celebrity

"Be a good little girl and shut up." Two men have blocked Taylor Swift from performing her music.

Don’t know what else to do,” Taylor Swift posted out of the blue.

It was uncharacteristic from a woman who has said she takes part in every decision made about herself, her music and her brand. She sits around the board tables and joins the conference calls. She knows what to do. She wants to be the one pulling her own strings.

But right now, she’s at a loss.


The 29-year-old will be honoured with the Artist of the Decade Award at this year’s American Music Awards on November 24th.

She’s had hits – too many to name – in that time, and to mark the occasion she had planned to perform a medley of those songs. After all, she has written all of them; straight from her mind, based on her experiences, like a series of diary entries set to music.

Despite this, Taylor says she is not allowed to perform her old songs on television because of two men: Hollywood mega-manager Scooter Braun and the CEO of her past label Big Machine Records, 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 to next year,” she wrote across all her social media accounts.

Earlier this year, Swift learned that her long-time manager Scott Borchetta, who she parted ways with in 2018 after 12 years, sold his label Big Machine Records to Scooter Braun, the controversial manager of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato, and she was very unhappy about it.

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taylor swift scooter braun drama
Scooter Braun owns Taylor Swift's masters, and is allegedly blocking her from performing her own music.

Borchetta owned the rights to her music, which means Braun now stands to make millions off Swift’s past releases - all six albums before 2019's Lover - and controls how she can use them.

This was especially problematic to her due to what she describes as the “incessant, manipulative bullying” she dealt with from Braun for years.

Taylor later confirmed she intended to re-record her first six albums from November 2020, presumably after the expiration of her contracts, thus taking back control of her masters.

But now... Well, now she's facing the possibility of being unable to perform her music not just at the AMAs, but for the next 12 months.

She says that while working with Netflix on a documentary, Brain and Borchetta have refused them access to her older music and performance footage.

Need context? Mamamia's daily news podcast The Quicky explained the first Taylor vs Scooter saga in July. Post continues below audio.

"Scott Borchetta told my team that they’ll allow me to use my music only if I do these things: If I agree to not re-record copycat versions of my songs next year (which is something I’m both legally allowed to do and looking forward to) and also told my team that I need to stop talking about him and Scooter Braun," Taylor wrote in today's message.

"I feel very strongly that sharing what is happening to me could change the awareness level for other artists and potentially help them avoid a similar fate.

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"The message being sent to me is very clear. Basically, be a good little girl and shut up. Or you’ll be punished."

Her hands are tied. Her AMAs performance, Netflix documentary and other recorded events she has planned between now and November 2020 are in jeopardy and Taylor Swift, one of the most powerful and largest selling artists in the world, does not know what to do.

Her fans have already galvanised: #IStandWithTaylor is trending worldwide, petitions are being signed and the word 'boycott' is being yelled very loudly.

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Smaller artists are beginning to come out in support, because if this can happen to the 'Artist of the Decade', how can they ever expect to own the rights to their art as well?

And if this turns out anything like the last time Taylor posted about Braun and Borchetta, the music world's bigger names are not far away from making their voices heard.

Battle lines have been drawn and the outcome of this will have ramifications for the entire musical industry.

"I’ve tried to work this out privately through my team but have not been able to resolve anything," Taylor wrote, asking for help from her fans and other artists.

"Please let Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun know how you feel about this.

"Scooter also manages several artists who I really believe care about other artists and their work. Please ask them for help with this - I’m hoping that maybe they can talk some sense into the men who are exercising tyrannical control over someone who just wants to play the music she wrote.

"I just want to be able to perform MY OWN music. That’s it."

That doesn't seem like an unreasonable request.

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