Taylor Swift Says She Can’t Perform Her Old Songs

Published on November 15, 2019

In less than two weeks, Taylor Swift is being honored at the 2019 American Music Awards with the Artist of the Decade award. However, her performance of her past hits might not be happening anymore.

The Grammy winning songstress took to social media Thursday night to tell the world that Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun are attempting to keep her from performing her greatest hits due to legal reasons.

Borchetta, her former label head at Big Machine Records, and his new partner Braun previously made headlines after the two partnered up this past summer. Swift posted her feelings on social media in June saying their agreement was her “worst case scenario.” The singer wanted to be able to own her work, but claimed Big Machine Records wasn’t being cooperative. She also wrote about her distaste for Braun, calling him a “bully.”

The Social Media Post

It seems as though things have not gotten any better. According to Swift’s post, Big Machine told her she wasn’t allowed to perform any of her old songs at the AMA’s. They said it would be akin to her re-recording her music before she’s legally allowed to in 2020. She also revealed that they gave her an ultimatum. She can perform her old songs if she does two things- agrees to not re-record her old songs next year and stops talking about Borchetta and Braun.

“This is WRONG,” Swift said. “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.”

Swift then made a plea to her fans to tell Borchetta and Braun how they feel about the situation.

“Scooter also manages several artists who I really believe care about other artists and their work,” Swift said. “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.”

Swift also revealed that Netflix is working on a documentary about her life. However, Borchetta and Braun disapproved the use of her old music and performance footage.

“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,” Swift said. “Right now my performance at the AMAs, the Netflix documentary and any other recorded events I am planning to play until November of 2020 are a question mark.”

Big Machine Records’ Response

The record label released a statement early this morning and denied some of Swift’s allegations. The group claimed they were “shocked” by what Swift had posted and that they never said she couldn’t perform her old songs or use them for her Netflix documentary. Then the statement took a turn, and Big Machine called out the songstress for owing them money.

“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,” Big Machine said in the statement.

The label then called Swift out for enlisting her fans “in a calculated manner that greatly affects the safety” of their employees and families. Big Machine asked for “a direct and honest conversation” to happen between Swift and the company and claimed Swift was refusing to talk to them.

“When [a conversation] happens, you will see there is nothing but respect, kindness and support waiting for you on the other side.” the statement said. “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.”

The Reaction Online

The hashtag “IStandWithTaylor” was trending worldwide last night. Fans flooded social media, and celebrities, such as Halsey, Selena Gomez and Gigi Hadid also responded to the situation in support of Taylor.

“Scott and Scooter, you know what the right thing to do is,” Hadid tweeted. “Taylor and her fans deserve to celebrate the music.”

A fan named Jade Rossi also started a Change.org petition to try and help Swift. The petition has gathered over 70,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.

“Letting them get away with this will continue the disgusting sexism of the music industry as well as manipulation of smaller/upcoming artists who just want to create art,” Rossi wrote. “Please sign this petition to show these cruel men as well as The Carlyle Group that we, as listeners and fans and consumers, will not stand for this.”

After Big Machine released their statement, the online reaction seemed to still lean toward siding with the songstress. On-air personality Tim Froggy tweeted: “This is the best you could come up with? Taylor Swift is now responsible for the safety of you employees? You need a better PR person.”

US Weekly reports that Swift’s spokeswoman responded to the label company by citing the message they sent to Swift’s team.

“Scott Borchetta, CEO and founder of Big Machine Label Group, flatly denied the request for both American Music Awards and Netflix,” Swift’s spokeswoman said. “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.”

Ashli Ellerman is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. A graduate of University of Missouri's Columbia School of Journalism, she's a former editor at Vox. She covers music brands and breaking consumer news at Grit Daily.

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