The bad blood between Taylor Swift and Big Machine Records

Isabella Finn

Taylor Swift has been writing and performing narrative songs about her personal life since she was 14-years-old, but she propelled to superstardom in 2008 with her Grammy Award winning album “Fearless”.

The “Love Story” singer has since evolved from country music songstress to one of the biggest female pop artists in the world.

“Fearless” was released by Big Machine Records who represented Swift until she left the record label in 2018 for Republic Records.

This is when the drama started. A key part of Swift’s move to Republic was that she would own all the masters recordings of her new songs going forward. When Taylor was signed by Big Machine in 2006 she was not given this luxury, meaning she didn’t officially own the songs she wrote in her bedroom as a teen and leaving the label meant leaving her masters too.

Swift displayed her move quite publicly on Instagram and Tumblr. Some fellow musicians, like Selena Gomez, applauded her bravery. While others, like Justin Bieber, scolded her for “dissing” his manager Scooter Braun and founder of Big Machine, Scott Borchetta.

Swift commented that Braun, who then bought her masters, had tormented her in the past with his client Kanye West.

Braun had allowed his client Kanye West to feature Swift in a revenge porn music video and illegally record phone calls with Swift.

Bieber added fuel to the fire by reposting a picture of himself and Braun captioned “Taylor Swift what up”. Bieber was then accused of “bullying” and half apologised for his post saying labels owning a musician’s work isn’t right, but Braun has nothing to do with her Big Machine feud. But Swift’s feud with Big Machine is partly because of Braun, right? Ok, Justin.

Borchetta responded that Swift had an opportunity to buy her masters and that all shareholders were alerted before her masters went on sale. Taylor Swift isn’t a shareholder of Big Machine, but her father Scott Swift is. Borchetta also stated on the label’s website that Taylor Swift could have owned all her works if she had signed a new contract and not left.

Ahead of her AMA’s performance and acceptance of her “Artist of the Decade” award, Swift took to social media again stating that Borchetta and Braun will not let her perform her old songs on television. One of the most memorable parts of Swift’s Reputation concert in Croke Park was when she pulled out a guitar and jammed to “You Belong With Me”. Soon enough her fans spoke out in her defence, begging to let Swift perform her biggest hits.

Big Machine then deflected the claim that legally they cannot stop Swift performing her songs live. Braun responded to this saying that he would prefer to resolve the rest of this social media war “directly and respectfully”. Either way, Swift performed her big hits and went on to break the record of most AMA’s won. Did Taylor Swift know Big Machine were trouble when they walked in? Obviously not.

Isabella Finn 

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