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The Taylor Swift Topic: Teen Country Sensation to World-Dominating Pop Star

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1 hour ago, truthaboutluv said:

I will say what most surprises me about all of this is that I was always under the impression that Taylor's parents, particularly her father. were fairly on their game in the deal they let her sign with Big Machine. Because I may be wrong but I think her dad works in Finance or something.

Her father, Scott Swift, is a longtime financial adviser of some sort with Merrill Lynch (part of the reason the family was able to move to Nashville is because he transferred to the office there from the office he had worked at in Pennsylvania), and his father/grandfather/great-grandfather/(maybe?) great-great-grandfather were all bank presidents. This is in her family's blood. And her mother, Andrea, not only worked as a financial adviser herself until she had Taylor and her brother Austin, she was also the daughter of a rich Texas oilman. So...yeah, I have questions about what went wrong here, in particular because Scott had some ownership of Big Machine Records, which was founded at the exact same time Taylor signed with them; she was one of their first artists under contract there. 

Edited by UYI

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1 hour ago, Neko said:

Thanks for the explanation.  I admit, I saw Taylor's name, and the word "bullying", and my mind went blank, because there have been too many damn headlines with those words, and I just didn't care WHO was "bullying" her, now.  That situation sucks, but I'm sure she'll find a way out of it.  And then she'll write some scathing songs about the big meanie-heads who bought her catalog.  The world keeps spinning. 😜

I can see this cutting deeper, though, despite whatever publicity windfall this could provide her. Big Machine Records signed her when she was fifteen years old; she spent over a decade with the same employer, and not only that, but it was a brand new record label when she started there; it was the smallest record label on Nashville's Music Row in the beginning. Now, there are countless big country artists--Lady Antebellum, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Reba McEntire--who are signed there, and the majority of that is thanks to the success of Taylor Swift, and the way she transcended, and ultimately left, the country music world. Scott Borchetta signed her when no one else would. In many ways, being in Nashville, and having total creative freedom, shielded her from a lot of record industry drama that she might have otherwise faced in either Los Angeles or at a larger record label. So I can see why this must feel like such a punch in the stomach. It must color her entire journey in some way, looking back at her roots. 

Edited by UYI
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3 hours ago, truthaboutluv said:

And they were clearly wise enough to get her a percentage in the label itself and yet they didn't cover her for her Masters so that in the end Borcheta could push such a bullshit option at her that she chose to walk away from her Masters entirely? That's very surprising. 

She had no leverage at the time when she signed the contract and that was the best she could do at the time. When she signed it nobody had any idea how famous she would be. When you're 15 and are offered a six record deal from a well-funded label, most people would take it because of the low chance of getting a deal like that again. She probably thought that the amount of money and influence that she brought to the label, as well as her longtime personal relationship with Scott Borchetta, gave her a lot more leverage coming out of her contract than going in, but clearly he had other thoughts.

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Because Todd in the Shadows apparently has the worst timing ever, his review of "You Need to Calm Down" just dropped a few minutes ago on YouTube (it premiered on Patreon last night, to be fair), and even he admitted there were already parts of it that contradict with what happened today.

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I love Todd, but he doesn't need to comment on every single Taylor releases.  I know he's not a fan of hers, he doesn't need to remind me, over and over.  It's getting tiresome, and I know he's better than that.

Anyway, I don't have any opinion about that Scott Bruschetta dude buying Taylor's music.  She'll be fine.  Taylor is like a cat, she always lands on her feet.

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One of the articles I read last night had a YT link to the 10 1/2 minute long Famous video.  What a sick POS (both the "artist" and the video).  I can't even. 

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Toby Keith was the one I've always seen as investing into Big Machine with Scott Borchetta, not Vince Gill.

And guys, I apologize for the trouble I caused here by sharing Todd's stuff, that was never my intention. I think he was just expressing some frustration at how her publicity sometimes overshadows other things in the pop music world, so even though he has material he felt he could work with, and it's something he feels is worth talking about, I can understand why it can stress him out, ESPECIALLY when the more defensive Swifties are entering his mentions as a result. For all the criticism she gets, it's clear she also has many, many more people who love her and care about her, to the point where the slightest thing said against her (even if the criticism is perfectly fair) freaks them out, maybe because they fear she's so sensitive that she can't handle it? I don't know. I know she grew up in this industry, but she's also a damn near 30 year old woman (and as someone else who just turned 30 in February...yeah, it's hard not to compare myself to her and feel less pretty/successful than her--if I ever had plastic surgery to look like a celebrity--and no, I wouldn't do that, but she's who I'd look like if I could trade faces and bodies with another celebrity--I especially wish sometimes I had her smaller, cat like eyes, which would make it easier to have a good smoky eye with mascara--I have big, wide eyes, which means I would look like a raccoon instead, lol). I don't know, I just feel like her stans take things too far sometimes, even compared to other pop star stan groups.

