The feud that’s been brewing for over a year now has taken quite a few twists and turns over the past couple of months. Taylor Swift, Scooter Braun, and Scott Borchetta have been at odds for a while now, but recently, things have heated up yet again.
We all know Taylor Swift: seven studio album artist, Grammy Award winner, one of America’s sweethearts. But most people don’t know Scooter Braun nor Scott Borchetta. Scooter Braun is the man who “discovered” Justin Bieber on YouTube all those years ago and is now a big-time record executive that represents artists such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Demi Lovato. Scott Borchetta is the founder and current CEO of Big Machine Label Group. BMLG encompasses Big Machine Records, BMLG Records, The Valory Music Co., and Nash Icon Records. On June 30, the world found out that Braun had purchased BMLG and with it, Taylor Swift’s entire music catalog. All of her masters were now technically owned by Braun. Swift did share that she was given the “opportunity” to “earn” back the masters to each of her previous studio albums with every new album she created with the company. Instead of doing this, Swift left and signed with Republic and UMG in November of 2018.
Over the past month, there have been new problems among the three, and Swift certainly has not been shy in sharing her side in the matter. She took to social media to share with her followers what has really been going on. Braun and Borchetta were allegedly preventing Swift from performing any of her songs prior to her latest album, “Lover,” at the 2019 American Music Awards that took place on Nov. 24. Swift was honored with the Artist of the Decade award and would subsequently be giving a performance in celebration of that.Swift also shared that the two were apparently also blocking her from using any of those songs in a previously unannounced documentary about the singer that would be produced by Netflix. The two men have denied the allegations of preventing Swift from singing her songs at the AMA’s; however, they did not address the issue with the documentary.
Legality issues aside, an artist should not have to fight with their record label to be able to “legally” sing their own songs at an awards show or use them in a documentary. An artist’s masters should be their own. The work that they put into creating studio albums, let alone seven studio albums, should be reflected in the sense that they have ownership of said work. The studio may have helped in the process of marketing, creation, and other various instances, but the artist is who truly made the work what it is. The studio does not deserve to completely own any of the artist’s work, especially when, without said artist, their label would most definitely not be nearly as successful as it is now.
It has been reported that Swift’s work has made up nearly 80% of BMLG’s total revenue. In other words, without her, BMLG would have probably never succeeded as it did with her. In all honesty, I do not understand all of (or most of) the legalities that are in play with this particular issue. But what I do know is that an artist should be able to perform, use, or re-record any and all of their already recorded music. There should not be an argument over whether any big, bad CEOs should be entitled to ownership of said artist’s music. That is just ridiculous.
Many celebrities came to Swift’s defense after she posted on social media explaining her side of the issue. Celebs such as Gigi Hadid and Tinashe took to Twitter to show their support for Swift and their hatred for the power Brauna and Borchetta were trying to forcefully take from her.
Swift did, in end up performing a medley of her previous hits at the AMA’s, much to the delight of her fans everywhere. This issue hasn’t come to an end with just that. Record labels, studios, and the people who run them too often feel entitled to the work that they think they “made”.
An artist has a right to the ownership of their work and shouldn’t have to fight day in and day out to make sure no one can take it from them.