To say that the war between Taylor Swift and her old label Big Machine Records is “getting ugly” would insinuate that it was never fairly repugnant to begin with. After Big Machine founder Scott Borchetta sold the label to Ithaca Holding and effectively gave Scooter Braun total control of her back catalog—which consists of her first six albums—it has been a contentious battle between an artist who wants to own her own art and the big wigs who want to continue to profit off of it. Last night, matters escalated when Swift released a statement via her social media claiming that both her intended medley at the American Music Awards, where she is to be dubbed the Artist Of The Decade, and a Netflix documentary that she has been quietly filming for years are in jeopardy after Braun and Borchetta blocked her ability to perform/reference her old music. This, she feels, is in retaliation for announcing plans to re-record her old music.
After calling on her fans to apply some pressure to her old label and the potentially influential artists it still work with, Big Machine Label Group released a statement to Page Six claiming that Swift’s narrative is inaccurately skewed:
“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. 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.”
Per Page Six, the statement went on to claim that Swift still owes Braun and Borchetta up to $7 million and that they were optimistic up to “as recently as yesterday”—when Swift dropped the Tumblr call-to-action— that the matter would be resolved privately: “...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.”
Before Braun and Borchetta’s statement even had the chance to cool down, Swift’s camp fired its own shot when publicist Tree Paine released a response via Twitter. She got right to the point:
The rep’s statement claims that Borchetta “flatly denied the request for both American Music Awards and Netflix.” In regards to the claim that Swift owes $7 million, Paine alleges that the exact opposite is true and that “an independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties over seven years.” If there was ever a time to perform a rousing rendition of “Bad Blood,” this would be it. We hope that this gets resolved sooner than later. The woman can’t be resigned to just sing “Lover” for the rest of her days.