Taylor Swift’s Battle for Song Rights Intensifies

Nora Toscano, Reporter

Taylor Swift was recently announced to win the Artist of the Decade Award at the American Music Awards this year.  Fans were excited to hear that she will be performing a medley of her songs at the AMAs, but were disappointed that she may not be able to perform certain songs.

Big Machine Label Group, her old music label, was sold to a company owned by Scooter Braun, which now owns Swift’s first six albums.  Apparently, Braun does not want to let her perform some of her older songs because that would be ‘re-recording’ them, which, according to her contract, she isn’t able to do until next year. The songs might also not be featured in an upcoming Netflix film about her. Swift wrote, “Scott Bocchetta told my team that they’ll allow me to use my music only if I do these things: If I agree to not 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 message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished.”

Braun rebutted in a statement to CNN, “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. …We share the collective goal of giving your fans the entertainment they both want and deserve.”  Later, an executive of Big Machine Label group also said that they never tried to stop her from performing the songs in the first place, saying, “Taylor Swift can 100% perform all of her catalog, past and present, on the AMAs. Big Machine has no issue with her performance going out on the live broadcast, because it recognizes it doesn’t have the right to block her.”  A spokesperson for Swift paints a different picture, claiming that Big Machine denied her appeals to use her music at the AMAs and in the Netflix film and Swift is owed millions from the company in unpaid royalties. The label argues the opposite, saying Swift owes the label millions instead. Overall, there is a lot of confusion as to if performing the songs is really considered rerecording them and as to whether or not she will be able to perform them at the AMAs and use them in the Netflix film.

Through all of this confusion, Swift has reached out to her fan base through social media, asking them for support.  Several celebrities have sided with her, including Selena Gomez, Camilla Cabello, Iggy Azalea, and Halsey. Gomez wrote in an Instagram story, “My heart is so heavy right now. It makes me sick and extremely angry. (I don’t mind if there may be retaliation) this is my opinion. It’s greed, manipulation and power. There is no heart or thought of anyone elses. No respect for the words my friend has written since she was a 14 year old in her bedroom. You’ve robbed and crushed one of our best songwriters of our time an opportunity to celebrate all of her music with fans and the world.”  

Hopefully, the situation will be sorted out, and with luck, we’ll get to see the songs that made us fall in love with Taylor Swift years ago performed on the AMA stage.