Taylor Swift Allowed to Perform Past Hits at the AMAs, Former Label Says

Pop star said last week that Big Machine was blocking her from performing the songs

Taylor Swift
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Taylor Swift will be allowed to perform her past hits at the 2019 American Music Awards, according to a statement from Big Machine Label Group, which produces the show.

According to the statement, the two parties have reached a licensing agreement allowing rights to stream Swift’s performance post-show. Because Big Machine owns the rights to the master recordings of Swift’s first six albums, performances of the songs on television — which technically qualify as recordings — cannot stream without the label’s permission.

“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,” the statement read. “This includes the upcoming American Music Awards performances.”

The statement continued, “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.”

After Big Machine released their joint statement, the AMAs producer responded, “At no time did Dick Clark Productions 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.”

The issue of Swift’s AMAs performance came to public attention when she shared a lengthy text post shared to her social media accounts last week.

The pop star told her followers that Big Machine boss Scott Borchetta and new label owner Scooter Braun — with whom she’s been locked in a public battle over ownership of her masters since Braun acquired the record label in June — “have now said that I’m not allowed to perform my old songs on television because they claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year.”

Swift surrendered ownership of her masters when she left Big Machine for a new deal at Republic Records ahead of her latest album, “Lover.” Under the current arrangement, Swift is forbidden to re-record any of her old hits until 2020.

She continued, “Scott Borchetta told my team that they’ll allow me to use my music only if I do these things: If I agree to not re-record copycat versions of my songs next year (which is something I’m both legally allowed to do and looking forward to) and also told my team that I need to stop talking about him and Scooter Braun.”

The AMAs dispute is just the latest in a public back-and-forth between Swift and Braun’s camps, which began when Braun took ownership of Big Machine earlier this summer and Swift voiced her objection online.

Swift, who accused Braun of orchestrating her public 2016 feud with Kanye West, wrote in a July Tumblr post that she felt “sad and grossed out” about the sale of her recordings to Braun. She later announced in an August interview with “CBS This Morning” that she plans to re-record her back catalog of hits, ranging from her debut through her 2017 album “Reputation.”