Taylor Swift Granted the Right to Perform Pre-Lover Hits at the AMAs After Feud with Big Machine
In a statement shared with PEOPLE, Big Machine Label Group announced 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.”
The statement went on to clarify 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.”
The announcement effectively allows Swift to perform songs recorded prior to her current album, Lover, which were recorded while under contract with BMLG.
However, Dick Clark Productions (the team behind the AMAs) released a statement of their own Monday afternoon, clarifying, “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.”
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On Thursday afternoon, the multi-Grammy winner, 29, released a scathing Tumblr post, accusing Scooter Braun and her former label head Scott Borchetta of blocking her from performing her pre-Lover songs in a medley at the AMAs where she’s due to receive the artist of the decade award.
“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,” she wrote.
The singer also revealed she has been working with Netflix on a documentary about her “life for the past few years,” but that Borchetta and Braun — who purchased Big Machine Label Group for $300 million earlier this year — have “declined the use of my older music or performance footage for this project.”
According to Swift, Borchetta tried to negotiate and offered to let her perform and use her music if she agreed not to re-record “copycat versions” of her old songs and “stop talking about him and Scooter Braun.”
However, the superstar echoed her criticism of the business partners and asked her fans for their help.
“The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished,” wrote Swift. “Please let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this.”
Without naming specific artist names, Swift also asked her fans to reach out to Braun’s clients in hopes that they “can talk some sense into the men who are exercising tyrannical control over someone who just wants to play the music she wrote.”
Hours later, Big Machine Label Group responded in a statement on their website and denied Swift’s allegations, accusing the star of “false information.”
“As Taylor Swift’s partner for over a decade, we were shocked to see her Tumblr statements yesterday based on false information. At no point did we say Taylor could not perform on the AMAs or block her Netflix special,” the statement read. “In fact, we do not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere. 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.”
“We have worked diligently to have a conversation about these matters with Taylor and her team to productively move forward,” the statement added. “We started to see progress over the past two weeks and were optimistic as recently as yesterday that this may get resolved. 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.”
“All we ask is to have a direct and honest conversation,” the statement concluded. “When that happens, you will see there is nothing but respect, kindness and support waiting for you on the other side. To date, not one of the invitations to speak with us and work through this has been accepted.”
Following Big Machine’s claims, a spokeswoman for the “Lover” singer issued an additional statement to PEOPLE.
According to Swift’s team, a representative from Big Machine Label Group’s Rights Management and Business Affairs division sent Swift and her associates a message on the afternoon of Oct. 28 advising her that BMLG “will not agree to issue licenses for existing records or waivers of its re-recording restrictions” for both an upcoming Netflix documentary and also a performance at a “Double Eleven” event for Chinese retailer Alibaba.
“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 from Swift’s team 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.”
The statement concluded by alleging that Swift is due millions from her former label. “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.”
“You’ve robbed and crushed one of our best songwriters of our time an opportunity to celebrate all of her music with fans the world,” Gomez wrote on her Instagram Stories, while Cabello added, “It feels heartbreaking… How can a record label do this to an artist?”
Hadid also tweeted, “Scott and Scooter, you know what the right thing to do is 🙏🙏Taylor and her fans deserve to celebrate the music!!”
RELATED VIDEO: Taylor Swift ‘Has No Regrets’ About Speaking Out Against Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta: Source
The newest claims come nearly five months since Swift’s last spat with Braun and Borchetta.
Back in June, Swift slammed Braun, who manages stars like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, upon learning that his Ithaca Holdings had acquired her former record label from Borchetta, essentially taking ownership of her masters.
Borchetta then defended Braun in a letter posted to his label’s website, writing: “As to her comments about ‘being in tears or close to it’ anytime my new partner Scooter Braun’s name was brought up, I certainly never experienced that.”
“Was I aware of some prior issues between Taylor and Justin Bieber? Yes. But there were also times where Taylor knew that I was close to Scooter and that Scooter was a very good source of information for upcoming album releases, tours, etc, and I’d reach out to him for information on our behalf,” Borchetta continued. “Scooter has always been and will continue to be a supporter and honest custodian for Taylor and her music.”
A source told PEOPLE late Friday that the singer is “extremely upset” over the recent AMAs drama.
“For Taylor to express her frustration and label it intimidation publicly, she is obviously extremely upset,” the source said. “This is something that has been frustrating to her for several months and it continues.”
The source adds that Swift, who has previously spoken out against Braun and Borchetta for alleged “manipulative bullying,” is not bothered by the backlash she may receive for sharing her side of the story.
“She is expressing her truth and doesn’t care what other people say,” the source explains. “This is her life and she finds the whole album catalog drama insanely wrong. She wants her fans to know what’s going on.”
“She is an artist who tries to share her music with her fans,” the source continues. “When she isn’t able to, she will obviously be upset about it.”