On June 30, Billboard released an article announcing the acquisition of Big Machine Label Group for $300 million by Ithaca Holdings, which is run by producer Scooter Braun. Big Machine is famous for its representation of country music singers— most notably Taylor Swift.
Swift was quick to voice her displeasure of the sale in a Tumblr post. In the post, she paints a picture of a 15-year-old girl who sold her soul to a label — that has no concept of loyalty — who then turned around and sold her catalog to a producer who bullied her for years.
Swift has once again written herself into the role of a victim of her circumstances, a routine that’s become a popular method of hers. Since the beginning of her career, Swift has referenced past relationships in songs and during interviews, usually portraying the ex in a negative light. At a young age, this behavior can be chalked up to a lack of maturity, but at 29, there are no more excuses.
In 2014, Swift started incorporating other female celebrities into her victim narrative with the release of “Bad Blood.” Fans and the media put together that the song was written about Katy Perry. Although never confirmed by Swift, her ex, Calvin Harris, tweeted about her dislike for Perry, stating that Swift “needed someone new to bury like Katy.” For someone gung-ho on feminism, writing a song and creating a music video aimed at harming another woman's reputation doesn’t line up.
Swift was finally caught omitting facts to serve her victim narrative in 2016 when Kim Kardashian posted a recording of a phone call between Swift and Kanye West. During the call, Swift gave her blessing for the lyrics in West’s song, “Famous,” where he states that he made her famous. However, when the song was released, Swift changed her tune and called the lyrics misogynistic.
In 2019, Swift is again lashing out over the sale of her masters, but she’s orchestrating it so that the public’s opinion is held in her favor by calling Braun a bully. In the Tumblr post, she cited an incident involving Justin Bieber posting a photo on Instagram of himself on FaceTime with Braun and West with the caption, “Taylor Swift what up.” Swift pointed to this as a prime example of Braun using his clients to bully her. Bieber posted another photo denying the accusation and putting the blame on himself. Since then, the music world has been ignited in a feud between artists over the legitimacy of Swift’s claims.
Yes, Swift and every artist should have the right to own their masters, but this isn’t how the music industry works. Fans have claimed Swift wasn’t offered a fair deal for her masters. The owner of Big Machine, Scott Borchetta, has other artists to think about when making executive decisions. Swift was undoubtedly Big Machine’s best money-maker during her tenure, and Borchetta understands owning her masters makes his label more valuable. A good businessman wouldn’t have let Swift buy her masters back without trying to rope her into producing more albums for his label.
While Big Machine was for sale, it was rumored that the label Swift writes for now would buy it. Swift most likely thought this would be her chance to own her masters, but instead, the label was sold to Braun, ruining her plans and causing the meltdown that she posted to social media.
Allison Baxter is a junior media arts & design and communication studies double major. Contact Allison at email@example.com.