American Music Awards: Taylor Swift Cleared to Perform Her Older Songs, After Public Feud With Former Label

Taylor Swift Scooter Braun

They may be far from mad love, but there is a bit less bad blood between Taylor Swift and her former record label, now that the pop star is cleared to perform songs from her first six albums at the 2019 American Music Awards.

“The Big Machine Label Group and Dick Clark Productions … 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,” Big Machine said in a statement to our sister site Variety. “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,” the statement noted. “Record label approval is only needed for contracted artists’ audio and visual recordings and in determining how those works are distributed.”

Update: Interestingly, dick clark productions issued its own statement, clarifying, “At no time did [we] agree to, create, authorize or distribute a statement in partnership with Big Machine Label Group regarding Taylor Swift’s performance at the 2019 American Music Awards. Any final agreement on this matter needs to be made directly with Taylor Swift’s management team. We have no further comment.”

Update No. 2 (this is all very exhausting): In the wake of DCP’s statement, Big Machine revised theirs to open, “The Big Machine Label Group informed Dick Clark Productions today that they have agreed to grant all licenses of their artists’ performances to stream post show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms.”

Swift had claimed via social media on Nov. 14 that Big Machine’s Scooter Braun — who in June purchased the master recordings of her pre-Lover songs — and Scott Borchetta, the founder of Swift’s former record label, had forbidden her from performing her older material as part of her Artist of the Decade medley during the Nov. 24 broadcast on ABC. “Don’t know what else to do,” she wrote, linking to a lengthy statement offering her take on the legal stalemate.

In her account, Swift claimed that because of the terms of the deal that broke her away from Big Machine, she had been forbidden from diving too deep into her catalog, apparently because the West Coast rebroadcast of the AMAs could be considered a “taped recording” of masters she no longer owns. (Similarly, a Netflix special about her life and career reportedly cannot sample her older songs.)

Big Machine last week countered that Swift had disseminated “false information” and created a “narrative [that] does not exist.”

“At no point did we say Taylor could not perform on the AMAs or block her Netflix special. In fact, we do not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere,” the label’s statement continued.

Swift’s camp in turn countered that Borchetta had “flatly denied the request for both American Music Awards and Netflix. Please notice in Big Machine’s statement, they never actually deny either claim Taylor said … in her post.”

Swift has taken home a total of 24 American Music Awards since 2008, while also being nominated for six others. She’s heading into this year’s ceremony with five nominations, including Artist of the Year and Favorite Music Video for “You Need to Calm Down.”