Taylor Swift Knew They Were Trouble: The feud for the ownership of her music continues 

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Taylor Swift is arguably one of the most successful and talented artists of the decade, punctuated by Billboard’s announcement that they will honor her with the inaugural Woman of the Decade award at the 2019 Women in Music Event later this year. However, she’s been plagued with a disproportionate amount of drama and backlash concerning her character and music. The latest in the saga with Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta, who have been associated with her former record label, Big Machine Records, prompted Swift to post on her social media last week about their preventing her performing any of her old music (i.e., any recorded music prior to “Lover”) at the upcoming American Music Awards. Yesterday, Big Machine issued a statement that will allow her to perform her older hits at the show, but there’s still the issue of the label legally owning her music until November of next year.  

“I’ve been planning to perform a medley of my hits throughout the decade on the show [American Music Awards Ceremony],” Swift said in a post released last Thursday on multiple platforms of social media, titled “Don’t know what else to do.” “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 also discussed how Braun and Borchetta have blocked her from using her old music in a Netflix documentary that is being made about her life. 

“This isn’t the way I had planned on telling you this news — Netflix has created a documentary about my life for the past few years,” Swift’s post said. “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.” 


Big Machine’s reply to Swift’s public comment denied blocking her performance or use of music in her Netflix documentary, but Swift’s representative told Fox News that the label’s response is not the whole truth either. 

This is just the latest in the star’s long-waging battle to gain ownership over her own music. Earlier this year, Swift spoke out about her displeasure with the label legally owning her music, and how she contractually cannot use it until next year, which is a large discredit to her work as an artist. Artists have come to her defense during the incident in the summer and in this most recent situation. Swift has been planning to re-record all of her old songs in November 2020, which is when her contract legally allows her to do so, as discussed in an article by Vox. However, Swift’s post also detailed how Borchetta told her team that she can use her music if she agrees not to re-record her songs next year and if she stops talking about Braun and him. She expressed the hope that the same thing does not happen to other artists. 

“I feel very strongly that sharing what is happening to me could change the awareness level for other artists and potentially help them avoid a similar fate,” Swift’s post said. 

She issued a plea for others to let Braun and Borchetta know how they feel about the situation, in the hopes that the ban be lifted, which was eventually addressed in a general statement by Big Machine. 

Yesterday, Big Machine “agreed to grant all licenses of their artists’ performances to stream post-show and for rebroadcast on mutually approved platforms” and Dick Clark Productions, which produces the AMAs, clarified that “recording artists do not need label approval for live performances on television or any other live media.”  

Hopefully, Swift can shake it off and put on a stellar performance at the AMAs on Dec. 12, unmarred by any further drama. It’s what she deserves after all her success this decade. 

Thumbnail photo courtesy of @taylorswift Instagram


Hollie Lao is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at hollianne.lao@uconn.edu.

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