Taylor Swift says she can’t perform her early music for AMAs
Losing the rights to her early music catalog continues to cause trouble, trouble, trouble for singer Taylor Swift.
Swift on Thursday claimed an ongoing dispute with her former music label has presented a new roadblock as she is being told she cannot perform many songs from her past at the upcoming American Music Awards or use it in a forthcoming Netflix documentary about her life, which has been in production for several years.
Swift’s disclosure of this latest rights issue comes months after she spoke publicly about her displeasure with a deal that saw music manager Scooter Braun take control of her old catalog after he acquired her former music label, Big Machine Label Group.
“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,” Swift wrote.
Braun’s Ithaca Holdings acquired Big Machine Label Group from founder Borchetta in late June. The deal was worth roughtly $300 million, according Billboard.
“Scott Bocchetta 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,” Swift wrote. “The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished.”
In a statement to CNN, Big Machine Records denied that the company has prevented Swift from performing at the AMAs or blocked the Netflix special.
“Taylor, the narrative you have created does not exist. All we ask is to have a direct and honest conversation. When that happens, you will see there is nothing but respect, kindness and support waiting for you on the other side,” the statement read in part. “We share the collective goal of giving your fans the entertainment they both want and deserve.”
Swift said she thinks sharing her experience “could change the awareness level for other artists and potentially help them avoid a similar fate.”
“This is WRONG. Neither of these men had a hand in the writing of those songs. They did nothing to create the relationship I have with my fans. So this is where I’m asking for your help,” she wrote. “Please let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this.”
Swift had been signed to Big Machine from her 2006 self-titled debut album through 2017’s “Reputation,” before moving to Universal Music Group.
The sale prevents Swift from owning the first six albums in her catalog. She told CBS Sunday Morning of her plans to re-record her earlier music.
The public dispute that has followed since the sale has both sides finding their defenders.
In an Instagram post, Justin Bieber, who is managed by Braun, appealed to Swift, saying, “I’m sure Scooter and i would love to talk to you and resolve any conflict, pain or or any feelings that need to be addressed.” But he also took issue with Swift making the issue public, saying doing so to “get people to hate on scooter isn’t fair.”
“What were you trying to accomplish by posting that blog? seems to me like it was to get sympathy u also knew that in posting that your fans would go and bully Scooter,” he wrote.
Braun’s wife, Yael Cohen, also came to his defense.
In her post on Thursday, Swift appealed to other artists managed by Braun “who I really believe care about other artists and their work.”
“Please ask them for help with this – I’m hoping that maybe they can talk some sense into the men who are exercising tyrannical control over someone who just wants to play the music she wrote,” she said. “I’m especially asking for help from The Carlyle Group, who put up money for the sale of my music to these two men.”
Braun also manages Ariana Grande and the Zac Brown band.
“I just want to be able to perform MY OWN music. That’s it. I’ve tried to work this out privately through my team but have not been able to resolve anything,” Swift added. “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.”
CNN’s Chloe Melas and Marianne Garvey contributed to this report.