And for what it's worth, Todd DID post this thread after releasing the video:

3 hours ago, Archery said:

One of the articles I read last night had a YT link to the 10 1/2 minute long Famous video.  What a sick POS (both the "artist" and the video).  I can't even. 

The thing that has always bugged me about that controversy is how ALL the behavior went to the inclusion of Taylor, and almost none went  to the other women featured in the video, too (such as Amber Rose and Rihanna). It almost felt like people cared more about her to the exclusion of the all the other women--possibly a Madonna-Whore thing? I don't know, but that always struck me as odd and excluding of the other women and how it treated them, too. 

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I hadn't known anything about the controversy before clicking that link, so I don't know if any of the other people (most of whom I didn't recognize) raised the issue.  It made me sick to my stomach, and, for me, gave some context for the pain in that letter. 

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 And in recent years he's started managing Ariana Grande and word is Demi Lovato will be working with him too.

Oh Jesus. It's difficult to think of worse people to get involved with a shady manager who doesn't have their best interests at heart. Britney Spears? Selena Gomez? It's not like they need him. Hoping like hell this doesn't end badly.

Obviously Taylor will be fine even if someone owns the masters to her early work. She's not even 30. I think her music has been a little lazy lately and she needs to work with different producers and co-writers but she's not washed up. I still believe she's just as capable of writing good songs. It's just shitty that you can be rich, powerful, privileged, successful, etc. and still have something like this happen. I'm not saying that Taylor Swift's masters is the feminist cause we all need to rally behind but I think she makes a fair point about these men taking advantage of her and profiting from her work. Does Taylor need your sympathy? No. But it does make the point that at every level, shit happens. Especially to women. There's no amount of money or success that lets your escape it. 

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YNTCD has dropped from its debut at #2 last week to #13 this week. Believe it or not, this is actually a worse performance chart wise than ME!, which also debuted at #2, but managed to stay in the top 10 for a few weeks before its departure. OTOH, 13 is her lucky number, so maybe she'll like that (we're also on page 13 currently).

Edited by UYI
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I read that article from the ringer. I like some of their podcasts (back to the Grantland days) but that was not much of anything. I dislike that they basically just talked to one guy and let his arguments almost stand as fact given the lack of another perspective. This was the most interesting part to me.

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Indeed, any further use of Swift’s existing Big Machine catalog—for reissues, for greatest-hits packages, for song syncs with brands or causes—will require Swift and Braun to work together, and to carefully manage her legacy and image. Braun now has hundreds of millions of dollars invested in the notion of showing Taylor Swift in the most flattering possible light. “You have to look at this as a situation where now, two parties are thinking very carefully about how do they position this, what does it look like when the dust settles, what does the story become,” Werde continues.

I'm not sure I agree that Braun (and his supporters) won't keep attacking Taylor because it's in their best interests to protect her brand. Whitney Houston's music probably continued to do well and still continues to sell well. I'd imagine there are ups and downs with other acts like Madonna, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, etc. but I think at a certain level of success and with music that has reached a certain level of popularity, the music can be successful regardless of the personal life of the singer. If something crazy happened with Rihanna tomorrow, her music would still be incredibly valuable. That said, I think there are limits. Certainly, I haven't heard Michael Jackson's PYT anytime recently. 

Also, because I feel like 1989 was a big shift musically, I'd assumed that the masters were for her first albums up to Red. It's crazy to think he also owns 1989 and Reputation. No wonder she's pissed.

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56 minutes ago, UYI said:

A very good article about the behind the scenes music industry complications about artists trying to attain ownership of their masters vs. the desire to just see this as yet another Taylor Swift feud.

https://www.theringer.com/music/2019/7/1/20677580/taylor-swift-scooter-braun-feud-masters-justin-bieber-tumblr-post

That's the thing really. That there is a very legitimate story here in the ways that even today, artists are screwed over in so many ways by manipulative label heads. That it could happen to someone as famous and seemingly as powerful as Taylor Swift is a huge story. The problem though again is that because of the statement she put on Tumblr, the central issue got muddled into becoming a war between her and Scooter.

When in fact, asshole though he may be, Scooter isn't the problem here. Like I said above, at the end of the day, I cannot begrudge the guy making a business move. Because that's what it was. He had a chance to own something that you know is worth A LOT and he took it. The beef here is not Taylor vs. Scooter, it's Taylor vs. Borchetta. But that's gotten muddled with the back and forth and other celebs taking sides, etc. 

6 minutes ago, aradia22 said:

Oh Jesus. It's difficult to think of worse people to get involved with a shady manager who doesn't have their best interests at heart. Britney Spears? Selena Gomez? It's not like they need him. Hoping like hell this doesn't end badly.

