Swifties can breathe a (partial) sigh of relief now that Taylor Swift has reached a deal with her former label to perform as expected at the American Music Awards this Sunday. While the bigger issue surrounding the copyright of the singer’s music and the he-said-she-said of the whole thing hasn’t been resolved, at the very least, we’ll get a live Taylor performance this weekend.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Dick Clark Productions (which produces the AMAs) has come to an agreement with Big Machine Records (Swift’s former label founded by Scott Borchetta and sold to Scooter Braun) “that approves their artists’ performances to stream post show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms.”
This development is either incredibly important or completely irrelevant depending on who you ask. Taylor will be the recipient of the AMA Artist of the Decade Award which was supposed to be accompanied by a decade-spanning performance of her greatest hits from 2009 to today. However, it seemed Taylor was having a tough time getting the OK from Big Machine Records which owns her music up until this year’s Lover.
Last week, Taylor took to Twitter to write that Big Machine Records wouldn’t let her play any of the music she recorded with the label at the AMAs or in a previously unannounced Netflix documentary. While Swifties the world over were immediately outraged at the revelation, the label released a statement disputing the fact they were blocking Taylor from performing her music live and adding, “Taylor has admitted to contractually owing millions of dollars and multiple assets to our company.”
Big Machine maintains that it allows talent to do live performances of their copyrighted material without seeking label approval. The new deal specifies, “Recording artists do not need label approval for live performances on television or any other live media. Record label approval is only needed for contracted artists’ audio and visual recordings and in determining how those works are distributed.” Those sentences seem to have been added by the company to reiterate its stance that there was no intention to block Taylor from performing her music.
This public Big Machine vs. Taylor drama started back in July when Taylor wrote a lengthy Tumblr post about how she’s been trying to attain the rights to her old music for years with little success. To add insult to injury, she also alleged that Scooter Braun (the new owner of Big Machine) had “bullied” her at her “lowest point.” Later in the summer, Taylor revealed that she would be re-recording her old music catalogue to hopefully regain the rights to those songs. It’s not clear if that solution is allowed by her contract, but it doesn’t look like Taylor is letting up in the battle for her music.
Basically, the whole thing has turned into a massive he-said-she-said with music industry heavyweights picking sides and a lot of legal jargon that may or may not be real getting thrown around.
After this new deal, it seems Taylor has the green light (whether she needed it or not) to perform at the American Music Awards as expected. So we can get pumped for a stellar show of everything Taylor from “Our Song” to “Love Story” to “Bad Blood” to “Look What You Made Me Do” to “Lover.”
The American Music Awards air Nov 24 at 8ET on CTV.