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Ex-label says Swift can sing old hits at awards show

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US singer-songwriter Taylor Swift performs on stage during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on August 26. AFP

Ex-label says Swift can sing old hits at awards show

Taylor Swift’s former label said on Monday that it will allow the global pop superstar to perform some of her early hits at an awards show this month – the latest twist in a months-long public feud over the rights to her first six albums.

But even the seeming resolution of the spat did not come without some confusion.

The Big Machine Label Group released what it called a joint statement with Dick Clark Productions – which puts on the American Music Awards – saying they had “reached a licensing agreement” that would allow Swift to sing what she wants at the November 24 ceremony.

But shortly thereafter, the producers distanced themselves from the situation, saying it was between Swift and her ex-label.

Big Machine, which is based in Nashville, Tennessee then clarified that it had “informed” the production company of its licensing approval.

Swift’s publicist did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and the pop star has yet to react publicly.

Last week, Swift – known for her calculating social media strategy – said on Tumblr that Big Machine heads were “exercising tyrannical control” over her.

She claimed they had told her she was “not allowed to perform my old songs on television because they claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year”.

The pop superstar – famous for megahits like Shake It Off and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – also said Big Machine was preventing her from using “older music or performance footage” for a Netflix project.

The company, which did not refer to the Netflix issue in its latest statements, denied the allegations last week.

“It should be noted that recording artists do not need label approval for live performances on television or any other live media,” Big Machine said on Monday.

“Record label approval is only needed for contracted artists’ audio and visual recordings and in determining how those works are distributed.”

Swift began publicly sparring with industry mogul Scooter Braun this summer over his purchase of her former label of more than a decade, which gave him a majority stake in the master recordings of her first six albums.

The 29-year-old then vowed to re-record her early albums to create copies she owns herself, saying her contract allows her to begin redoing albums one through five in November 2020 – when she plans to be back in the studio doing just that.

Swift signed a new deal with Universal Music Group last year that gave her ownership of her masters going forward, including for her recently released seventh album Lover.

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