Yeah that was many people's reaction to the news. 

6 minutes ago, aradia22 said:

I'm not saying that Taylor Swift's masters is the feminist cause we all need to rally behind but I think she makes a fair point about these men taking advantage of her and profiting from her work. Does Taylor need your sympathy? No. But it does make the point that at every level, shit happens. Especially to women. There's no amount of money or success that lets your escape it. 

It's not a feminist cause because it happens to all artists - male and female. The music industry is just shady and manipulative and awful all around. That's why many artists with the advent of SoundCloud and other self publishing formats choose to go the Independent route. Because the big record labels are evil. They just are and they are to all artists. 

When everyone thought Prince was insane, calling himself a symbol and walking around with slave etched on his face, they weren't listening to what he was saying. Yes his reaction was dramatic as creative people tend to do but the fact is, that was his response to Warner Bros. essentially holding him hostage much in the same way Borchetta tried to do to Taylor. 

Prince like Taylor wanted to leave Warner Bros. and they basically said they owned the rights to everything he created under their label. And the only way he could get them back was to make new music in exchange for the old one. It took years of legal back and forth and it wasn't until 2014 that he finally got control of his Masters. 

Edited by truthaboutluv
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This sounds like a bunch of bullshit from Taylor. I wouldn’t be surprised if we got the full story, it’s probably a simple matter of Scott Borchetta not giving Taylor what she wanted and her not being able to get it with her coterie of attorneys. I doubt she’s being bullied or fucked over by the industry. If anything, Taylor probably has less to complain about than most artists.

Also, I think she’s starting to see some of her relevance slip. Last two singles debuted high then dropped pretty quickly. Her album will likely do well, debut number one like Katy Perry’s last album, but if people aren’t hooked by any of the lead singles, it may wind up being a flop. 

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It's not a feminist cause because it happens to all artists - male and female. The music industry is just shady and manipulative and awful all around. 

Agreed. For the record, I said that as a response to the way Taylor was wording her statement. That said, I do think female artists are vulnerable to things to the majority of male artists are not. 

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1 hour ago, aradia22 said:

Agreed. For the record, I said that as a response to the way Taylor was wording her statement. That said, I do think female artists are vulnerable to things to the majority of male artists are not. 

On the flip side, outside of hip hop, we mint female pop stars much more quickly than we do male pop stars. And female pop stars tend to get bigger than most male pop stars. 

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1 hour ago, aradia22 said:

The music industry is just shady and manipulative and awful all around. 

One must always remember Industry Rule #4080: Record company people are shady.

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https://twitter.com/todrick

Ooh, Todrick weighing in on twitter and firing SHOTS! This is as much as I'm getting into this. I'm not really into drama unless it's on Tea Spill and then it's usually about people I don't actually care about. I do wish Demi was on a different team. Bieber is trash so, you know, not surprised at anything from him.

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Meh. Scooter probably told Todrick he’s going to have to do more if he doesn’t just want to be popular in the YouTube/Pride Festival circuit and he took that to be homophobic. Sorry if that comes off harsh, but Todrick, nobody was talking to you, and trying to throw dirt on that man’s name just so you can stay in Taylor’s good graces is late.

You guys should read this article:

https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2019/06/30/scott-borchetta-responds-taylor-swift/

If what Scott is saying is true, Taylor’s not only being disingenuous, but it’s what I suspected. She wanted to eat her cake and have it too. What he said about them being an indie label with finite resources makes TOTAL sense. That isn’t an example of the music industry being shady. Somebody told her she ought to have it all — the lucrative contract with Republic and every trace of her work for Big Machine. Taylor’s success wasn’t just her work — it was the work of her label to promote and market her music and work to get her opportunities. 

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I thought that was a pretty shitty post, tbh. He tossed in that stuff about the march and benefit to make it look like Taylor didn't care about dead kids (with, of course, no context as to whether she had other obligations at the time), when she has both spoken up about and donated to related causes. 

Taylor's publicist has addressed the thing about her father:

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Scott Swift is not on the board of directors and has never been. On June 25, there was a shareholder phone call that Scott Swift did not participate in due to a very strict NDA that bound all shareholders and prohibited any discussion at all without risk of severe penalty. Her dad did not join that call because he did not want to be required to withhold any information from his own daughter. Taylor found out from the news articles when she woke up before seeing any text from Scott Borchetta and he did not call her in advance.

Taylor herself addressed the deal she was offered. She knew the label would soon be sold and didn't want to tie herself to them for 10 years not knowing who'd take it over. Big Machine wouldn't sell her the masters outright, only allow her to "earn" them back by staying with them. Vox backs that up:

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It’s worth noting, however, that while Borchetta’s account of the deal varies in the particulars from what Swift described in her Tumblr post, his corrections don’t alter what Swift says was the sticking point on the proposed deal: Swift says she didn’t want to be obligated to stay at Big Machine because she knew it was about to sell, and this deal would have required her to stay there under its new management. Borchetta doesn’t suggest that Swift was ever given the opportunity to buy her masters from Big Machine outright, without committing herself to spending more time at the label.

