Taylor Swift blasts sale of her old record label

Pop star Taylor Swift left the Big Machine label in November.
Pop star Taylor Swift left the Big Machine label in November.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • Bad Blood singer Taylor Swift put typically opaque, backroom, music-industry dealings on public display on Sunday in a post on Tumblr in which she called out two executives involved in a major deal as manipulative.

The online missive from Swift, 29, concerned ownership of her master recordings - including all six of her multi-platinum albums - which are controlled by Nashville-based record company Big Machine, reported The New York Times.

The Big Machine Label Group, which includes multiple labels, announced on Sunday it was being acquired by Mr Scooter Braun, the manager behind Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, and his company, Ithaca Holdings.

Swift, in her note, addressed both Mr Braun - accusing him of years of "incessant bullying" related to her tiffs with rapper Kanye West - and Big Machine founder Scott Borchetta, who, she said, refused to sell her control of her masters.

In November, Swift left Big Machine, her first and, until that point, only label, and signed a multi-year agreement with Universal Music Group and its subsidiary, Republic Records, with the singer owning her master recordings moving forward.

"For years, I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work," she wrote on Sunday. "Instead, I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and 'earn' one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in.

"I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future."

Swift added: "Now, Scooter has stripped me of my life's work, that I wasn't given an opportunity to buy. Essentially, my musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it."

Swift's online rant drew flak from Bieber, who posted that it was not fair play, given that she could expect her legion of fans to go after Mr Braun.

But she garnered support from other artists, with Halsey posting: "She deserves to own the painstaking labour of her heart."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2019, with the headline 'Taylor Swift blasts sale of her old record label'. Print Edition | Subscribe