Taylor Swift gets green light to perform old songs at the AMAs

The agreement comes after the pop star asked fans to help her regain control of her own music from her old label


Taylor Swift, photo by David Brendan Hall

    Last week, Taylor Swift went public with accusations that Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta were preventing her from singing her old songs during recorded performances. This meant, among other things, that she’d be unable to deliver the career-spanning medley she’d planned for the upcoming American Music Awards. Now, Braun and Borchetta’s Big Machine Records, which owns Swift’s back catalog, have reached an agreement with Dick Clark Productions that gives Swift the green light to perform her older classics at the AMAs.

    According to a statement that doesn’t specifically name Swift (via Billboard), the two companies 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.”

    Update, 4:50 p.m.: DCP have issued their own statement to Rolling Stone denying they were involved with the one furnished by Big Machine. “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,” they said. “Any final agreement on this matter needs to be made directly with Taylor Swift’s management team. We have no further comment.”


    Earlier this year, Braun, the longtime manager for acts including Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, acquired Borchetta’s Big Machine Label Group for a reported $300 million dollars. The deal included the ownership of the six albums Swift released under Big Machine Records. Swift previously expressed dismay over the transaction, calling it her “worst case scenario.”

    At each turn Big Machine Records has been adamant that they haven’t prevented the pop star from singing any of her songs for live events. Their statement goes on to reiterate that sentiment, claiming, “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.” In other words, she can sing whatever she wants on stage, so long as it’s not then replayed somewhere else.

    (Read: The Top 25 Pop Albums of the 2010s)

    For now, it seems Swift is in the clear for this year’s AMAs, where she’ll be honored with the Artist of the Decade Award. The award show airs on ABC this Sunday, November 24th at 8:00 p.m. ET.


    What’s not known is if the new arrangement has any impact on Swift’s songs being used in Netflix’s upcoming documentary on the singer. “Scott and Scooter have declined the use of my older music or performance footage for this project, even though there is no mention of either of them or Big Machine Records anywhere in the film,” she told fans in her initial message. In addition, it’s not clear whether or not she’s planning to re-record the old material, something Braun and Borchetta apparently also tried to pressure her not to do.

    Either way, she has plenty of new things keeping her busy. She has a starring role in the upcoming film adaptation of Cats, for which she wrote “Beautiful Ghosts” alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber. The movie claws into theaters on December 20th.

    Swift is currently on tour now, get your tickets here. You’re bound to hear some old favorites.

Latest Stories