...

It certainly appears to be true that Borchetta presented Swift with the news of the sale as a done deal, without giving her an opportunity to try to buy her masters outright: according to Borchetta’s account of the timeline, Swift’s surrogates were notified of the deal only when the time came for a shareholder’s vote, and he did not tell Swift directly until after the deal was finalized. And it also seems to be true that Braun at the very least helped to work on a music video that included Swift’s nude likeness without her permission.

Am I buying every word Taylor Swift is selling? Nah, she's bent the truth too many times for that. But I'm not going to assume everything Scott Borchetta says is the truth, either. 

Relatedly, this Pitchfork article explains masters and rights in general pretty well, I think. 

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5 hours ago, Cranberry said:

I thought that was a pretty shitty post, tbh. He tossed in that stuff about the march and benefit to make it look like Taylor didn't care about dead kids (with, of course, no context as to whether she had other obligations at the time), when she has both spoken up about and donated to related causes. 

Taylor's publicist has addressed the thing about her father:

Taylor herself addressed the deal she was offered. She knew the label would soon be sold and didn't want to tie herself to them for 10 years not knowing who'd take it over. Big Machine wouldn't sell her the masters outright, only allow her to "earn" them back by staying with them. Vox backs that up:

Am I buying every word Taylor Swift is selling? Nah, she's bent the truth too many times for that. But I'm not going to assume everything Scott Borchetta says is the truth, either. 

Relatedly, this Pitchfork article explains masters and rights in general pretty well, I think. 

So, I got the feeling the part about Scooter was more to show Scooter had no ill-will towards Taylor and perhaps even to show Taylor’s issue with him mostly one-sided. I don’t think he was just trying to shit on her, the way she did him and the way Todrick Hall did to Scooter.

The publicist is doing a little rhetorical sleight-of-hand. The bottom line, it seems, is those with a proprietary stake in the company, including her dad, were invited to this call, there was a discussion, and a vote was taken. This didn’t just happen behind her back where none of her people could have known. Plus, Taylor was leaving/had left by this point, so while I can understand her feelings given she has a personal relationship with Scott, he kinda doesn’t owe her anything. Her dad may not have been on the call — I thought I read a lawyer was on the call on his behalf, but whatever — but he could at least explain to her how acquisitions and mergers work. 

If Taylor knew the label was going to be sold, well, one, that means she was privy to some information many people normally would not have. But second, that further confirms my point: Taylor didn’t get her way so now she’s mad. The label’s catalog is their primary asset. The whole POINT of a label is to push a catalog of music. So while artists get far up their own asses about their work and being compensated and the evils of the industry, few of them seem to understand what a label actually does. So Taylor, if they’re planning on selling the company, no sweetheart, they’re not going to let the most lucrative catalog they have walk out the door without much to show for it. Scott Borchetta might have a loyalty to Taylor as a friend, but he has a fiduciary responsibility to his shareholders, and an obligation to his employees and other artists, to keep the business afloat. Plus, I understand her concerns and I’m not blaming her for them, but Taylor, give me a break. Wherever you go, you’re going to be a priority. They’re going to open a budget and allocate resources to promote your projects. The smaller and/or newer artists are the ones who have to worry about getting lost in the shuffle. You’ll still get to pull strings when you want. Maybe not as many if you’re not close to the boss like she is with Borchetta, but still. 

It’s not an easy situation and there are no clear villains or victims, but to me it looks like Scott was being as fair as he could to Taylor, but she’s pissed because she feels he should have capitulated more in letting her buy her masters and she hates Scooter, so she doesn’t want to have to deal with him on a business level. 

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16 hours ago, aradia22 said:

Oh Jesus. It's difficult to think of worse people to get involved with a shady manager who doesn't have their best interests at heart. Britney Spears? Selena Gomez? It's not like they need him. Hoping like hell this doesn't end badly.

This guy is why Ariana Grande is being forced to tour in her current emotional state.

16 hours ago, 27bored said:

This sounds like a bunch of bullshit from Taylor. I wouldn’t be surprised if we got the full story, it’s probably a simple matter of Scott Borchetta not giving Taylor what she wanted and her not being able to get it with her coterie of attorneys. I doubt she’s being bullied or fucked over by the industry. If anything, Taylor probably has less to complain about than most artists.

It sounds like she was fine with initially not getting her masters, or she would have said something about it when she left Big Machine last year. The message that she sent Borchetta after signing with Republic backs that up. It sounds like what upset her is that Borchetta knowingly sold her work to a man who she despises and whose behavior has hurt her in the past (and has had a history of scummy behavior towards other artists he controls). She had known Borchetta since she was 15 and apparently felt like she had let him know her feelings about Braun, and so to her it was a huge betrayal.

