Taylor Swift denies Big Machine Label Group song use claims

Taylor Swift’s team has denied Big Machine Label Group’s claim that it never blocked the use of her songs and says that the company owes her $7.9m in unpaid royalties.

The artist’s team issued a statement today (November 15) in response to Big Machine Label Group’s open letter penned in response to a note published by Swift on Thursday night.

The note claimed that Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta are blocking the use of her old songs in a Netflix documentary and from being performed at the AMA Awards.

Swift’s letter on Thursday night also suggested that Borchetta told her team that she can perform the songs if she agrees to not “re-record copycat versions”.

The statement issued by BMLG today (see below) suggests 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 also added that Swift has “admitted to contractually owing millions of dollars and multiple assets to our company”.

Now, a representative from Swift’s team has denied these 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”.

Added the statement: “The truth is, on October 28, 2019 at 5:17 p.m. the Vice President, Rights Management and Business Affairs from Big Machine Label Group sent Taylor Swift’s team the following: “Please be advised that BMLG will not agree to issue licenses for existing recordings or waivers of its re-recording restrictions in connection with these two projects: The Netflix documentary and The Alibaba “Double Eleven” event.”


The lengthy open letter penned by Swift this week comes around four months after Ithaca Holdings LLC., a media holding company led by Braun, fully acquired Swift’s former label Big Machine Label Group (BMLG), which was founded by Scott Borchetta.

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 with all aspects considered.

At the time, Swift publicly slammed Borchetta and Braun via 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.”


Said Swift in Thursday’s note: “Guys – It’s been announced recently that the American Music Awards will be honoring me with the Artist of the Decade Award at this year’s ceremony.

“I’ve been planning to perform a medley of my hits throughout the decade on the show. 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. ”

“Additionally – and this isn’t the way I had planned on telling you this news – Netflix has created a documentary about my life for the past few years. Scott and Scooter have declined the use of my older music or performance footage for this project, even though there is no mention of either of them or Big Machine Records anywhere in the film.”

You can read Big Machine’s statement in full below.


As Taylor Swift’s partner for over a decade, we were shocked to see her tumblr statements yesterday based on false information. At no point did we say Taylor could not perform on the AMAs or block her Netflix special. In fact, we do not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere. Since Taylor’s decision to leave Big Machine last fall, we have 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.

The truth is, Taylor has admitted to contractually owing millions of dollars and multiple assets to our company, which is responsible for 120 hardworking employees who helped build her career. We have worked diligently to have a conversation about these matters with Taylor and her team to productively move forward. We started to see progress over the past two weeks and were optimistic as recently as yesterday that this may get resolved. However, despite our persistent efforts to find a private and mutually satisfactory solution, Taylor made a unilateral decision last night to enlist her fanbase in a calculated manner that greatly affects the safety of our employees and their families.

Taylor, the narrative you have created does not exist. All we ask is to have a direct and honest conversation. When that happens, you will see there is nothing but respect, kindness and support waiting for you on the other side. To date, not one of the invitations to speak with us and work through this has been accepted. Rumors fester in the absence of communication. Let’s not have that continue here. We share the collective goal of giving your fans the entertainment they both want and deserve.

–Big Machine Label GroupMusic Business Worldwide

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