DIRTY LAUNDRY: #WeStandWithTaylor – Taylor Swift doesn’t have the rights to her own music?
July 1, 2019 Kae Luna
As of yesterday, Taylor Swift was officially stripped off of every right to all her 6 albums and there is a lot to the story than meets the eye.
Art is to an artist, as a child is to a mother. Every day, artists strive to create original work that they can show to the world and own. But what happens when all of your life’s work is taken away from you, by someone who has done nothing to help it grow but in fact, they actually plotted to destroy it?
If you really want to know, you could ask Taylor Swift. Just yesterday, news broke out that the rights to all 6 of her albums were bought by Scooter Braun in a $300 million sale.
How did Taylor Swift’s music end up in the possession of Scooter Braun? I think it would be important to introduce Scott Borchetta and the Big Machines Label Group. As you can guess, Big Machine Labels (founded by Scott Borchetta) is where Taylor Swift was signed under as an artist until late 2018. When she was only fifteen years old, she signed herself into a 6-album contract. In accordance with this, she released her 6 previous albums under that Big Machines namely ‘Taylor Swift’ (self-titled album), ‘Fearless’, ‘Speak Now’, ‘Red’, ‘1989’, and ‘Reputation’ with the knowledge that the rights to these albums would belong to the company.
For years, Taylor Swift has pleaded to claim ownership of her music, but in a lengthy Tumblr post, she shared that Borchetta agreed to have her get the ownership for one of her previous albums for every new one she turns in. Knowing that Borchetta would still sell the label, Taylor refused to sign the contract that would have controlled her future. After she released her 6th album ‘Reputation’, she signed with Universal Records and left the masters of her music to Borchetta.
Yesterday, it was announced to the world that Big Machines was bought by Scooter Braun and Ithaca Holdings and that Taylor’s 6 albums were bought for $300 million. To the singer’s dismay, she said that the label founder did not inform her that this happened and woke up to the news as everybody did.
Borchetta fired back on Taylor’s allegations by saying that Taylor’s father, Scott Swift was actually one of the company’s shareholders among whom the matters have been discussed for over a week now. In his defense, Scooter Braun has been nothing but supportive to Taylor and even called him personally a number of times to see if Taylor was up to doing events with Braun’s artists like Ariana Grande and the likes, an invitation that Taylor declined. He even said that he had given Taylor a fair chance to claim ownership of her music but she “walked away”. Also, Borchetta claimed to have texted Taylor Swift on Saturday night about what will happen so that she can hear it from him directly.
In contradiction to this, Taylor said that she received no text message whatsoever, and just woke up to the news like everyone else. Her father also did not participate in the said discussion since the board had strict rules about information leak. Not wanting to withhold any information from her own daughter, he did not join the said phone call. But wait from here, we are going to get a major throwback.
If Taylor was aware that she was leaving the masters of her songs to Scott Borchetta and it was signed under the contract that it belongs to the company, why is she so pissed off that it was sold together with the label? The missing link would have to be Scooter Braun.
For those unaware, Scooter Braun owns Ithica Holdings and manages artists namely Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Kim Kardashian, and Kanye West. Ring a bell? Let’s throw it back to when Kim Kardashian orchestrated an illegally recorded phone call between Kanye and Taylor Swift. Or when Kanye stripped Taylor Swift naked in his music video for the song, ‘Famous’. You know, let’s go back even farther than that. Remember the time Kanye humiliated Taylor Swift when she was receiving her VMA, saying that she does not deserve it? Better yet, remember all the hate that Taylor got not only from fans of the said artists but also from some artists as well?
Not only this, but Justin Bieber also posted a photo of him on Facetime with Kanye and Scooter captioned “What up Taylor Swift” as a way to bully the singer online. All this led Taylor to feel like Scooter did absolutely nothing to help her career. Instead, he took part in trying to destroy it by helping these artists bully her. Imagine how she is feeling knowing that her entire life’s work would be owned by the same guy who did her so bad. Yup, that’s how bad it is for her.