If she had stayed on the label to "earn" her albums back (which is kind of bullshit anyway considering the amount of money she made for the label already) it would have been worse because then she would be working for Braun for the next several years.

12 hours ago, AimingforYoko said:

One must always remember Industry Rule #4080: Record company people are shady.

"So kids watch your back 'cause I think they smoke crack / I don't doubt it, look at how they act"

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I wouldn't be happy about this guy owning me my life's work, either. (Screenshot of Scooter's Instagram story.) Apparently jokes about owning women are funny!

The Atlantic has a good take about how both sides are trying to influence public perception.

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Perhaps most shocking is Borchetta’s response, though. In clinical, unemotional prose, the man who publicly has been one of Swift’s great allies said that Braun previously reached out to ask Swift to contribute to two charity efforts: the benefit show for Manchester following the bombing of Ariana Grande’s concert in 2017, and the anti-gun-violence march led by survivors of the Parkland high-school shooting. Putatively, he’s sharing these facts to portray Braun as someone who’s sympathetic to Swift. But Borchetta goes out of his way to note that Swift declined both invitations. He thus further feeds a narrative that she is socially disengaged or callous (a long-standing one that Swift has recently tried to unwind). It’s a nasty move that attempts to change the subject from business ethics to larger political and moral matters.

For her part, Swift is also trying to pursue financial goals under the cloak of virtue. By taking her complaints online, Swift likely hopes she’ll create a public-relations problem that could influence how Braun handles her masters—or even push him to relinquish them to her. Her post, however, does not specify that this is her motive. Instead, she gestures at feminism by saying Borchetta and Braun are “controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them. In perpetuity. That means forever.” She also purports to be setting an example: “Hopefully, young artists or kids with musical dreams will read this and learn about how to better protect themselves in a negotiation. You deserve to own the art you make.”

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I thought that was a pretty shitty post, tbh. He tossed in that stuff about the march and benefit to make it look like Taylor didn't care about dead kids (with, of course, no context as to whether she had other obligations at the time), when she has both spoken up about and donated to related causes. 

100% this

Also from his response this part...

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Taylor had every chance in the world to own not just her master recordings, but every video, photograph, everything associated to her career.  She chose to leave.

...doesn't really disprove what she said. He doesn't counter the argument that she'd have to keep making them more albums to essentially "buy back" her own work. His strongest evidence is that she sent him some nice notes/texts which to me just says that everyone in the entertainment business is some combination of plastic/fake and professional when they aren't having messy twitter fights. What was she supposed to do when negotiations fell through? Sending a message saying "I hate you forever. You're dead to me, you monster." would have supported her claims now but would also have been kind of crazy. 

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9 hours ago, BuyMoreAndSave said:

This guy is why Ariana Grande is being forced to tour in her current emotional state.

It sounds like she was fine with initially not getting her masters, or she would have said something about it when she left Big Machine last year. The message that she sent Borchetta after signing with Republic backs that up. It sounds like what upset her is that Borchetta knowingly sold her work to a man who she despises and whose behavior has hurt her in the past (and has had a history of scummy behavior towards other artists he controls). She had known Borchetta since she was 15 and apparently felt like she had let him know her feelings about Braun, and so to her it was a huge betrayal.

If she had stayed on the label to "earn" her albums back (which is kind of bullshit anyway considering the amount of money she made for the label already) it would have been worse because then she would be working for Braun for the next several years.

Taylor emotionalizes everything, so I’m not going to accept her framing of the deal just on the strength. Scott said his final offer to Taylor was that at the moment she re-signed, all her rights would be transferred to her. Not that she’s have to earn them back one by one. That means, hypothetically, if she got dropped, she would still own her back catalog. Taylor wanted to just buy back her masters for a sum of money and make it a clean break, but that gets more complicated (for the label she’s leaving). Like I said, Scott has shareholders to answer to. Even if he sold them to her, the label has that money liquid, perhaps, but that’s still diminishing the overall worth of the label. Taylor doesn’t have to care about that, but she should factor it in before calling someone a bully.

Also, and I’ve heard this a lot about Taylor and it seems true, but Taylor just doesn’t want to be alone in her beefs. I can’t vouch for Scooter, but just because Taylor doesn’t like him doesn’t mean Scott is disloyal for not hating him too. Artists don’t just do whatever their managers say (which I’ll get to with Ariana in a second). They have other people in their ears telling them to do stuff or not to do stuff. They may back them or stay silent through things in the aftermath, but behind the scenes people get into it with their managers all the time. So before I call Scooter da debbil, I want to know what he did specifically. Not what he’s blamed for by proxy. My guess is Scooter and Taylor are probably a lot alike. 

