November 24 was “a question mark” because her previous recording label had refused permission for her to sing a medley of her old hits on the show.

Big Machine Label Group, the Nashville, Tennessee-based company that owns the master recordings of Swift’s back catalogue has hit back, saying the singer was giving out “false information” and that the label had no right to limit her live performances.

Under her contract, Swift is not permitted to re-record material from her period with Big Machine until November 2020

“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’s statement read.

External Link: Tweet: Taylor Swift statement

Big Machine added that Swift owed it “millions of dollars and multiple assets”.

The record label, in a statement, said it had worked “diligently” to have a conversation about the matter with Swift and her team.

“We started to see progress over the past two weeks and were optimistic as recently as yesterday that this may get resolved,” the statement said.

“However, despite our persistent efforts to find a private and mutually satisfactory solution, Taylor made a unilateral decision last night to enlist her fanbase in a calculated manner that greatly affects the safety of our employees and their families.”

The statement added: “Taylor, the narrative you have created does not exist.”

In a subsequent statement, Swift’s publicist, Tree Paine, said Big Machine owed Swift $US7.9 million ($11.5 million in unpaid royalties.

Singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles tweeted that the move by Big Machine was “an outrageous abuse of power and completely unforgivable”, while actress and singer Selena Gomez, a close friend of Swift, said in a social media post that she was sick and extremely angry.

Singers Camila Cabello, Halsey and Tinashe also expressed support for Swift on Twitter.

Swift signed with Big Machine at age 15, recording some of her biggest hits, including Shake it Off and You Belong With Me, but left last November for Universal Music Group, a unit of French conglomerate Vivendi.

Swift has taken her disputes with Big Machine public before.

In June, she tweeted that she was “sad and grossed out” by the purchase of the independent label by Scooter Braun, who manages Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.

She also accused Mr Braun of bullying her in the past.

Scooter Braun speaks holding his hands up as he stands against a black background. He wears a leather jacket and black t-shirt. Photo: Swift has accused Scooter Braun’s label of exercising “tyrannical control” over her music. (Reuters: Steve Marcus

In this week’s posts she accused Big Machine executives of exercising “tyrannical control” over her music and said they also had denied permission for her old songs to be included in an upcoming Netflix documentary.

“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,” Swift wrote.

“The message being sent to me is very clear,” she added. “Basically be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished.”

Topics: pop, music, arts-and-entertainment, copyright, united-states

First posted November 16, 2019 14:02:33