Taylor Swift has won. She can sing her old songs this Sunday on the American Music Awards. Big Machine Records and Scott Borchetta have caved. This is what they say:
“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. 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. Record label approval is only needed for contracted artists’ audio and visual recordings and in determining how those works are distributed.”
Big Machine is worried that Taylor will sing her old songs live, and they will then be streamed or bought in place of the masters they paid $300 million for earlier this year. But that’s what’s going to happen. What won’t happen is that new versions of Swift’s old hits will replace the established ones on radio and in the mainstream. That never happens. But that’s another story.
Taylor was smart. She took her case to the court of public opinion. And she won, hands down. She’s very good at playing this card so far whether she’s right or she’s wrong.
A big part of this panic was what she could play at the AMAs if Big Machine put its foot down. The Grammys would not want her singing songs from her current hit album now in November on ABC, another network. They are counting on an exclusive performance on CBS January 26th of songs from “Lover.” That would not have worked out at all.
So, crisis averted. But next up are Taylor’s four summer concerts in gigantic stadiums. And even though those will be pitched toward “Lover” songs, she’ll want to do some of the old ones. And then there’s the issue of her Netflix special. But for now, this show will go on. And the AMAs got a lot more publicity than they could have ever hoped for. Now if only some other record companies will prevent their artists from performing (not saying who), we might be thrilled!