Ariana isn’t being forced to tour by Scooter. She put out two big-budget albums in under a year, that were both heavily promoted. She owes people, which means she has to work. I understand Mac Miller’s death affecting her, but I think she played the Pete Davidson thing wrong. She got engaged too quickly, IMO, and using that relationship to roll out her album wasn’t the best idea because it was still new. Then she dropped him like a sack of potatoes. Plus, I hear Ariana might have her own substance issues simmering. Not sure, but people love substituting “mental health” for “addiction” when it comes to celebrities. 

2 hours ago, aradia22 said:

100% this

Also from his response this part...

...doesn't really disprove what she said. He doesn't counter the argument that she'd have to keep making them more albums to essentially "buy back" her own work. His strongest evidence is that she sent him some nice notes/texts which to me just says that everyone in the entertainment business is some combination of plastic/fake and professional when they aren't having messy twitter fights. What was she supposed to do when negotiations fell through? Sending a message saying "I hate you forever. You're dead to me, you monster." would have supported her claims now but would also have been kind of crazy. 

He posted a copy of a document showing that they were offering her the opportunity to own her masters for resigning. Her text message showed she understood she was giving up her back catalog to bet on her future, and that she had a sober understanding that Scott did what he had to do. Why send him a fawning text if you really felt you were being screwed over? Perhaps she didn’t have anyone to fully explain the whys and how comes behind his decision, or maybe she didn’t care. 

My guess is Taylor can’t afford to buy her masters outright, which isn’t the same thing as simply not having the money. You never know what a project is going to do. You never know how well a tour is going to do. So if she gave up a chunk of her fortune just to own her masters, she wouldn’t be broke any time soon, but that puts a lot of stress on her to deliver on future projects. The reason I believe Borchetta is because it makes sense for her to do what she did. This way she keeps the wealth she’s attained, she gets a massive contract still kinda at the peak of her career, and any time someone wants to license her back catalog, she still gets a cut, even if it’s not the whole thing. I can imagine her being okay with that arrangement until she found out Scooter bought the label, then it became this grand betrayal.

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2 hours ago, 27bored said:

My guess is Taylor can’t afford to buy her masters outright, which isn’t the same thing as simply not having the money. 

I don't think so. Rolling Stone has a new article up:

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2. Can Swift try to buy back her masters? And will she?
Though Swift and Borchetta offer different accounts of how Swift parted with her masters, neither seem to paint a picture of Swift having the choice to buy her music without having to stay with Big Machine. Though she still could have been outbid (see: Michael Jackson purchasing the Beatles’ masters), it does not seem like a bidding war involving Swift was on the table.

They also updated yesterday's article:

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Taylor Swift’s lawyer Donald Passman has refuted Scott Borchetta’s claim that Swift was able to buy her masters. “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,” Passman said. A rep for Swift did not respond when asked to clarify the other artists mentioned.

Also, from today's:

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3. Will either party release harder evidence to corroborate their side?
Hopefully yes. Both sides offer damning portraits of the other, and so far, Borchetta is the first to release screenshots and texts. Still, the deal memo shared by Borchetta is incomplete and the texts in his blog post were copied and pasted instead of shared via screenshot. 

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That doesn’t contradict what I said. Taylor would’ve had to put up a lot of money to buy her masters outright. Even if we assume she has access to that much cash, and no one was trying to outbid her, you have to think a few steps ahead. There’s no guarantee she’s going to make all that money back, even if she does well at Republic and continues to collect on her back catalog. That’s why I said she probably couldn’t afford to do it even if she had the money. And furthermore, owning masters used to be more lucrative than it is now, because there are so many more artists, major label acts going indie, people not buying albums like they used to, and radio not being as big as it once was. Michael Jackson and the Beatles and Madonna and Elvis have catalogs that still make a lot of money to this day, but they’re of a different time. Taylor Swift is a big artist, but let’s take a slightly cynical view for a second: how many of Taylor’s old songs do you care about hearing again? And I mean in a way that would net her some serious cash, like product placements and whatnot, not if you really like “Mine” and go listen to it in Spotify every now and then. Ahem.

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Taylor Swift is a big artist, but let’s take a slightly cynical view for a second: how many of Taylor’s old songs do you care about hearing again?

Right but it's everything up to and including Reputation. Unless you're really into Me! and You Need to Calm Down, that's all of her recorded output up to this point. It's not like they only own the masters for Teardrops on My Guitar era Taylor. 

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45 minutes ago, Neko said:

LOL...now, the Swifties have gone so batshit crazy, they have accused Sia of being racist after she defended Scooter Braun:

https://people.com/music/sia-denies-using-blackface-taylor-swift-fans-uncover-video/

Don't these people have anything better to do, than rabidly defend someone they have never met?

