Taylor Swift's Former Label Responds to Singer's Claims as She Insists 'They're Trying to Deflect'
The statement concluded by alleging that Taylor Swift is due millions in back royalties from her former label
Taylor Swift has doubled down on her claims that Scooter Braun and Big Machine Label Group co-founder Scott Borchetta are barring her from performing her old hits at the American Music Awards later this month.
A spokeswoman for the star issued an additional statement to PEOPLE following Big Machine’s own which denied Swift’s allegations and accused her of “false information.”
According the latest claims from 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.”
On Thursday afternoon, the multi-Grammy winner, 29, released a scathing Tumblr post, accusing Braun, 38, and her former label head Borchetta, 57, 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.
“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.”
In the most recent statement from Swift’s camp, they allege that BMLG “never actually deny either claim Taylor said last night in her post.”
In late June, Swift slammed Braun, who manages stars like Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, upon learning that his Ithaca Holdings had acquired her former record label from Borchetta, essentially taking ownership of her masters.
“Scooter has stripped me of my life’s work, that I wasn’t given an opportunity to buy. Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it,” she said, accusing Braun of using Justin Bieber and Kanye West to bully her on social media after a feud over West’s song lyrics on the track “Famous.”
Borchetta defended Braun in a letter posted to his label’s web site, 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.”
In September, Braun addressed his feud with the “Lover” singer in the latest episode of Tony Gonzalez’s Wide Open podcast.
“It’s hard when you get attacked and it’s not based on any truth, but for that other person it may be based in truth but they don’t have all the information,” he said. “And that’s why I am always open to communication and having a conversation with someone and saying, ‘Maybe this was a misunderstanding and I am happy to have the conversation with you.’ But not everybody is willing to do that and you can’t go through life thinking you’re going to be friends and everyone is going to like you.”
Braun added that he doesn’t “do anything with malicious intent,” despite what Swift and her supporters have said.
“I try to do the right thing,” he said. “Not everyone is going to be happy with what you do. I think in the long-term, I’ve learned this over time, the truth always comes out. And I am confident in that.”