As fans, most of us couldn’t help but feel like Taylor’s work was being stolen from her. Yes, it was bought with a price, but it was done through constant manipulation. We don’t think that Borchetta gave Taylor a fair chance to get ownership of her music. It’s a shame that Scooter Braun purchased rights to her music that easily, but the very artist who worked so hard for them for the past 15 years, even on her knees didn’t get the same chance. Borchetta did make the offer, but it was one that would control Taylor’s future in an endless pursuit of owning her music. If she signed that contract, she would have had to work under Scooter Braun after the label was sold.
This is the dirty side of the record industry. Our hunch is that Taylor Swift would have been okay for the masters of her music being sold along with the label if it was not Scooter Braun who bought it. As she said on her post, she had long made peace with the fact that Borchetta would someday sell her music and the record label. But she did not expect him to sell it to Scooter Braun.
At fifteen, Taylor Swift was still a nobody. Just a country girl who had the dream. It is very disheartening reading her statement regarding this because it’s true. We have loved Taylor’s music from the beginning, and we watched her evolve as an artist. Taylor is an artist that changes with the seasons. She writes her own songs, and so each one must be very close to her heart. Those songs were from personal experiences. Each one is a piece of herself that she shared with the world. It was only a matter of time until songs she wrote on her bedroom floor took the industry by storm, but we’re sure it took more than just the face value. It took talent and hard work, and all the hate that she did not deserve but somehow endured. We couldn’t help but feel sorry that all this has been taken away from her.
This being said, her fans just couldn’t keep quiet about it. And it is astonishing to see how much support everyone is showing her. Swifties and other fandoms alike came into the singer’s support. Even fellow artists believe that she should have the right to her own music.
— h (@halsey) June 30, 2019
Telling someone about a deal days before it’s public means the deal was already done & she never had the opportunity to even make a bid to own her own work. These deals take months to negotiate in long form. https://t.co/Ra7NdxzcOM
— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) June 30, 2019
In relation to this, fans have been signing a petition to have Taylor Swift re-release her 6 albums so that Scooter and Borchetta wouldn’t be able to make money out of her work. You can find the petition here. So many artists have also unfollowed Scooter in support of Taylor Swift. As of writing, we know that Katy Perry and Ariana Grande have signed the petition and left positive comments for Taylor.
Justin Bieber also has posted an apology on Instagram. But he still condemned Taylor for “shitposting” and getting the fans to bully Scooter.
View this post on Instagram
Hey Taylor. First of all i would like to apologize for posting that hurtful instagram post, at the time i thought it was funny but looking back it was distasteful and insensitive.. I have to be honest though it was my caption and post that I screenshoted of scooter and Kanye that said “taylor swift what up” he didnt have anything to do with it and it wasnt even a part of the conversation in all actuality he was the person who told me not to joke like that.. Scooter has had your back since the days you graciously let me open up for you.! As the years have passed we haven’t crossed paths and gotten to communicate our differences, hurts or frustrations. So for you to take it to social media and get people to hate on scooter isn’t fair. What were you trying to accomplish by posting that blog? seems to me like it was to get sympathy u also knew that in posting that your fans would go and bully scooter. Anyway, One thing i know is both scooter and i love you. I feel like the only way to resolve conflict is through communication. So banter back and fourth online i dont believe solves anything. I’m sure Scooter and i would love to talk to you and resolve any conflict, pain or or any feelings that need to be addressed. Neither scooter or i have anything negative to say about you we truly want the best for you. I usually don’t rebuttal things like this but when you try and deface someone i loves character thats crossing a line..
A post shared by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on
I don’t know about you, but things sure are getting messy, and this post doesn’t sound a bit apologetic. Artists like Cara Delevigne fired back on this post which is, to say the least, problematic.
— Gabriel Angeles (@grenziel) June 30, 2019
This being said, Taylor is looking forward to greater things. She would always hold her past work close to heart as we all would. She’s just thankful to be under a record label that lets her own her craft and supports her. On a more positive note, her new album “Lover” will be out on August 23! We couldn’t wait to stream the hell out of it.