The irony being that Taylor, in many cases, probably HAS met a bunch of them, given how accessible she has made herself to her fans compared to most celebrities. But I see your point, of course. 

Edited by UYI

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4 hours ago, 27bored said:

 And furthermore, owning masters used to be more lucrative than it is now, because there are so many more artists, major label acts going indie, people not buying albums like they used to, and radio not being as big as it once was. 

Streaming revenue is where it's at now, and Taylor's catalog makes a lot of money through streaming services. She's consistently among the most-streamed artists.

Also, re: costs, her lawyer's statement hints that she would have considered buying the label itself ("Scott Borchetta never gave Taylor Swift an opportunity to purchase her masters, or the label, outright with a check"), in which case she would certainly have gotten investors, like Braun did. She wasn't given that option.

We really don't have a lot of hard facts about this whole thing, though. I expect more to come out in the next little while.

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7 hours ago, aradia22 said:

Right but it's everything up to and including Reputation. Unless you're really into Me! and You Need to Calm Down, that's all of her recorded output up to this point. It's not like they only own the masters for Teardrops on My Guitar era Taylor. 

Of course. My point was just that Taylor has probably made the money she’s going to make from her past work. She’s come out the other side of a record deal and multi-millionaire. Her work will always be out there, but my point is, people tend to move on more quickly than they used to. Taylor seems smart and has good people around her, so I think she can understand that. Why give up a substantial amount of wealth now in the hopes you’ll recoup that back off your old work? And if you were that concerned, why not re-up with the label that made you a star and at least own your work at the end of the day? 

5 hours ago, Cranberry said:

Also, re: costs, her lawyer's statement hints that she would have considered buying the label itself ("Scott Borchetta never gave Taylor Swift an opportunity to purchase her masters, or the label, outright with a check"), in which case she would certainly have gotten investors, like Braun did. She wasn't given that option.

Which is probably more BS spin from her side, because if the entire reason she left is to bet on her future in part because she knew the company was going to be sold, how did she not have a chance to buy the label if she had the means to do it? If she could get some investors to outbid Scooter, the shareholders would’ve been obligated, née legally required, to consider her bid. 

She’s playing dumb because she hates that Scooter Braun owns the label and thus her masters that she was fine with leaving behind.

I can understand her consternation over her masters. I think Scott had a fully legitimate reason to not just sell them to her, because catalog is bread and butter to any label but especially an indie label, and I think she’s being disingenuous because the unwashed masses don’t know how the record industry works or how business in general works, but still...I get it even if I can’t side with her. The “I didn’t have a chance to buy the label” bit is just ridiculous, and it kinda makes me question her purse even more.

It’s possible they gave her a price, she couldn’t negotiate it down and couldn’t raise the money, so she had to negotiate to own them conditionally (hence the idea that they said she would earn her masters one by one if she re-signed) but their offer still wasn’t good enough. 

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6 hours ago, Cranberry said:

Streaming revenue is where it's at now, and Taylor's catalog makes a lot of money through streaming services. She's consistently among the most-streamed artists.

She actually is still well behind the top performing artists in streaming, though, in large part due to the fact that she kept her music off Spotify from 2014-2017, which is basically the time period when streaming started to take over the music world. She's obviously doing alright, but compared to her sales and radio airplay, streaming is actually a weak point for her in comparison. 

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Of course. My point was just that Taylor has probably made the money she’s going to make from her past work.

What? I feel like regardless of how you feel about Taylor or her music that's true for very few, if any, artists. Putting aside the question of masters and how that affects licensing and merchandizing and other ways of monetizing art, at a basic level, Taylor Swift could continue to make money off those first six albums for years. 

(Note: I'm using Spotify for this so it's possible there are gaps if all of an artist's albums aren't on Spotify.)

Even though he continued to have hits, Michael Jackson's first six albums include Off the Wall and Thriller. Whitney Houston's first six albums are basically all the songs anyone knows before her attempt at a comeback. Not counting compilations, Kelly Clarkson's first six albums are everything but the last two that people don't really care about. Ariana only has five albums. Katy Perry is on album four. I thought I might have an example but Sia but nope, her first six albums include We Are Born and 1000 Forms of Fear. The only example I could come up with is maybe Stevie Wonder but that's because he started as a child.

Of course an artist's first six albums can continue to make money. You can use them in commercials and movie soundtracks and TV shows. You can sell merch based on the lyrics. And audiences are generally don't get tired of an artist's first six albums if they were popular. That's usually where a lot of the good stuff is. 

