Taylor Swift-Big Machine row re-ignited by 'shameless' live album drop

Taylor Swift

Much of the world may have ground to a halt, but it seems not even the coronavirus pandemic can call a halt to the Big Machine-Taylor Swift feud.

Last night, Swift – who has been critical of Big Machine boss Scott Borchetta and Ithaca Holdings supremo Scooter Braun ever since Braun paid over $300 million to acquire Big Machine Label Group in June 2019 – took to social media to criticise what she sees as the opportunistic release of a live album by her former label.

Live From Clear Channel Stripped debuted on DSPs at midnight local time, with Swift seemingly only tipped off to its release by fans in timezones where the album dropped first.

“I want to thank my fans for making me aware that my former record label is putting out an ‘album’ of live performances of mine tonight," she said on Instagram. "This recording is from a 2008 radio show performance I did when I was 18.”

The recording was initially listed as a 2017 release, although that has now been changed to 2008. In fact, the recording has never been commercially released in full before, although some tracks from it have previously surfaced as bonus tracks on official Swift releases.

“I’m always honest with you guys about this stuff so I just wanted to tell you that this release is not approved by me,” Swift continued. “It looks to me like Scooter Braun and his financial backers, 23 Capital, Alex Soros and the Soros family and The Carlyle Group have seen the latest balance sheets and realised that paying $330 million for my music wasn’t exactly a wise choice and they need money.”

Given that Swift's catalogue is the most lucrative in modern music, that sentence was followed by the crying-laughing emoji, before Swift concluded:

“In my opinion… Just another case of shameless greed in the time of coronavirus. So tasteless, but very transparent.”

Neither Borchetta or Braun have yet responded to Swift’s latest criticism, although they have in the past have had plenty to say. In November, Braun claimed his family had received death threats after Swift revealed Big Machine had tried to block her from performing her old songs at the American Music Awards. Borchetta had previously disputed some of Swift’s assertions about the original deal.

Prior to the row, Swift had left Big Machine – which released her first six albums – for a new deal with Universal’s Republic Records. She praised her new-found freedom under the deal in her Music Week cover story last year.

Her first album under the new deal, 2019’s highly-acclaimed Lover, has sold 198,892 UK copies to date, according to the Official Charts Company.

As ever, expect further twists and turns in this story…

* To read our 2019 Taylor Swift cover story, click here. To make sure you can access Music Week wherever you are, subscribe to our digital issue by clicking here.

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