The battle over the rights to Taylor Swift’s music just went from bad to worse. If you’re a Swifty but can’t the breaking news straight, here’s the complicated timeline of her latest feud. It all began with Big Machine CEO, Scott Borchetta, selling Swift’s entire catalog of music to Scooter Braun for $300 million. Now, there’s “bad blood” between them all.
Taylor Swift signed with Universal Music Group in November 2018
To sum up, the ongoing feud about Swift’s artist rights succinctly is tricky. Swift left her former label, Big Machine, and signed with Universal Music Group. It all began last June when Justin Bieber’s manager, and founder of School Boy records, Braun, had bought the rights to Swift’s first six studio albums.
Swift said she didn’t know Braun acquired her albums until it went public. Swift then took to Tumbler to express her disappointment and frustration. In the post, she called out Borschetta, accusing him of taking advantage of her.
Swift had been with Big Machine since 2006 (when she was 14 years old).
“When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually, he would sell them. Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter,” she wrote. “He knew what he was doing; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them.”
Then, Justin Bieber got involved
Once news of Braun’s purchase made its way to Swift, she said it was her, “worst-case scenario.”
“Now Scooter has stripped me of my life’s work, that I wasn’t given an opportunity to buy,” she said. “Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.”
Almost immediately, Bieber weighed in to show support for Braun with an old photo of Swift and Bieber. What began as a vague apology, ended with Bieber emphasizing Braun’s innocence in the situation. At the end of that post, he also called Swift a “bully.”
Braun also manages Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and Kanye West (briefly). Swift noted her “illegally recorded snippet of a phone call” with West, Braun getting “his two clients together to bully [her] online” about it and West’s “revenge porn music video [“Famous”] which strips [her] body naked,” to prove his “incessant, manipulative bullying.”
Borchetta said he told Swift about the sale before it was announced
Like a Hollywood movie, Borchetta claimed he notified Swift of the sale as well as an outline of their agreement. There was confusion as to whether Scott Swift, Taylor’s dad, was on the board of directors and would’ve had the information beforehand.
Swift’s rep previously told People, “Scott Swift is not on the board of directors and has never been. On June 25, there was a shareholder phone call that Scott Swift did not participate in due to a very strict NDA that bound all shareholders and prohibited any discussion at all without risk of severe penalty.”
The spokesperson added, “Her dad did not join that call because he did not want to be required to withhold any information from his own daughter. Taylor found out from the news articles when she woke up before seeing any text from Scott Borchetta and he did not call her in advance.”
Swift announced she’d re-record her albums
During an interview on CBS Sunday Morning, Swift said she’d re-record her entire catalog but won’t be allowed until 2020.
“I knew he would sell my music. I knew he would do that. I couldn’t believe who he sold it to because we have had endless conversations about Scooter Braun, and he has 300 million reasons to forget those conversations.”
In Aug. 209, Swift’s new album, Lover, released to a slew of support. Among them was a post from Borchetta stating he was “proud.” Braun also offered congratulations on her “brilliant album” and claiming he’s always been a “believer.”
Swift’s ‘American Music Awards’ performance may not include former songs
The latest in this lengthy feud comes by way of the American Music Awards. Swift will be honored as Artist of the Decade. The problem? Swift said on Twitter that Borchetta and 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.”
She said they’re keeping her from using older music unless she agrees to terms she’s not comfortable with. Her claims extend to a Netflix documentary in which her older music also (allegedly) cannot be part of.
“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,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
“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.”
She urged fans to step up. “Please let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this,” she said.
The situation continues to escalate
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I said in an interview 13 years ago "I'm just hoping that I have a second album that does as well as the first and someday get to be a headliner, and always be the same person that I started out as.” Scrolling through your posts today has me feeling all the feelings & I want to thank you. Because of you, there was a 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th and 7th album. You guys made me into a headliner because you wanted to see me play. And your support all these years is what’s helped me stay true to that kid I was when I started out. #13yearsoftaylorswift
Because of that call to action, Braun’s Nashville, Tennessee office shut its doors Nov. 15. due to “threats,” according to Page Six. The company issued a statement insisting Swift’s narrative “does not exist.”
They also claim Swift owes, “millions of dollars and multiple assets.” The statement goes on to say, “We do not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere.”
They continued, “Despite our persistent efforts to find a private and mutually satisfactory solution, Taylor made a unilateral decision . . . to enlist her fan base in a calculated manner that greatly affects the safety of our employees and their families.”
This brings us to the present where the back-and-forth continues. Multiple celebrities — and even political figures — have taken sides in this epic brawl. With the AMA’s approaching, Swifties will have to wait and see if the singer will perform new stuff, or old.
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