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So, apparently on iTunes now, some of the details on Taylor's albums have been changed (reputation has become Reputation, RED has become Red, the genre on all her country albums has been changed to pop, stuff like that). And because of that, people who previously bought the albums can't access their downloads anymore. Here's Apple's response to one of them who wrote to support:

Click the tweet to read through the thread. This person cannot find the music anywhere (not even in the "hidden purchases" folder) and can't download the music anymore unless they re-buy it. Hopefully this is just a glitch or misunderstanding... but the fact that all of a sudden, minor details on Swift's albums are changing is fishy.

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5 hours ago, 27bored said:

Of course. My point was just that Taylor has probably made the money she’s going to make from her past work. She’s come out the other side of a record deal and multi-millionaire.

Well, all this publicity has made sales of her previous music jump, & Scooter Braun is the one who is getting that money, not Taylor. It's not just the money from sales that's the problem, whoever owns can approve the songs use for other things. For example, Scooter could let an anti LGBTQ group use one of her songs for an advertisement, & she couldn't do anything about it. 

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I believe she's safe from stuff like that, at least. The Financial Times says this:

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While Ms Swift does not own her recordings, she does control the publishing rights to her music because she writes all of her songs, meaning she could complicate Mr Braun’s ability to use her songs in television commercials, films or elsewhere, music executives warned.

“If you’re the acquirer and spend top dollar for these assets, and then find out you have handcuffs, it’s going to be a mess,” said a top executive at one of the big three major labels. “So if you’re Scooter, you’re freaking out right now.”

People says this:

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Since she has written or co-written all of her songs dating back to her debut, self-titled album, Swift still holds the copyright for their composition. This means that if a commercial or movie would want to include a Swift track, they’d need to request the label’s permission and her permission as well.

“Sometimes the record labels get frustrated about that,” Phillips says. “And they may come to the table in some fashion.”

That People article is pretty good in general. So is this image set:

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"The Archer." Most likely just a promotional single, rather than an official one for radio airplay.

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Yeah, she said in today's livestream that it's not going to get a video, although she's on the set of a music video right now, so it kinda sounds like we'll get another single before the album drops.

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The first Lover secret session happened today in London. The fans aren't allowed to share any lyrics or song names (or quote anything Taylor said about the songs) but they're giving general impressions. This person seems to have similar taste to me (1989 and Red are my favorite albums and I didn't care for most of reputation), so this sounds promising:

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"The Archer." Most likely just a promotional single, rather than an official one for radio airplay.

It's not grabbing me immediately but it's better than "Me" and "You Need to Calm Down." For all the production, I think the tracks on 1989 and reputation that I like the most still have a bit of a singer-songwriting quality buried under the pop elements. And the two previous singles were more in that "Shake It Off" and "Welcome to New York" space.

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12 hours ago, aradia22 said:

It's not grabbing me immediately but it's better than "Me" and "You Need to Calm Down." For all the production, I think the tracks on 1989 and reputation that I like the most still have a bit of a singer-songwriting quality buried under the pop elements. And the two previous singles were more in that "Shake It Off" and "Welcome to New York" space.

Yes. I am in the weird position of feeling like she probably does fit more in the pop world than the country world (although I prefer the more folk/guitar-driven sound of Speak Now or Red than the synths of 1989), while at the same time feeling like her songwriting has mostly gotten weaker than it was when she was a teenager or in her early twenties.

I'm in a weird No Man's (No Woman's?) Land, basically. 😉 

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20 minutes ago, Billina said:

Is Taylor showing some measure of self-awareness with The Archer, or is she playing a character, again?  Hard to tell, with her.

There's an argument to be made there in regards to the albums reputation and Lover. After how much effort she put into the whole "old Taylor is dead" stuff, to suddenly be all butterflies and rainbows in the publicity for Lover makes you wonder which is the pose and which isn't.

Not that I really care either way (and with her it's always a good idea to take certain emotions and declarations with a LARGE grain of salt), but it is definitely a jarring change compared to the transition from 1989 to reputation, which made more sense given the way she made the news between those albums. 

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Speaking of grains of salt:

Now THIS one I really believe might be true:

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Only other collab on the album is a Dixie Chicks one on a song about Taylor's mom's cancer. 

I'm taking all the leaks with a grain of salt, but multiple people have confirmed that one, so it seems pretty solid. Also, rumor is the next single is Cruel Summer, which is apparently a fave of most people who have heard the album, and that comes out (complete with music vid) either this Friday or next. We're supposedly getting another promo song before release, too.

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The official third single is here--the title track, "Lover." (The video comes out next week.) Now THIS is the Taylor I like, a few repetitive "my's" too many in the chorus aside. And I dare say it even has the sound of a song that she might try to push to country radio again (which she did with "New Year's Day" off her last album to little success, but still).

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Also: This is the first time she is the sole writer on one of her songs since "This Love", the only 1989 track written by Taylor and Taylor alone. And THAT, right there, explains why I like it so much (that said, she worked very well with Liz Rose as a co-writer). 

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