Taylor Swift had planned to perform a medley of hit songs from throughout her career when she takes the stage later this month to celebrate being named Artist of the Decade at the American Music Awards. But the pop star may have to rethink her performance because talent manager Scooter Braun, who now owns the rights to her previous albums, won’t let her perform them, Swift says.
The artist wrote to social media Thursday that Braun, who recently bought her first six studio albums, is interfering with the performance, the latest development in a monthslong feud with the manager and her former label’s chief executive, Scott Borchetta.
“Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun have now said that I’m not allowed to perform my old songs on television because they claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed next year,” Swift said.”
The 29-year-old also claimed that the two men, who own all of her music except the songs from “Lover,” which was released in August, have refused to allow her older songs to be used in an upcoming Netflix documentary about her career.
“The message being sent to me is very clear,” Swift wrote. “Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished.”
Neither Braun nor Borchetta immediately responded to a request for comment from NBC News.
Swift’s criticism of both Braun and Borchetta, who runs her former label Big Machine Records, is the latest development in a drama that brought increased attention to artist’s ownership rights over their music.
The pop star posted on Tumblr on June 30 that she lost the rights to own the master copies of her first six albums. That catalog includes everything from her self-titled debut album “Taylor Swift,” which released 13 years ago, to the 2017 “reputation” album.
Swift claimed in her post that she spent years attempting to gain ownership of the master recordings but eventually chose to leave the label rather than sign on to a new contract because she assumed Borchetta would sell the company regardless.
Big Machine Records and Swift parted ways last year and she signed with Universal Music Group. Big Machine Label Group was acquired by a holding group led by Braun in June.
She has called Braun’s ownership of her catalog her worst nightmare and said the manager had bullied her relentlessly over the years. Swift has since announced that she intends to regain control of her music catalog by re-recording songs next year once she is legally permitted.
But in the meantime, ownership of Grammy-nominated hits such as “Blank Space” and “You Belong With Me” still belong to Braun and Borchetta.
“This is WRONG. Neither of these men had a hand in the writing of those songs,” Swift wrote Thursday. “They did nothing to create the relationship I have with my fans.”
Swift is urging fans to express frustration about the situation to Braun, Borchetta and artists under Braun’s management. She said that she believes Braun’s artists, inclding Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato, truly care about ownership of their work.
“Please ask them for help with this — I’m hoping that maybe they can talk sense into the men who are exercising tyrannical control over someone who just wants to play the music she wrote,” she said.
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