Big Machine allows Taylor Swift to perform her old songs following dispute

It comes after Swift made a public plea to regain control of her own music.

Taylor Swift has been given the green light from her former label to perform her old music.

The news follows an apparent song licensing dispute between Swift, Scooter Braun, and Big Machine founder Scott Borchetta made public by Swift who was at a loss at how to resolve it. The 29-year-old pop star claimed that the two men were blocking her from performing older material at the upcoming AMA Awards and from using songs in a new Netflix documentary, the allegations of which they denied.

Today (November 18) Billboard reports that Big Machine Label Group has issued them a statement in which they agree to “grant all licenses of their artists” despite not mentioning Swift by name.


A representative for Big Machine said the company has green-lit performances to stream post-show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms. “It should be noted that recording artists do not need label approval for live performances on television or any other live media,” the statement reads on Billboard.

It continues: “Record label approval is only needed for contracted artists’ audio and visual recordings and in determining how those works are distributed.”

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift

Billboard noted further that Big Machine originally released what appeared to be a joint statement with dick clark productions, the production company behind the AMAs. However, dick clark productions has since told the publication that “at no time did dick clark productions agree to, create, authorize or distribute a statement in partnership with Big Machine Label Group regarding Taylor Swift’s performance at the 2019 American Music Awards. Any final agreement on this matter needs to be made directly with Taylor Swift’s management team. We have no further comment.”

Scooter Braun
Scooter Braun

The animosity between Swift and the two business partners dates back to June when Braun purchased Borchetta’s Big Machine label as part of a $300 million deal which includes the ownership of the singer’s six records – from her 2006 self-titled debut album through to 2017’s ‘Reputation’.


Swift accused music manager 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”.

Last week, Braun and Borchetta issued a statement denying Swift’s accusations. Part of it read: “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 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.”

But Swift’s team was quick to fire back, relaying what a spokesperson claimed was correspondence from Big Machine sent to Swift’s team on October 28 in which the label made it clear that it would not license her older songs for use in the Netflix documentary nor would it allow for Swift to perform old songs live at another event: Alibaba’s ‘Double Eleven’.

Meanwhile, earlier this year Swift stated that she planned to re-record her songs from the first six records in a bid to reclaim control of her music.

Yesterday (November 17) Swift received a message of support from US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The politician, who is often referred to as ‘AOC’, retweeted Swift’s original statement and added her own thoughts on how the case demonstrates a wider problem in America. “Private equity groups’ predatory practices actively hurt millions of Americans,” she said.

Swift is to be honoured with the Artist of the Decade Award at the AMA’s this Sunday, November 24, broadcast from 8pm ET on ABC.


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