Big Machine has released a statement following the allegation levelled against the label by one of their own, Taylor Swift, saying they were “shocked” to see Swift’s social media posts “based on false information.”
Taylor Swift had on Thursday alleged that Big Machine was blocking her from performing her early hits songs during the AMAs, and are also not letting her use footage of herself performing the songs for a new Netflix documentary about her life.
Taylor Swift also claimed that Big Machine offered her another heartless deal that would let her use her old songs must but at a price.
“Scott Borchetta 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.” (Taylor previously revealed her intentions to re-record her old music once her contact allows her to after Nov. 2020, so that she could own the masters to the new versions).
She also begged fans to make their feelings about the situation known to Scooter and Scott. She also urged her loyal followers to nudge other artists who are managed by Scooter to speak up. “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,” Taylor said. “I just want to be able to perform MY OWN music. That’s it. I tried to work this out privately through my team, but have not been able to resolve anything.”
Big Machine in reacting to these allegations, said: “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. 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 honour all of her requests to license her catalogue to third parties as she promotes her current record, in which we do not financially participate. The truth is, Taylor has admitted to contractually owing millions of dollars and multiple assets to our company, which is responsible for 120 hardworking employees who helped build her career.
We have worked diligently to have a conversation about these matters with Taylor and her team to productively move forward. We started to see progress over the past two weeks and were optimistic as recently as yesterday that this might 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. 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 that 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. Rumours fester in the absence of communication. Let’s not have that continue here. We share the collective goal of giving your fans the entertainment they both want and deserve” the statement said.
Swift’s publicist Tree Paine subsequently tweeted a response to Big Machine, in which she points out that in the label’s statement “they never actually deny either claim Taylor said last night in her post,” and argues that the label owes Swift “$7.9 million of unpaid royalties over several years.”
Paine writes, “The truth is, on October 28, 2019 at 5:17 p.m. the Vice President, Rights Management and Business Affairs from Big Machine label group sent Taylor Swift’s team the following: ‘Please be advised that BMLG will not agree to issue licenses for existing recordings or waivers of its re-recording restrictions in connection with these two projects: The Netflix documentary and The Alibaba ‘Double Eleven’ event.’ 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 catalogue songs violated her agreement. In addition, yesterday Scott Borchetta, CEO and founder of Big Machine Label Group, flatly denied the request for both American Music Awards and Netflix” she said.
We await to see where each party take this drama to, and it could possibly lead to a legal battle, which will be an interesting one, while we are also waiting for others in singers in Big Machine to speak up on the issue, either for or against.