Taylor Swift is not letting her ex-label Big Machine have the last word in the latest round of their protracted, he said/she said dispute over her music catalog.
Responding to the company's claim that they have put no restrictions on her music's use in an upcoming documentary and awards show performance, Swift's rep told Fox News on Friday that they were being less than truthful, stating that "Scott Borchetta, CEO and founder of Big Machine Label Group, flatly denied the request for both American Music Awards and Netflix."
Big Machine had earlier reacted to Swift’s claims that Borchetta and his business partner, Scooter Braun, aren’t allowing her to perform her own music. In a statement, the company denied allegations Swift made on social media Thursday in which she asked her fans for help. She claimed she had been barred from performing a medley of her hits when she’s honored at the American Music Awards as Artist of the Decade. She also alleged the duo is not allowing her music to be used in a documentary about her life for Netflix.
“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,” a statement released by Big Machine on Friday reads. “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’s statement is in stark contrast to what Swift alleged in her post on Thursday.
“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," Swift alleged.
Braun bought Big Machine, which includes the masters to Swift's first six albums, in a controversial move earlier this summer. Swift previously pledged to re-record all her albums in order to maintain ownership.
"Additionally [...] Netflix has created a documentary about my life for the past few years," Swift continued in her post. "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."
The company, however, claims that Swift is in debt to it to the tune of “millions of dollars” and has rejected requests to mediate the situation privately.
“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,” the statement continued. “We started to see progress over the past two weeks and were optimistic as recently as yesterday that this may 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.”
Swift's rep told Fox News that this, too, was not the whole truth. "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."
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 her initial post, Swift alleged that Borchetta "told my team that they'll allow me to use my music only if I do these things: If I agree not to 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."
The company’s statement concluded by addressing the artist directly and calling her out for allegedly not responding to its requests to mediate the situation without public mud-slinging.
“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 there is nothing but respect, kindness and support waiting for you on the other side,” the statement concluded. “To date, not one of the invitations to speak with us and work through this has been accepted. Rumors 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.”