BY JACKIE O’ROURKE
Assistant News Editor
On Nov. 24, Taylor Swift was honored with the Artist of the Decade award at the American Music Awards.
Swift and Big Machine Records, the label to which she was previously signed to, had a public back and forth argument, mainly through social media, about her performance prior to the AMAs.
“When I first heard about the controversy between Taylor Swift and Big Machine Records, I was astounded. As big and powerful as Taylor Swift is as an artist, she also is taken advantage of so often” said junior Mickey Pirro.
On Nov. 14, Taylor Swift took to social media to make an announcement that had people upset and angry on both sides of the argument. The post was titled “Don’t know what else to do” on Facebook. She posted the same content on her Instagram story and Twitter account.
“Guys – It’s been announced recently that the American Music Awards will be honoring me with the Artist of the Decade Award at this year’s ceremony. I’ve been planning to perform a medley of my hits throughout the decade on the show. 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. Additionally – and this isn’t the way I had planned on telling you this news – Netflix has created a documentary about my life for the past few years. 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.” said Swift in the opening of the post.
“I think it’s very unfair that Taylor Swift, or any artist for that matter, has to experience something like this. She’s a talented artist and she unfortunately can’t celebrate that for herself and that is what is the worst part.” said senior Quinn Garvey reacting to this post.
Over the summer, Scooter Braun, who manages artists such as Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, purchased Big Machine Records. Taylor Swift used to be signed to this label and recorded her first six albums with them.
According to AP, “In late June, Braun’s Ithaca Holdings announced that it had acquired Big Machine Label Group, which was led by Scott Borchetta and home to Swift’s first six albums, including the Grammy winners for album of the year, 2008′s ‘Fearless’ and 2014′s ‘1989.’”
With the purchase of the record label, Scooter Braun also purchased the masters to all of the music on Taylor Swift’s first six albums.
On June 23, Taylor Swift said on Tumblr, “Some fun facts about today’s news: I learned about Scooter Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world. All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years.”
“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. Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words ‘Scooter Braun’ escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to. He knew what he was doing; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them. In perpetuity. That means forever,” Swift continued in the post.
“Taylor has written every one of her songs, not Scooter Braun. Taylor sells out stadium tours, Scooter Braun does not. So why is he making money off her when he is not, and has never been, her manager? This infuriated me.” said Pirro.
Since then, Swift has made plans to rerecord her first six albums so that she can own the masters to those versions of her songs.
“When she was a young girl in her bedroom writing these songs, this was not what she imagined for their future,” said Garvey.
Scooter Braun spoke out on the matter on November 21 via Instagram. In his post, Braun said, “As the world knows you can and should perform any song you would like at the AMAS. I have never and would never say otherwise. You do not need anyone’s permission to do so legally but I am stating it here clearly and publicly so there is no debate or confusion.”
In the end, Swift did perform an over 10 minute medley of her hits throughout the decade at the American Music Awards. The show took place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and aired on live television through ABC.
The performance included her songs, “The Man,” “Love Story,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “Blank Space,” “Shake It Off,” and “Lover.”
While not addressing the prior drama directly, opening the performance, Swift wore a white jacket with the names of her first six albums in bold black font on it while singing the lyrics, “I’m so sick of running As fast as I can, Wondering if I’d get there quicker If I was a man, And I’m so sick of them, Coming at me again, ’Cause if I was a man, Then I’d be the man.”
“Moving forward I would like to find a resolution. I will make myself available whenever works for you. Many have told me that a meeting will never happen as this is not about truth or resolution but instead a narrative for you. I am hopeful that is not the case. I’m right here, ready to speak directly and respectfully. But if you would prefer to make large public statements while refusing to work towards resolving things amicably then I just pray that nobody gets seriously hurt in the process. I continue to wish you the best and hope we can resolve this,” said Braun.