The war of words continues between Taylor Swift‘s camp and Big Machine Label Group.
Taylor Swift publicist Tree Paine issued a statement on Friday (Nov. 15) denying Big Machine Label Group’s claim that the label did not try to block Swift from performing songs from her catalog of hits recorded during her time as a BMLG artist during the upcoming American Music Awards on Nov. 24, as well as from using the older material in an upcoming Netflix special.
Last night (Nov. 14), Swift spoke against SB Project’s Scooter Braun (manager of artists including Justin Bieber) and Big Machine Label Group’s Scott Borchetta, stating that the two music industry execs have refused to allow Swift to perform songs from her catalog of works recorded for Big Machine Label Group (Swift left Big Machine to join UMG in 2018) during an upcoming performance at the American Music Awards on Nov. 24, where Swift is slated to be honored as Artist of the Decade. Swift stated that Braun and Borchetta “claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year.” She also claimed that the two execs have declined her use of her older songs in an upcoming documentary on her life slated to be released by Netflix.
On Friday morning (Nov. 15), Big Machine Label Group issued a statement on its official site, saying, “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.” The company also said “Taylor has admitted to contractually owing millions of dollars and multiple assets to our company…”
Paine issued a response to Big Machine Label Group’s statement, noting that “they never actually deny either claim Taylor said last night in her post.” Paine also says “an independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million dollars 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 catalog 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.
“Please notice in Big Machine’s statement, they never actually deny either claim Taylor said last night in her post. Lastly, Big Machine is trying to deflect and make this about money by saying she owes them but, an independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties over several years.”
In June, Braun’s Ithaca Holdings acquired Big Machine, including the master recordings to Swift’s albums recorded under BMLG. In 2018, Swift announced her exit from BMLG and a new recording contract with Universal Music Group’s Republic Records.
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