Taylor Swift has confirmed that she is blocking sync uses of her classic hits. She’s refusing to give the green-light because she doesn’t own the masters – Scooter Braun does.
The artist has reiterated her intention to re-record her Big Machine albums – which she wrote or co-wrote – at the end of next year.
But this time, she’s declared her strategy: she will create/re-record new masters that she will then clear for sync purposes, while continuing to refuse any TV/movie/advertising uses of her original recordings.
(As writer/co-writer of her hits, alongside her publisher Sony/ATV, Swift has the ultimate yay or nay over whether these tracks can be used by sync partners.)
Speaking in an interview with Billboard published today (December 11), Swift suggested that “every week, we get a dozen sync requests to use Shake It Off in some advertisement or Blank Space in some movie trailer, and we say no to every single one of them”.
Swift added: “The reason I’m re-recording my music next year is because I do want my music to live on. I do want it to be in movies, I do want it to be in commercials. But I only want that if I own it.”
“The reason I’m rerecording my music next year is because I do want my music to live on. I do want it to be in movies, I do want it to be in commercials. But I only want that if I own it.”
Taylor Swift, speaking to Billboard
Swift’s latest comments about her masters is the latest in an ongoing saga that began about five months ago when Ithaca Holdings LLC., a media holding company led by Braun, fully acquired her former label – the Scott Borchetta-founded Big Machine Label Group (BMLG).
The deal included the entirety of Taylor Swift’s master recording rights for records released on BMLG.
The price paid, according to sources close to the deal, was worth circa $300m.
At the time, Swift publicly slammed Borchetta and Braun via a lengthy Tumblr post, writing that she “learned about Scooter Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world” and claimed that Braun has been responsible for “incessant, manipulative bullying” of her for years.
Borchetta then responded to Swift with his own open letter. In it, he claimed: “Taylor had every chance in the world to own not just her master recordings, but every video, photograph, everything associated to her career. She chose to leave.”
In today’s Billboard interview, Swift doubled down on her claim that she was never given the option to purchase her masters.
“I spent 10 years of my life trying rigorously to purchase my masters outright and was then denied that opportunity, and I just don’t want that to happen to another artist if I can help it,” said Swift.
“I want to at least raise my hand and say, ‘This is something that an artist should be able to earn back over the course of their deal — not as a renegotiation ploy — and something that artists should maybe have the first right of refusal to buy.’
“God, I would have paid so much for them! Anything to own my work that was an actual sale option, but it wasn’t given to me.”
“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 to next year,” said swift in that note.
A statement was then issued by BMLG in response, suggesting that “since Taylor’s decision to leave” the label last year, BMLG has “continued to honor all of her requests to license her catalog to third parties as she promotes her current record in which we do not financially participate”.
It added that Swift has “admitted to contractually owing millions of dollars and multiple assets to our company”.
A representative from Swift’s team then denied the claims, stating, via a note posted on Twitter, that an “independent, professional auditor has determined that Big Machine owes Taylor $7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties over several years”.Music Business Worldwide