Earlier this year, Scooter bought Big Machine in a deal worth around £237 million, which meant that the music manager – who looks after acts like Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande – was the owner of the master recordings to star’s first six albums.
At the time, Taylor voiced her anger and disappointment at the deal, claiming she had been “bullied” by Scooter in the past. Late on Thursday night, she then accused him and Big Machine founder Scott Borchetta of preventing her from performing her old hits at the upcoming American Music Awards and in a new Netflix special.
In an impassioned statement posted on social media, she wrote: “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.
“The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished.
“This is WRONG. Neither of these men had a hand in the writing of those songs. They did nothing to create the relationship I have with my fans.”
Big Machine Label Group has now shared their side of the story, claiming they were “shocked” by Taylor’s statement, which they suggested was “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,” they wrote.
It should be noted that Taylor didn’t accuse Big Machine of stopping her from performing, but specifically from performing songs that they held the masters to, but let’s read on.
They cotninued: “Since Taylor’s decision to leave Big Machine last fall, we have continued to hono[u]r all of her requests to license her catalog[ue] to third parties as she promotes her current record in which we do not financially participate.
“The truth is, Taylor has admitted to contractually owing millions of dollars and multiple assets to our company, which is responsible for 120 hardworking employees who helped build her career. We have worked diligently to have a conversation about these matters with Taylor and her team to productively move forward.We started to see progress over the past two weeks and were optimistic as recently as yesterday that this may get resolved.
“However, 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.”
Addressing the singer directly, their statement ends: “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.
“To date, not one of the invitations to speak with us and work through this has been accepted. Rumo[u]rs fester in the absence of communication. Let’s not have that continue here. We share the collective goal of giving your fans the entertainment they both want and deserve.”
The singer’s spokeswoman has already shared a rebuttal, accusing the label of “trying to deflect” by making the situation about money.
She said: “To avoid an argument over rights, Taylor performed three songs off her new album Lover at [a recent event for video game developer Double Eleven] as it was clear that Big Machine Label Group felt any televised performance of catalog[ue] songs violated her agreement.
“In addition, yesterday Scott Borchetta, CEO and founder of Big Machine Label Group, flatly denied the request for both American Music Awards and Netflix. Please notice in Big Machine’s statement, they never actually deny either claim Taylor said last night in her post.
“Lastly, Big Machine is trying to deflect and make this about money by saying she owes them but, an independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties over several years.”
Since her statement late last night, Taylor has won support from a number of her fellow musicians, including Lily Allen, her close friend Selena Gomez and Halsey, who was among the first to support her when her feud with Scooter Braun was first made public.
Taylor signed with Universal Music Group in November last year, in a deal ensuring she maintained the rights to her work.
In August, Taylor announced that she planned to record brand new versions of her back catalogue from November next year.