Taylor Swift has been battling her old label Big Machine Records for ownership of her first six albums since early this summer. Yesterday, in a lengthy statement, she accused execs Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun of legally gagging her from performing her Big Machine-era music — which she planned to do at the American Music Awards (where she's being honored with "Artist of the Decade") as well as in a forthcoming Netflix project.
Brauna and Borchetta are denying Swift's story start to finish.
"We were shocked to see her Tumblr statements yesterday based on false information," they said in a statement from Big Machine Records and Braun's SB Projects, via Variety. It continues, "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."
Rather than withholding Swift's catalogue, the duo claim the pop star has "admitted to contractually owing millions of dollars and career assets to our company" and refused repeated invitations to work through the conflict.
The statement is ruthless in painting Swift's claims as a ploy for sympathy and an act of revenge. "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" it reads, continuing, "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."
Swift fired back quickly today with receipts. She provided an email from Big Machine detailing the recorded performance gag to Variety, which confirms they've seen the document but haven't "independently verified it." The email states that the label "will not agree to issue licenses for existing recordings or waivers of its re-recording restrictions" in connection with the Netflix documentary. Swift's spokesperson says that yesterday Borchetta "flatly denied the request for both American Music Awards and Netflix."
Her camp argues "Big Machine is trying to deflect and make this about money… but an independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes taylor $7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties." In Swift's original statement, the whole ordeal is Big Machine's way of trying to stop her from re-recording and taking full ownership over her full masters.
"I feel very strongly that sharing what is happening to me could change the awareness level for other artists and potentially help them avoid a similar fate," she wrote. "The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up."
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