The drama that is Taylor Swift vs. Big Machine took another twist yesterday when the company (read: Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun) agreed to let Tay-Tay perform songs from her back catalogue on the American Music Awards this coming weekend.
The holdup seemed to hinge on a deal she signed with Big Machine promising to not re-record her old hits until sometime in 2020. Some were of the opinion that performing these songs on the AMAs would be a breach of that promise since the program itself will be recorded for delayed broadcast in western time zones. A technical point, yes, but this is war.
Now, though, Big Machine has granted permission to use the songs to which they own the master recordings. It also maintains that the Swift’s side of the story “does not exist.” I quote (and note what I have bolded):
“The Big Machine Label Group and Dick Clark Productions announce that they have come to terms on a licensing agreement that approves their artists’ performances to stream post show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms. This includes the upcoming American Music Awards performances.
“It should be noted that recording artists do not need label approval for live performances on television or any other live media. Record label approval is only needed for contracted artists’ audio and visual recordings and in determining how those works are distributed.”
Correct. See what I mean about Taylor’s bogus narrative? She never needed Big Machine’s permission in the first place so what the hell was she going on about?
(A side note: Dick Clark Productions, the producers of the AMAs, say they had nothing to do with creating this apparent joint statement. Hmm.)
The only issue that could arise is if Tay-Tay (or someone else) records the performance and puts it up on YouTube or any other streaming service. Or as an on-demand broadcast. Or on a DVD. Or on a live album. Then we’re into different territory. These are the petitions that Big Machine have apparently waived in regard to the AMAs.
By the way, this restriction on artists re-recording their own songs is a standard contractual thing. Otherwise, a disgruntled artist might record the sames songs and release them through another label. Taylor isn’t the only one with this stipulation in her contract. (Ask TLC or Def Leppard how well open forgeries/counterfeits of big hits go over with fans.)
No one is really a winner in this fight, except maybe the AMAs, You can bet that some people will tune in just to see Taylor do what she said some big, bad music executives said she couldn’t. That’s what the AMAs are counting on. Last year’s ratings were down 25%, so every little bit will count.
I also have the feeling that this was all a Swift-created smokescreen designed to mask that her last album isn’t doing as well as her others. Maybe she needed to create some controversy (again) to boost sales and streams. Or is that too cynical of me?
So crisis averted. Until next time. Meanwhile, Tay-Tay, try to shake it off, okay?