Taylor Swift's Ex-Record Label Offers Licensing Deal to American Music Awards Ahead of Decade-Spanning Performance

After Big Machine released a 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."

After Taylor Swift claimed last week that Big Machine founder Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun were preventing her from performing her past hits during the upcoming 2019 American Music Awards, Swift's former record label released a statement Monday that said it had "agreed to grant all licenses of their artists' performances" on various platforms. 

"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," the statement reads. "It should be noted that recording artists do not need label approval for live performances on television of 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."

This statement comes after an earlier release in which Big Machine said it had reached a licensing agreement with American Music Awards producer Dick Clark Productions "that approves their artists’ performances to stream post show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms."

Following the release of this first statement, Dick Clark Productions released the following response: “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. Any final agreement on this matter needs to be made directly with Taylor Swift’s management team. We have no further comment.”

Both Big Machine statements, which don't mention Swift by name, also note what a number of critics pointed out after the singer-songwriter claimed that Big Machine founder Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun were preventing her from performing her past hits during the AMA performance, stating 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.”

Swift's rep has not yet responded to The Hollywood Reporter's request for comment.

Swift last week delivered the latest salvo in her recent feud with Borchetta and Braun after the latter acquired her Big Machine catalog, claiming that the two men were preventing her from performing her past hits during a planned decade-spanning performance Sunday on the AMAs.

Taking to social media on Thursday to explain "what's been going on," Swift writes that she originally planned to perform a medley of her hits onstage, but Borchetta and Braun "claim that would be re-recording my music before I'm allowed to next year."

Swift then shared that Borchetta informed her team that she can use her music only if she agrees to their conditions, which include that she may "not re-record copycat versions" of her songs next year and to "stop talking about him and Scooter Braun."

Big Machine responded with its own statement saying it was "shocked" to see Swift's social media posts "based on false information." 

"At no point did we say Taylor could not perform on the AMAs," the statement continues. "In fact, we do not have the right to keep her from performing live anywhere. Since Taylor’s decision to leave Big Machine last fall, we have continued to honor all of her requests to license her catalog to third parties as she promotes her current record, in which we do not financially participate."

Big Machine claims Swift contractually owes "millions of dollars and multiple assets" to the company and says it has been talking with her team about how to move forward, arguing that Swift's social media posts, which quickly sparked an outpouring of support from her fan base, have greatly affected "the safety of our employees and their families."

"Taylor, the narrative you have created does not exist," Big Machine's statement continues. "All we ask is to have a direct and honest conversation. When that happens, you will see there is nothing but respect, kindness and support waiting for you on the other side. To date, not one of the invitations to speak with us and work through this has been accepted. Rumors fester in the absence of communication. Let’s not have that continue here. We share the collective goal of giving your fans the entertainment they both want and deserve."

Swift's publicist Tree Paine subsequently tweeted a response to Big Machine, in which she points out that in the label's statement "they never actually deny either claim Taylor said last night in her post," and argues that the label owes Swift "$7.9 million dollars of unpaid royalties over several years."

Writes Paine, "The truth is, on October 28, 2019 at 5:17 p.m. the Vice President, Rights Management and Business Affairs from Big Machine label group sent Taylor Swift's team the following: 'Please be advised that BMLG will not agree to issue licenses for existing recordings or waivers of its re-recording restrictions in connection with these two projects: The Netflix documentary and The Alibaba 'Double Eleven' event.' To avoid an argument over rights, Taylor performed three songs off her new album Lover at the Double Eleven event as it was clear that Big Machine Label Group felt any televised performance of catalog songs violated her agreement. In addition, yesterday Scott Borchetta, CEO and founder of Big Machine Label Group, flatly denied the request for both American Music Awards and Netflix."

Swift is set to receive the Artist of the Decade Award at the 2019 American Music Awards, which are produced by Dick Clark Productions, a division of Valence Media, the parent company of the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group.

Nov. 18, 1:21 p.m. This story has been updated to clarify Big Machine's statement and include Dick Clark Productions' claim that it did not "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."