Taylor Swift is back in the headlines this week after it was revealed her old record label, Big Machine, sold the rights to her master recordings to Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun.
The You Need To Calm Down singer says she “pleaded for a chance to own my work” and is “grossed out” by Braun’s acquisition of her work as he “bullied” her in the past.
Now Australian TV presenter Lisa Wilkinson has defended Taylor, saying the 29-year-old musician is “sticking up for herself and you can’t blame her for that”.
The Project’s Lisa Wilkinson speaks out
“When I heard this this morning, I thought gee, there’s Taylor in another fight,” Lisa said on The Project on Tuesday night.
“I mean there’s a long list now: Kanye and Kim, Katy Perry, Apple, Spotify, Justin Bieber, Scooter Braun.
“But the thing is, this is a young woman who started in the business as a young teenager, and what she’s doing is she’s sticking up for herself and you can’t blame her for that.”
Magda Szubanski and Waleed Aly take a stance
Guest co-host Magda Szubanski agreed, saying, “By extension, just because these contracts have always been this way doesn’t mean that they’re right.
“They exploit people, it’s a supply and demand. There’s a lot of people who want to be in this industry and they exploit that love that people have wanting to entertain and she’s in a position of power and look what she’s doing.
“She’s actually undercutting it and thereby making it sort of potentially a better situation for younger artists coming in.”
The Project host Waleed Aly brought a different perspective to the panel.
“I think you’re actually right but the counter argument is by having these contracts where they get to earn huge amounts of money off her work, they actually subsidise all the other artists who don’t succeed.”
Scooter Braun controversy
This week Taylor Swift addressed the news that her music released prior to 2018 had been sold to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings.
“For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. 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,” she wrote on Tumblr.
“I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future.”
Taylor said she was blindsided by Scooter’s involvement, particularly given his apparent behaviour towards her in the past.
“I learned about Scooter Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world,” she explained.
“All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years.”
She added: “When I left my masters in Scott’s hands, I made peace with the fact that eventually he would sell them. Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter.
“Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words ‘Scooter Braun’ escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to.”
Since then various reports have emerged, one of which claims the singer very well knew about her music being up for sale, but chose not to do much about it.
“In the entire time of negotiations, she never once reached out about wanting her masters,” a source told Page Six.
After Taylor shared her Tumblr post, Big Machine’s Scott Borchetta shared text messages allegedly sent to him by Taylor on November 19, 2018.
“Since communication ran dry on our negotiations, I’ve done what I told you I would do and gone out exploring other options,” she allegedly wrote about her decision to move on with Universal Music.
“Owning my masters was very important to me, but I’ve since realized that there are things that mean even more to me in the bigger picture. I had a choice whether to bet on my past or to bet on the future and I think knowing me, you can guess which one I chose.”
In a statement to Yahoo Lifestyle Australia, Donald Passman, attorney for Taylor Swift, said: “Scott Borchetta never gave Taylor Swift an opportunity to purchase her masters, or the label, outright with a check in the way he is now apparently doing for others”.
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