Taylor Swift has issued a lengthy statement claiming that Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta have blocked her from using and performing her own songs – since the pair involved in the controversial sale and purchase of her back catalogue earlier this year.
Borchetta is the founder Swift’s former label Big Machine, who sold her back catalog to Scooter Braun’s company in the summer as part of a $300 million deal which includes the ownership of her first six records – from her 2006 self-titled debut album through to 2017’s ‘Reputation’.
Swift accused music mogul Braun of “incessant manipulative bullying” and claimed she was “sad and grossed out” when it emerged that Braun controlled her master records, before he claimed that he had “no malicious intent” and “did everything aboard”. In a bid to reclaim control of her music, Swift stated that she planned to re-record her songs from the first six records.
Now, the singer-songwriter has posted a lengthy statement across her social media, claiming that Borchetta and Braun are blocking her from performing her old songs at televised events, after she had hoped to play them at the upcoming AMA Awards and use them in a new Netflix documentary. She also accused them of only allowing her to use her old music again if she agrees to not re-record her song and if she stops talking about the pair and their controversial actions.
Swift stated that she was speaking out for transparency, as well as calling on her fans to let Borchetta and Braun know how they feel about the situation, and asking for solidarity among her fellow artists. “The message being sent to me is very clear,” she concluded. “Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished.”
Swift’s full statement reads:
“Guys – It’s been announced recently that the American Music Awards will be honoring me with the Artist of the Decade Award at this year’s ceremony. 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. Additionally – and 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. 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.
“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.
“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. The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished.
“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.
“Please let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this. Scooter also manages several artists 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. I’m especially asking for help from The Carlyle Group, who put up money for the sale of my music to these two men.
“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. Right now my performance at the AMA’s, the Netflix documentary and any other recorded events I am planning to play until November of 2020 are a question mark.
“I love you guys and I thought you should know what’s been going on.
Don’t know what else to do pic.twitter.com/1uBrXwviTS
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 14, 2019
Since her claims came to light, a petition has been launched on Change.org to allow Swift the right to use her songs, and #IStandWithTaylor started trending across Twitter – with a number of fellow artists and industry figures also voicing their support.
“Solidarity with Taylor here,” wrote Lily Allen, “this sounds awful, and people wonder why music hasn’t had its #MeToo moment ?”
— LILYALLEN2.0 (@lilyallen) November 15, 2019
I’m with @taylorswift13. I don’t know shit about the music industry, but I know how it feels to be patronized and manipulated by powerful men. STICK IT TO THE MAN SIS! We got you
— Demi Burnett (@demi_burnett) November 15, 2019
I 100% stand with Taylor Swift. ?
— SaraBeth (@SBSwags) November 15, 2019
This is public info, so I won’t be suspended for sharing it. @TaylorSwift13 would like you to reach out to Christa Zipf and anyone else you may know at Carlyle, as well as @ArianaGrande and @DDLovato, who are managed by @ScooterBraun. And @JustinBieber’s also managed by him too. pic.twitter.com/MTIkYIVXoG
— Perez (@ThePerezHilton) November 15, 2019
Braun and Borchetta are yet to respond to Swift’s new claims. However, defending his actions back in September, Braun said: “I don’t do anything with malicious intent. I try to do things above board. I try to do the right thing.
“Not everyone’s going to be happy with everything that you do, and I think in the long-term – I’ve learned this over time – the truth always comes out, and I’m confident in that.”
At the time that news of the acquisition first broke in July, Borchetta claimed: “100 per cent of all Taylor Swift assets were to be transferred to her immediately upon signing the new agreement. We were working together on a new type of deal for our new streaming world that was not necessarily tied to ‘albums’ but more of a length of time.”
“We are an independent record company,” he wrote. “We do not have tens of thousands of artists and recordings. My offer to Taylor, for the size of our company, was extraordinary. But it was also all I could offer as I am responsible for dozens of artists’ careers and over 120 executives and their families.”
Borchetta also alleged that Swift had the chance to own her masters, videos, photographs and “everything associated to her career”, but “she chose to leave”.
Swift’s team denied these claims.
After releasing her acclaimed new album ‘Lover’ in August, Swift announced details of a lengthy US and European festival tour for summer 2020 – sparking speculation that she could be heading to the UK, with her name appearing among the rumoured Glastonbury 2020 headliners.