UPDATE: Big Machine signs off on Taylor Swift performing her hits at the AMAs… but that isn’t the end of the matter

Taylor Swift WILL be permitted to perform her hits at the American Music Awards this weekend after the label that owns much of her catalog, Big Machine, inked a fresh agreement with the ceremony’s owner, Dick Clark Productions.

UPDATE: Okay, we’re not out of the woods. In a bizarre turn of events, DCP has denied ever reaching a deal with Big Machine.

According to Variety, subsequent to the below statement being released by Big Machine, a Dick Clark Productions spokesperson said: “At no time did dick clark productions agree to, create, authorize or distribute a statement in partnership with Big Machine Label Group regarding Taylor Swift’s performance at the 2019 American Music Awards. Any final agreement on this matter needs to be made directly with Taylor Swift’s management team. We have no further comment.”

In a [seemingly] joint statement released today (November 18), Big Machine and DCP said:

“The Big Machine Label Group and Dick Clark Productions announce that they have come to terms on a licensing agreement that approves their artists’ performances to stream post show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms. This includes the upcoming American Music Awards performances.

“It should be noted that 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.”

The second part of that statement is obviously intriguing.

As noted by SONGS Music Publishing founder Matt Pincus on Twitter last week, logic dictates that the only rightsholder who could potentially block a live performance of a song would be that rightsholder in control of the composition – i.e. the song’s publisher.

However, in her latest public chastisement of Big Machine Label Group’s boss Scott Borchetta and its new-ish owner Scooter Braun, Taylor Swift specifically suggested the duo had quashed her plans to play her hits on TV, as “they claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year”.

It is theoretically possible that a recorded music party could seek to block a live performance if said live performance was itself being recorded in an audio-visual format (i.e. creating a new master), and that this recording would then be distributed on digital platforms.

(The only other obvious cause that a recorded music rightsholder may have to block a live performance is if that live performance used elements of previously recorded music to which it owned the rights, but that does not appear to be the case here.)

Anyway, none of that confusion really matters anymore.

To repeat: Taylor Swift will be performing her hits at the American Music Awards on Sunday, where she will be crowned Artist Of The Decade.

As an added bonus, thanks to this whole kerfuffle, many more people are now talking about Taylor Swift performing at the American Music Awards on Sunday, where she will be crowned Artist Of The Decade.

The US TV audience for the American Music Awards last year fell by 25% to 6.5 million.Music Business Worldwide

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