Taylor Swift Feuds with Big Machine Label Group

Swift's struggle with Big Machine continues amidst the pandemic.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Swift's struggle with Big Machine continues amidst the pandemic.

Lilyann Belcher, Staff Writer

Ten months after a very public social media feud, Taylor Swift is begging fans not to buy her new album- Live From Clear Channel Stripped 2008-a recording of her 2008 live radio performance.  Swift claims the album is being released by Big Machine Label Group without her consent and is “just another case of shameless greed in the time of Coronavirus.”

In the Instagram story, Swift claims entertainment executive Scott “Scooter” Braun is broke after buying Big Machine Records which gave him control of her previous masters- a collection of over 90 of her hits. 

“It looks to me like Scooter Braun and his financial backers, 23 Capital, Alex Soros and the Soros family, and the Carlyle Group have seen the latest balance sheets and realized that paying $300 million for my music wasn’t exactly a wise choice and they need money,” she said in the post.

The music mayhem began in June of 2019 when Braun and his group bought Big Machine Label Group from Scott Borchetta, who signed Swift at the start of her career when she was 15.  Braun already owned the music from Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Kanye West (West and Tay-Tay have had an equally public singer’s spat for the last 11 years).  She has accused Braun of backing her social media “bullies,” such as Bieber and West, causing her hostility towards the sale. 

The record deal row continued into the winter when Swift was nominated for Artist of the Decade by the American Music Academy.  Her performance on the nationally televised awards program was set to include the songs she had written over the last ten years, such as Shake It Off and Love Story.  Braun, however, argued she could not do so, at least, not without permission from the Big Machine Label Group. 

After Swift used her fan base, dubbed “Swifties,” to beg Braun to let her perform her own music, Braun gave into the demands of the social media protest and allowed Swift to perform her hits at the awards show.

Braun said, after the concession, that he would not participate in the social media drama but posted his response on Instagram later that day.  In the lengthy Instagram post, Braun urged Swift to meet with him so he could talk to her personally.  He referenced death threats he and his family have received since their spat made headlines and said he never intended to make her feel “cornered or bullied.” 

Swift seemed to address the spat with Braun when she opened with her new single “The Man,” wearing a t-shirt with the titles of her albums now owned by Braun.  While she did not directly mention Braun, like Taylor’s refrains, the message was loud and clear- she and Braun were never ever getting back together.

The singers’ squabble prompted other celebrities to take sides, but the alliances were predictable.  Swift’s best friend Selena Gomez and other supporters, such as Halsey, publicly declared their allegiance to Miss Americana, while Braun’s clients, such as Kanye West, sided with the entertainment executive.

Since the sale to Braun, Swift, whose deal with Big Machine expired, has signed with Universal Music Group/Republic, who says she will own the rights to all her future masters recorded with them.  However, the April 2020 release of the radio performance proves the pop singer has no control over her original masters and will be forced to fight with Braun if she hopes to ever control them again.